How to prepare expatriates for an assignment

Many people are involved when a company decides to send someone on an assignment, but it is especially important to prepare expatriates before their relocation.

Preparing assignees for travel is critical, whether for a short-term assignment or a permanent relocation. To help you with these, All Points selected a few tips on what to do before sending someone on a global assignment.

Prepare expatriates according to their suitability

Everybody knows it is expensive to send an employee abroad. You want to ensure that your candidate has the necessary knowledge and skills to do the job. However, it’s also crucial to determine whether the candidate has the personality to adapt to working in a foreign country or anything you need to consider about their spouse or family before starting the assignment.

1. International experience

It may seem obvious, but when vetting someone for an assignment, you should consider if your employee has visited other countries. Living abroad is very different from tourism, but knowing that someone is acquainted with travel and knows other languages is essential to the success of an assignment. You can also conduct cross-cultural assessments to see if the candidate can adapt to the new culture.

2. Skills

If you have someone in mind to travel abroad, they probably have the hard skills necessary for the position. However, if there is one moment where soft skills shine is this one. Assignees need to be empathetic, flexible and have great control of their emotions. This is so important that you may have to consider someone that still has some hard skills to learn, as long as they are in the right mindset for the job.

3. Family

One of the last factors to consider when vetting someone is their family. Even the best-suited employees need to think about the needs of their loved ones. Knowing if a family is big or small, the age of their kids and the flexibility of their spouses’ jobs is a must. If there are parents who need care, or children with special needs, the family may not adapt well to being abroad.

The cost-benefit of an assignment

Relocation is expensive no matter what, but selecting the right assignee and having a relocation plan can ease the burden. There are excellent assignment cost calculators that All Points can tell you about. Sometimes these cost calculations can end the notion of an assignment before it even starts.

To ensure that the relocation will benefit both employee and company, it is important to help people stay productive after moving. A relocation company can help with that, ensuring cheaper vendors, assignee assistance and providing tax support.

Tips to prepare expatriates for relocation

According to the Harvard Business Review, the most important thing to do before sending anyone abroad is having a business plan, just as you would for any other major investment or decision. A clear organizational need must exist, as well as a compelling reason why this need cannot be met through a local hire. You know this intuitively, because the cost is so high for an international assignment, but planning the assignment from first immigration steps, to compensation, to relocation, to a repatriation and re-integration plan, are all crucial to have a fully successful assignment.

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