Why Companies Should Provide Partner Support During Relocation
Relocating your employees internationally comes with incredible opportunities, leading to employee professional and personal growth. However, international assignments may also come with more than a few challenges that company relocation specialists would be wise to plan for.
One major challenge comes in the form of spouses and partners of employees. In 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that 50% of Americans live with a spouse, and 8% live with a partner. Moreover, among married couples in the U.S., nearly 47% of them are dual-income families.
In other words, it’s reasonable to assume that many of your assignees who are seeking to take on an exciting new role within your organization will need additional support for their career-minded spouses and partners.
Here are our top tips on how your organization can lower the anxiety and strain on your assignees’ significant others before and during an international relocation.
Start planning early
The earlier you prepare for each assignee relocation, the better. With international relocations, the planning process should start even earlier, given that so many spouses and partners are pursuing their own careers. For example, it’s one thing to move from Dallas to Dayton and another to go from Dallas to Dubai.
A spouse or partner must have a work permit to work in another country. The work visa process involves lots of paperwork and processing time — and there may be countries where a work permit is not even a possibility. It’s best to help your assignees consider their options as soon as possible. The more time you give their spouse or partner to plan, the more prospects they can come up with when figuring out the best move for their career.
Job search support
Not every spouse or partner will have the ability to transfer within their own company to an office abroad. That means they must find gainful employment from a company within your assignee’s host country. Finding employment abroad can be daunting, especially if there are additional intricacies, such as language and cultural barriers.
Ways you can assist assignees’ spouses or partners in their job search include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Develop a list of potential job databases for spouses and partners to scan before the relocation. Relevant job databases provide a better understanding of the local job market conditions and how best to align their talent and experience with the job opportunities.
- Find localized resume support from someone in the target country or the U.S. What passes for a strong resume in the U.S. may come across as discordant or tone-deaf if read by a hiring manager in another country.
- Interview support and training can also help assignees’ spouses and partners. Awareness of differences in written and unwritten communication styles can significantly improve their chances of landing a satisfying job.
Back to school
Don’t overlook education as an opportunity to provide assignee partner support. For example, if your assignee is on a temporary assignment, their spouses and partners may decide to put their career on hold to pursue an advanced degree or take courses that would help them transition into a new field of work. Make sure they know of the in-country or remote education opportunities if they take an educational sabbatical.
Remote work opportunities
Thanks in no small part to the pandemic, remote working situations are real options for anyone who wants to work outside the country. Most job boards list whether an employer is open to a remote work arrangement for a given job posting. Assuming they are currently employed, the spouse or partner can easily inquire about remote work options within the company.
Tax help / guidance
In the event the company provides financial support for any aspect of the spouse’s job search and job acquisition activities (work visa, language training, etc.), your policy should clearly state whether you will provide any tax equalization support. Doing so will avoid any confusion about the potential tax liability and allow the employee and their spouse or partner to make appropriate plans.
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