Report on Assistance Provided to Expats on Assignment

signpostFailed international employee relocations are costly to organizations in both time and money.  Sending employees and their families abroad can present a huge risk if they are unsuccessful in adjusting to their new cultural surroundings.

The Worldwide ERC Study, Support and Retention Strategies for Cross Border Assignments, looked to examine the current mobility assistance being provided to employees and families before, during and after international assignment.  The study involving 120 multinational corporations was conducted in May and June of 2012 and released this month by the Worldwide ERC.  Key data derived from the study include:

  • 81 percent of corporations do not do an assessment of suitability for an international assignment prior to sending them abroad.  Those that do conduct an assessment focus primarily on areas that might impact job performance not on family issues which is surprising since many times family issues are the main cause of  overseas assignment failures.  A large majority of firms that participated in the survey defined a failed assignment as one where the employee resigned prior to completion of the assignment.
  • For as many firms that provide extensive support and counseling to transferring families there are many firms not offering families assistance while on international assignments.  Perhaps one reason for a lack of support is that a small percentage of  companies in the survey reported having a formal communication process between the home-country office and the employee while on assignment.  If there were solid communication guidelines I suspect many expat issues could be more easily dealt with and less stressful for families.  The need for preparation and mobility assistance is critical to increasing the likelihood of a successful relocation and increasing the corporations return on investment.

Overall the survey points out gaps that exist in expat assistance and opportunities for corporations to provide better assistance to  expat families will on assignment.To read the full survey, please click here.

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