The Right Candidate for a Successful Expatriation Program
Moving and relocating an employee to a new country can be a tricky and risky task. Many companies seek to move promising and up-and-coming employees to new assignments in a different country. However, there are many reasons for unsuccessful expatriations. It is key to identify the signs of an employee’s readiness to expatriate.
Employers can be dissatisfied by employee performance at their new post. Employees might fail to thrive in their new position. “Culture shock” might cause friction between new employees and native employees. And pressure or stress from family members can also lead to poor performance at work.
But expatriating employees to a new position in another country can also be an incredibly rewarding and profitable decision for a company. Employees who successfully transition to their new posting can become a lifeline for companies with an international presence and branches. So, what separates a person who make a successful transition and expatriation from those who do not? Below are five positive signs that signal to management to check employee readiness to expatriate, willing, and able to successfully begin the expatriation process to a new country:
Five Signs an Employee Is Ready to Expatriate
1. The Employee is Positive, Flexible, and Adventurous
An employee’s attitude is a key part of whether they will succeed or fail in any new assignment or position. That is also true when it comes to expatriating to a new country. A study by Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy identified five characteristics of successful expatriates.
Among them were personal qualities like “positive,” “flexible,” and “adventurous.” This makes sense for employees who are being selected for a posting outside of their home country. Employees who are willing to strike out and treat the act of expatriation as a fun and exciting possibility are more likely to succeed. Pessimistic, inflexible, and inhibited were unlikely to successfully relocate.
2. He or She Is Culturally Competent
Cultural differences are expected when moving to a new country. The “culture shock” that ensues is also part of the transition process. But a successful expatriate will have a prime advantage over his or her peers when it comes to adjusting to different languages, cultures, and ways of living. The best candidates for expatriation programs practice and develop cultural competence.
Cultural competence is the ability to understand, appreciate, and interact with people from cultures different from your own. Good expatriation candidates will proactively seek out ways to learn about their new home. Learning about their new culture will allow them to thrive professionally and socially in a new environment. Job performance in a new country is directly tied to cultural competence.
3. Expectations Are Communicated Well Between the Home Team and Potential Expatriates
The best in-house advantage that a qualified expatriate candidate can have is support from company management. Employees willing to expatriate internationally expect important responsibilities. And the company willing to invest in an employee’s relocation will also have performance expectations. It is up to management, however, to establish lines of communication and assign clear and achievable goals for their outgoing expatriates.
Doing so can mean the difference between an overwhelmed employee who burns out quickly and a prepared employee who hits the ground running. The excitement of international expatriations eventually dies down. And homesickness can take its toll. Managers need to clear about how long the assignment is for, what their role will be, and what they need to focus on once they arrive.
4. They Have the Right Resources to Help Expatriation
Companies that don’t regularly engage in expatriate relocation often underestimate how much an assignment can cost. While a company can provide a generous relocation package, they may not know how to best utilize it. The best solution in these cases is to bring in a relocation management company that has experience in moving, transitioning, and supporting expatriates into new countries. A relocation management company like Lex Expat Relo helps companies sending employees to international branches. They streamline the process of moving and have rosters of destination service providers that work with expatriates to settle them into a new country. Relocation packages are maximized, and employee/employer needs are satisfied when unaccounted steps involving relocating are taken care of.
5. Their Family Is Also Supported in Their New Home
Expatriate employees often have to contend with moving their spouses and children with them. This can be a stressful prospect – especially if their family members do not have the same incentive to move or support as the employee does. Living quarters, career changes, schooling arrangements, and daily routines need to be upended and recreated in a new place.
This is another area where relocation management companies are the best resource for expatriates. Destination service providers remove all the hassle and stress of securing and managing a new household. The right provider can help each member of an expatriate household find all the elements of home life that they need. That makes the smooth expatriation extend beyond the office.
The Last Word on Expatriation
The expatriation process is a complex task. Languages need to be learned with companies specialized in providing language training for expatriates, such as BiCortex Languages. Living arrangements need to be secured. Translation of certificates is required for the immigration process. And employees need strong direction and support from company management. And that’s not even taking financial decisions and relocation packages into account.
But all of this can be achieved and taken on with the right approach to identify employee readiness to expatriate. A willing and adventurous employee, coupled with solid lines of communication from management, makes a great difference. Adding in assistance from a relocation management company also provides the right language training, cross-cultural competency, professional translations, and family support that can mean an employee will thrive as an expatriate.
Guest article from BiCortex