Global mobility remains a focus for many organizations; nearly half of international companies saw relocation volumes increase in 2016, according to Atlas Van Lines’ annual corporate relocation survey.
Permanent or temporary remote work assignments can offer a number of advantages, including new skill development, the chance to travel and exposure to new cultures.
Employees who are moving to a different country, though, often face a number of unique challenges — including uncertainty about their living arrangements, expenses and other aspects that can vary significantly from their country of origin.
To reduce some of the stress and get employees excited about the opportunity, some companies are trying to proactively address those concerns in their relocation package.
A few relocation assistance elements employers have chosen to include are:
Full reimbursement isn’t an automatic choice for all companies; organizations estimate roughly half their relocation packages in 2016 either involved partial reimbursement or a lump-sum payment for moving costs, according to Atlas.
Global mobility efforts may not need to include relocation assistance selling employees’ current homes; in general, the amount of workers who cited housing or mortgage concerns as a reason for declining assignments has decreased in recent years to 26 percent, placing it at a pre-recession level for the second time since 2007, according to Atlas’ survey.
That said, cost of living, including housing expenses, and the fact the employee will be navigating an unknown area will be a consideration, making a housing allowance and/or assistance identifying potential neighborhoods and housing options a possible relocation package inclusion. For a brief look at which countries could involve an increase in expenditures, view our recent blog post on the most expensive relocation destinations.
Family-related relocation assistance
Almost half of international assignees are accompanied by a dependent family, according to Relocate magazine; and the family’s impact on an organization’s global mobility outcomes can be considerable. BGRS research found nearly a third of assignments fail due to family-related issues. Spouse or partner career or income concerns are the second most frequent reason employees turn down assignments.
As a result, in addition to more traditional amenities like school tuition assistance, companies, Atlas says, are offering spouse/partner employment relocation assistance more often. Networking help is the most popular choice; more than a third of companies are funding outplacement/career services from an outside firm. Nearly a third of companies provide resume preparation assistance, and close to a fourth reimburse spouses or partners for career transition-related expenses.
Even with a solid relocation package in place, convincing employees to uproot isn’t always easy. However, a number of organizations have had some success with emphasizing the positive career development aspects relocation can supply.
Although just 23 percent of companies have a defined process that incorporates career planning starting with assignment acceptance, more than half (61 percent), according to BGRS, try to at least communicate the importance assignments can have on an employee’s career.
The global mobility consultant’s research shows that can be significant: 43 percent of companies said assignees were more likely to be a future leader, and 23 percent said employees can receive more rapid or frequent promotions as the result of an assignment.
Our previous 5 ways to tackle global management and making employee relocation work blog posts can provide some additional tips on helping to ease the transition for workers who are moving to a different country.
If you’re looking for career development opportunity ideas that don’t require a move, our posts on employee training programs and inventive methods to help match employees to future roles, and our white paper on helping high-potential employees become high-performers, may offer some guidance.