Expat Employees Often Underprepared For Overseas Assignments

Last Updated Oct 10, 2007 7:02 PM EDT

Expat Employees Often Underprepared For Overseas AssignmentsThanks to email, video conferencing and a host of other technologies, you may be able to communicate with your colleagues around the globe so easily it feels like they're around the corner. But if you're a manager considering sending talent overseas, don't let that ease of communication lull you into thinking relocating employees abroad is a simple matter. More than half of employees assigned internationally feel their employers do a poor job of preparing them for the move.

HR News reports on a presentation given to a Society for Human Resources Management conference yesterday. Attendees were warned that medical and security issues are often glazed over. Some considerations employers need to be aware of:

  • Understanding the challenges of driving in a new environment, including signs, directions, language issues and traffic patterns, such as driving on the left vs. the right side of the road.
  • Communicating sanitation and hygiene issues. That may include not consuming the water--including as ice, as an ingredient in beverages, and when brushing one's teeth. It also includes getting the appropriate shots when traveling to certain areas of the world.
  • Making sure your third-country national doesn't get lost in the system. An employee from France working for a U.S. company located in Brazil can easily be overlooked in how his or her medical benefits are handled, for example.
  • Having a procedure to follow in the event of a natural disaster, war, terrorist act, medical emergency or epidemic.
Of course, there is no reason to go overboard, but best practices include "paying attention to the details, completeness and applicability of the benefits package to global workers; paying attention to family issues; attending to personal and professional needs and wants; using vendors with the right tools, experience and infrastructure to support your global workers; and buying international for best international results."

(Image of sad globe by JohnLeGear, CC 2.0)

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