How to convince your staff to move overseas.
If you’re trying to trying to grow your company then expanding overseas is the natural progression. However, when it comes to staffing, what do you do? New hires might seem like the easier option but they might prove difficult to monitor if you’re not familiar with the way they work. A good solution is to relocate existing members of your team that you know and trust, but you’ll need to keep in mind that moving to a new country is a multi-step process that needs work.
When trying to convince your staff to move overseas there’s a number of factors you need to consider in order to make it a successful venture that will not only benefit the company but also the employee. It should feel like a natural progression in their career and a way of enriching their lives rather than a forced experience which is likely to panic or stress them.
Step one: Find the right person
Your job as employer will be made a lot easier if you find the right person for the relocation. Not everyone is made for major life changes particularly when they might not be at the right stage of life to do so. Your first step is to announce your plan to everyone and find the appropriately qualified person willing to take on the move. Some people love the idea of becoming expats and of travelling overseas and the prospect will appeal to the right person; this is a far better option than having to convince someone who is less than keen because they’re more suited to the role.
Millennials and graduates will be easier to convince to emigrate and in many cases eager to please. They’re also more likely to have fewer commitments such as long term partners, children and mortgages who would make moving abroad a tougher decision. Less obvious choices might also be worth considering such as people who have sought transfers or promotions repeatedly due to their interest to try different experiences.
Moving abroad is a massive change and will lead to major culture shock for the unprepared. You need to consider whether your chosen person is adaptable to changing situations and environments. Besides the obvious factors such as a new language, food, climate etc., the employee will also be faced with the prospect of making new friends, new routines and a complete change of lifestyle. It’s your responsibility to ensure that these changes are managed smoothly and there’s an improvement to their quality of life.
We would discourage going after someone simply because they’re ideal for the role because if they agree under duress they’re more likely to pull out halfway through or request repatriation. You should feel confident in your choice of person and they should ideally be excited about the prospect of international relocation particularly if they’ve put their home up for sale or made similar drastic changes.
Step two: Make it worth their while
Let’s be honest, the primary reason for anyone agreeing to international relocation would be career progression and better pay. If you’d like your staff to move overseas more willingly you’ll need to pay them accordingly. Additional perks such as a housing upgrade, a company car (or a car with a driver), health and life insurance will sweeten the pill.
If higher salary isn’t on your budget try offering equity in your company. The aim of the international relocation will be to make your company more profitable so reward the people willing to make sacrifices to make that happen.
Reassure staff that the move will be to the benefit of their career. It’s natural for them to fear that international relocation will put them out of sight and out of mind. You not only need to confirm that they’ll be able to return to their current post but that the gesture could also mean a promotion if targets are reached and goals achieved. On a side note, studies have shown that Millennials see their job as more than just a way of making a living so if you can structure the transition in way that provides genuine meaning to your team, you’re more likely to succeed. If it feels like it’s going to enrich their lives they’ll be more likely to agree to an overseas post rather it just being a way of keeping their job.
Besides a potential pay rise you’ll also need to consider the following:
• Pre-move trip. Sending your staff on a visit to the country in question beforehand will make them feel far more confident if they get to examine housing opportunities and get a sense of the place and the locals.
• Conditional lump-sum or annual bonuses.
• Language and cultural training, ideally well in advance of the move.
• Education arrangements for the children, particularly the likelihood of private English speaking schools or even day care costs.
• Work Visa and employment support of the partner.
• Cover the costs of return visits particularly if the family aren’t relocating as well. Periodic airfare contributions either for the partner/family or the employee will make the prospect far less daunting. This should include paid holiday above and beyond the standard annual allowance.
• Tax support and possible reimbursements as well as advice on how their new home operates in that respect.
• Personal security. Depending on where they’re moving to, this might be imperative.
• Health checks and necessary vaccinations before departure.
• Temporary moving tips
Provide flexibility, transparency and support
In cases where people are more reluctant to move abroad due to family obligations you’ll need to make the process very simple for them. Married people with small or school aged children need to decide if they’re willing to leave their family behind temporarily but it’s to your interest to provide a relocation package for everyone. The last thing you want is for a family of five to move overseas only to find that they can’t cope with the change six months down the line because they didn’t have enough support at their destination.
Listening to their concerns will help with getting the answer you want as will explaining how you’ll make their relocation easier and how you’ll use their feedback to make sure they are settling in properly. Keep in mind that this is a very delicate time in the life of your employee and they’re likely to feel stressed and insecure about the whole process. Failure to meet the expectations you have set by promising to deliver a smooth relocation service could lead to mistrust and the breakdown of the relocation process, which could endanger your overall project.
Be flexible in your definition of family as well. You’ll much more likely to find agreeable participants if you’re willing to include same sex partners in that category or long term couples who might not be married.
Continuing to offer support after the move will also help a great deal. Your staff need to feel cared for and supported in their decision weeks or even months after the relocation. Make sure there’s always someone available to offer assistance with local issues, bureaucracy such as VISA renewals and even small tasks.
Providing flexibility will make the prospect of your talent taking the step more likely. Instead of expecting them to commit to a multi-year assignment where they might feel trapped in a location they don’t like or away from family and friends, consider the option of shorter, renewable assignments which will make it like less of struggle if they start feeling like they don’t like it anymore. Knowing they have the option to return will make them feel catered for and thus more conscious of asking to come back and wasting the company’s money.
Your aim should be to offer them the peace of mind that they have the option to return after they’ve completed the first part of the project. This will enable them to feel at ease with their decision and more likely to settle rather than likely to revaluate their entire career.
Find the right Relocation Company
International relocation is a complex process which needs effective management. Factors to consider will include immigration procedures, securing appropriate housing (temporary and long term), packing household goods, shipping of assets, selecting schools, moving pets and opening new bank accounts to name a few.
The task can seem daunting for anyone, particularly with the amount of detail and logistics to consider. You’re much more likely to find volunteers if you agree to take care of this part of the process for your assignees and finding the right Corporate Relocation partner that can take care of this for you is critical. The more aspects of the move you take care of for your team the happier they’ll be and the more they’ll be able to focus on the project you have assigned them. They should feel like their only concern is to do the job they’ve been sent out to do.
As the employer your task will be made much easier if you employ the services of a reputable, FIDI and BAR registered moving company with a demonstrated record of International relocation.
The right corporate relocation partner will be able to offer you a full relocation solution, handled by expert professionals who can guarantee a quick and stress free transition for your staff during this stressful time in their lives. When asked most professional expats said they wanted to receive relocation and repatriation as part of their overall moving services package.
To read more about our employee relocation services click here.
Call us today to arrange for a moving quote visit our quote page. Our expert move managers will guide you through every step of the international moving process, helping offer your transferees the support they need from moving and storage through to moving checklists and tips that will make the soon to be expatriate feel right at ease.