Coaching and Support While on Assignment
Relocating to a foreign country is one of the most stressful things a person can do. It is not surprising therefore, that many assignments fail because employees cannot overcome the anxiety caused by relocating themselves and their family.
Research shows that 80% of assignments fail due to the assignee’s failure to adjust to their new surroundings. The most critical time of any new assignment is likely to be the first few months as employees and their families try to handle the lack of stability and make the necessary changes to adapt to their new job and home.
Clear evidence from survey work shows us that, as a minimum, good preparation and management of employee expectations, as well as cross-cultural training, are critical to ensure that the assignee is able to make the changes and maintain workplace performance during the transition.
The impact on the changing nature of assignments also needs to be considered. More employees are relocating to countries with strong economic growth, but with a less developed expatriate culture and this combined with the rise of ‘commuter assignments’ to short haul destinations in Europe, is having significant consequences for employees and their quality of life.
Some of the other significant trends in relocation in the past few years are particularly impacting women. Fewer married men are being accompanied by their wives and children and, overall, women’s expatriation has fallen to its lowest figure since 2001.
These trends coupled with reduced opportunities for spousal employment when the partner relocates are all having a detrimental effect on work life balance and ultimately performance on assignment.
To try and address these issues, many forward-thinking employers are now investing in personal support such as coaching and cross-cultural training to mitigate the impact of relocation on the individual, their family and business performance. In addition, some employers are re-thinking the selection criteria for assignees to ensure that they are relocating individuals who are robust and adaptable enough, to cope with the inevitable challenges and change.
These measures make financial sense as it is estimated that relocating an employee at a senior level can cost up to £1.5m but the cost of mitigating the impact on the individual and the business is relatively small when compared to the potential risks of a failed assignment.
At Team Relocations, we understand the importance of additional employee support as part of our service.
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