4 Ways to Enhance the Employee Experience while on Assignment
As the world becomes an increasingly more globalized economic society, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations are sending their most talented employees across the world to explore newfound opportunities for personal and professional growth. While the costs associated with short-term and (especially) long-term assignments may exceed conventional employment expenses, companies and individuals can reap a number of intrinsic and extrinsic benefits.
Employees can acquire tangible experience that goes beyond exposure to another culture and way of doing business. However, organizations must exercise care and caution when investing in human capital resources abroad. Leaders want to see a return on investments in a way that allows employees to bring experiences and learnings back to their home country or even to their next assignment destination.
However, many companies tend to either underfund or omit cultural awareness programs and language training from mobility program budgets, causing an impact on employee experiences while on assignment. Let’s take a look at some of the ways organizations can positively impact an employee’s experience to maximize the benefits of both the company and employee.
Perform Periodic Check-Ins
Employees performing their professional duties can often feel isolated or discouraged while on assignment in their host country. Establishing frequent and ongoing communication with employees can help them stay focused and feel connected with their home organization. Consider taking it a step further by identifying a sponsor at home who can keep tabs on the assignee, ensuring accountability and avoiding any professional drift.
By implementing a structured process, companies can remain connected to employees on assignment. Whether it be a virtual or a live session, keeping individuals in the loop is essential to maximizing workplace productivity and business outcomes. Likewise, allow employees to openly share any pertinent knowledge or experience that could be utilized within their own sphere that was obtained from their time in the host location.
Encourage Spousal/Partner Assistance
Partners/Spouses are an integral part of the calculus that companies must consider when relocating their employees. Living away from one’s home for a prolonged period of time, in a new culture, and having to leave friends and family behind can take a toll on a family. In turn, this can impact the mental health of employees in the workplace. As a result, employees may be more likely to become disengaged, fall off track and, in extreme cases, request an early transition back home. Having the support and encouragement of a partner or spouse can go a long way towards improving employee productivity and engagement while away from home.
Assignees often move to and begin working at the host location before the family, with the family’s actual relocation occurring much later. Companies should assist partners and spouses who remain in the home location with services to help ease the trailing family’s ultimate transition to the host location.
Companies should strive to extend compassion and flexibility to employees on travel assignments. Providing adequate physical, emotional and mental support goes a long way toward improving long-term loyalty, both during and after an assignment. In response, this increases a sustainable ROI upon return to their origin location.
As we know, communication is the key for success in any workplace setting. Sending employees on domestic or international assignments, however, can create a number of additional challenges that must be addressed ahead of time to ensure the individual is providing value back to the company. Some of the challenges include:
- Managing employees in different time zones
- Accurately addressing the tax implications of moving to and from states or countries
- Facilitating comfortability when experiencing cultural differences
Communication strategies should be developed to help create a clear channel of transparency between the employee and employer. Without the proper communication and protocols in place, minor inconveniences can grow into major problems for both employees and their employers. Differences related to currency, culture, taxation and workplace expectations must all be addressed to establish organizational success and standards.
In addition to the significant professional challenges, traveling employees can be overwhelmed by the logistics of living in a new country. Effective communication channels made available throughout the assignment are essential to ensuring the employee’s health, well-being and productivity, as well as increasing the achievement of business goals and the overall ROI.
Provide Return Assistance
Returning from an away-from-home assignment often comes with a completely different set of concerns. Returning assignees must become reacquainted to life back home and readjust their lifestyles accordingly. Leaders and management can help the transition by striving to welcome employees back with open arms, ensuring they don’t feel neglected or abandoned. A company should allow employees a paid visit home in order to reestablish and reconnect with their former living arrangements prior to the end of their assignments. Covering their expenses and assisting employees with financial and logistical support will go a long way toward simplifying their transition back home.
Consider encouraging an employee to outline skills and attributes acquired while on an assignment. This will provide value-added benefits to a company by helping to incorporate strategies and best practices an employee may have learned abroad, while also helping the employee to feel accomplished and appreciated in their work. Furthermore, give an employee the time and tools necessary to become reacquainted with their former corporate culture. Doing so can drastically improve their transition and reclamation process, ensuring they will stay engaged with and loyal to the company far longer.
Ineo Helps Companies Facilitate the Transition
With so much to think about when sending an employee on a relocated assignment, it can be overwhelming and stressful to figure out the logistics. Adjusting to a new culture and standard of living can be cumbersome for even the most self-aware employees. Understanding the cultural and financial intricacies of global assignments is critical for transitioning to and from international assignments.
Ineo Mobility offers companies guidance and financial solutions designed to provide employers and employees with the flexibility needed to manage the nuances of global mobility. Learn more about how our integrated global mobility software platform TechSuite and our white-glove Professional Services can help you manage the complexities of sending employees on assignment.
Ineo looks after the bottom-line so that companies can focus on building and running a travel-for-work program that truly delivers on the huge potential that comes from sharing talent across borders, cultures and languages.