Everybody knows that first impressions are everything, and this is no different for assignees when they first make the move to their new home. At such a stressful and often overwhelming time, it’s essential that as global mobility professionals we provide the firm foundations for a successful employee experience. The form that these can take are varied, but all focus on making the assignee feel like they have the information and support network to succeed in their new role and home. This week, we take a look at some of the critical areas to be hitting with your employee welcome experience, and how to ensure you’re providing the best service to your clients.
Before employees are transferred across the globe to their new home on assignment, take the time to prepare them for their new role and home. More and more emphasis is now being placed on cultural training, as businesses often include a blend of staff from different nationalities working together in close proximity. Besides, moving to a new country can often be overwhelming to some, as they find that things that used to be social norms are now the exact opposite. Providing language courses where possible will also allow assignees to navigate their new home better and fit in the with locals.
Global mobility specialists should know that arriving in a new home will often be extremely tense for assignees, as they settle in, perhaps with their family, and prepare for their new role. Receiving a personal message from the business manager or local head of office offering support and guidance where necessary will go a long way towards easing any worries they may have, and also make them feel less like they’re just a cog in a machine after what may have been a relatively stressful move. How you choose to implement these are up to you, but do ensure that proper welcome messages are a crucial part of your relocation strategy.
So, you have successfully delivered your assignee to their new home, but have you given them the tools to take full advantage? Their cultural and social knowledge will be up to speed thanks to your
pre-arrival training, but real information about the city they are living in will help immensely. Leverage your local service providers and utilise their expertise to create welcome packs full of useful information for your employees. Even objectively mundane information such as the location and relative price of local supermarkets can be extremely beneficial when in a new and unfamiliar setting.
Whatever you do, do not forget to tap into your premier source of detailed local information when it comes to moving staff abroad, those that already work in the location. When transferring an assignee to a new office, ask the local employees if there’s anything the newcomer should know when living in their new home. Those that have already made the move will have relevant experiences that could prove invaluable to those going through the same situations. A simple interview can provide a great deal of information in a relaxed and accessible format.
In many cases while on assignment assignees will not have to worry about their taxation and benefits status, as their employer will handle it. Regardless of whether this is the case, employees should always be fully informed of their tax status in their new country and be well prepared for any required payments. Ensuring that assignees are in-the-know when it comes to financial matters such as these will ease some pressure, while also providing additional confidence that their employer knows what they’re doing. Also, ensure that staff are informed of any potential benefits that could be accessed while in-country, especially for those with young families who have been brought along.
Starting a new job will always be a mixture of exciting and stressful, but there’s nothing worse than turning up and not being entirely sure what the requirements of your new post are. Assignees will, of course, know the general outline, but the day-to-day realities can often go untold. Making sure that their managerial responsibilities, performance indicators and regular deadlines are clear will help settle new employees. Consider providing a simple to understand organisational chart of the office or country/region.
Providing this kind of information in a clear and concise manner will better equip new staff to get started quickly and efficiently in their new role. It is also worth remembering that although an assignee may only be moving location and not role, it doesn’t mean that their output won’t need to change in response to a different office environment.
It’s unlikely that this assignee will be the first to complete an international move to the office, so consider setting up buddy contact schemes where possible. Matching employees with others in similar demographics (family, single, age group etc.) that have previously made the move will improve integration and team cohesion. Book some time for short conversations between the new assignee and their local colleague both before and after the move to see a huge difference in your international relocations.