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Global companies are under considerable pressure to determine what makes a successful overseas assignment and to understand why they so often fail.To minimize the risk of such failure and to ensure the well-being of their employees, organizations must examine the key challenges facing expats deployed overseas, and determine the best way to prepare, support, and manage them during their time abroad.
As International Management Consultant Audrey Rowley puts it: “Successful overseas assignments depend on the individual and the support they receive.
After the initial honeymoon period, it is common for employees to feel isolated because of the cultural and language barriers and the separation from friends and family.
While none of these parties will want to dwell on the reasons for failure, it is particularly important that companies understand the financial (and non-financial) costs of failure, in order to assess the overall return on investment, the viability of their global assignment program – and to help plan more successful assignments in the future.
The cost of a failed assignment depends on the salary level of the transferee, the size of his family and the destination country.It makes financial sense for companies to ensure that they fully prepare and support expatriate employees before, during, and after their overseas assignments.Companies sending employees overseas have a moral responsibility and a duty of care to ensure that they understand the legislation and cultural differences in the country assignees are going to.It is very important for expats to keep in touch with colleagues and work life back home so that they have a more balanced view of their role within the global organization and are better prepared for repatriation once the assignment is over.While children and spouses are frequent factors in early repatriation cases, these difficulties are extremely hard to spot because most expats are reluctant to share domestic or social difficulties with the company – the company needs to know that the assignee’s family is coping, and it should explain the need for open communication up-front.The following tips apply to all global organizations managing expatriates on overseas international assignments: When it comes to overseas assignments it is really a case of – fail to prepare: prepare to fail.Global mobility professionals must examine the challenges facing the modern assignee and determine the best practices to support and manage them throughout their assignment.Some of the most important services that should be available to all expats on overseas international assignments include: According to INSEAD business school, the five main reasons for expatriate assignment failure, which they estimate at 40-50% of all overseas deployments are: Unless there is a previous track record of success, it is very difficult to isolate the qualities that successful expats require.The local branch of the company in the host country has a crucial role to play in supporting newly arrived employees.You must call the Human Resources Service within 31 days of a qualifying life event, such as you get married or have a baby to enroll dependents or make other changes to your coverage.If you miss the 31-day deadline, you generally must wait until the next open enrollment period (usually held each October) to update your benefits.