One Layer Deeper: How Relocation Really Affects an Employee and Their Family
Relocating for a new job or assignment can be an exciting change for most people – a new beginning, a chance for a grand reset.
Plus, the international work experience puts another feather in the employability hat, gives the employee in question an edge over the competition in the job market and increases their earning potential.
No matter how positive the experience is, though, moving from one work environment to another and uprooting the family does cause a degree of stress that hardly goes unnoticed.
The feeling of ‘progress’ or the excitement about the new project might be very real for the employee themselves. Their trailing spouses or the kids, however, might not share the same sentiment.
The kids don’t want to leave the school they’ve grown used to, or their friends behind to start over somewhere else.
The trailing spouse might need to quit a job they love, leave a social and professional network behind, perhaps leave family behind, and start over, too.
The rest of the family has less of a sense of purpose attached to the move. In many cases, that leads to a stressful home environment.
This domestic stress often manifests as a drop in work performance, or worse – the desire (or decision) to withdraw from the new assignment, and return home.
For a business, that withdrawal means anywhere between a $250,000 to a $1million+ monetary cost. And that’s not taking into account the time and effort wasted, and the hits that employee morale and company reputation take in the process.
Studies show that the number one reason behind international assignment failure has to do with family members not being able to adapt and settle into their new environments.
Can Companies Help Employees Who Have Relocated?
This might seem entirely outside of the scope of a typical HR department, but ensuring a happy home and addressing the overall well-being of an employee is crucial for a business to succeed truly.
Employers today tend to tick all the boxes when it comes to the practicalities of transition. Immigration. Check. Housing. Check. School. Check. Training on the new job. Check.
But what about career counseling for the trailing spouse? What about socio-cultural inductions and information to help the family settle into their new host country? What about checking in on the employee to see if they’re comfortable in their new work environment?
These softer aspects often get overlooked and overshadowed by the technicalities of the move and the bustle of settling in and getting that new project off the ground.
The problem is the lack of holistic awareness of the issue.
According to a Global Mobility study conducted by Deloitte, 43% of the surveyed HR Executives saw global mobility as a critical business competency. But only 10% of them said that their company shared the same view.
Employers need to develop a greater understanding of the problems associated with geographic transfers.
One way to do this might be by communicating with the employee and their family regularly. Many companies don’t have the systems, people or processes in place to do that, though.
Another option is to allow employees and their families to access information, learning tools, and the community support they need to thrive abroad.
At Generation Mobility, our mission is to equip as many businesses as we can with the tools to demystify global mobility. We’re on a mission to un-limit human potential.
In an increasingly globalized world, it makes little sense that matters concerning global mobility should slow organizations down.
Our service is aimed at putting these growing global companies on the fast-track with well-designed, perfectly-executed, evidence-based solutions.
What do you think companies need to do to make borderless opportunities more possible? How do you make your international talent feel more secure and comfortable? Tell us in the comments below.