Family & spouse issues are the largest threat to a successful relocation, wasting millions & reducing productivity if the assignment ends prematurely.
According to EY’s Mobility Survey, 65% of international assignments fail due to personal reasons.
At a minimum, moving an employee to Australia will cost $10,000 when considering an economy airfare, visa processing and two weeks’ accommodation allowance. This doesn’t include any additional allowances such as a lump sum benefit, cover for shipping costs or other discretionary items such as school fees, partner support, and so on. This also excludes recruitment costs, on-boarding or other training and administration fees associated with getting a new staff member focused and productive in their new role.
Also to be considered are the personal costs and upheaval of the move borne by the employee and their partner, and/or family. Unfortunately, they are often the forgotten parties and yet will govern your employee’s overall happiness, focus and productivity in their new assignment. If they do not assimilate or feel at home, they may see no other choice but to leave.
International moves are stressful and while every family is different, the fundamental needs will be the same.
Organisations that carefully ponder the human aspect of a relocation can reap the benefits of a loyal and engaged employee. All of this in return for very little investment in time or money – simply by considering 5 key ingredients to S.E.T.U.P. for relocation success:
Spouse involvement and social support
Dual-career couples are increasingly the norm, so for the spouse to have put their career on hold can be distracting for your employee, with associated guilt and pressure this can place on the relationship. The daily routine of work for your employee means they will suffer less from the loneliness and displacement of the move. A spouse left unsupported poses significant danger to the success of a relocation; simply including them in communication, offering to support their social settlement or job search on arrival are small but noteworthy gestures that can help the whole family settle quickly.
Engage, surprise and delight
Many studies have shown that engaged employees result in higher productivity. Including personalised elements of surprise and delight can have great impact and encourage loyalty. Ideas like a simple text message from their line manager welcoming them to their new city, a small gift at their accommodation when weary after the long trip, or a dinner voucher to enjoy before starting work. All of these are low-cost with potential high return, affirming their decision that the move was the right one for their career and their family.
Relocating poses the same questions in the majority of cases – but simply providing the chance to air these concerns or the resources to respond to them, can go a long way to ensuring your employee assimilates quickly. Incorporate opportunities to have a say, have burning questions answered, and to have personal needs acknowledged. An FAQs document or hotline service can also help to serve this purpose.
The internet is a powerful research tool that can be overwhelming when ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. It is hard to decipher what is reliable. Research also takes time. Offering relevant and up-to-date information is crucial to ensuring the relocation goes smoothly. A manual or guide to everything they will need to do or know in order to get set up will be a useful resource for any expat.
We often take for granted the hints and tips that our years of experience living in the same place can offer. Replicating elements of one’s lifestyle goes a long way to helping to feel at home – similar brands, home set-up, routine and activities. Access to local knowledge and experience can make a huge difference when budgeting and making other lifestyle choices. Offering this expertise can pay dividends to the success of a relocation.