Focus on Family Increases Assignment Effectiveness
Multinational companies expanding into new countries are increasingly focusing on the factors that can impact international assignment success. Although there are many, family issues are often cited as the most significant, and the primary reason for an assignment’s failure — or refusal to accept it in the first place. This hasn’t always been the case. In the past, single employees without dependents were more likely to be deployed than those with spouses/ partners and families, as this was usually cheaper and easier. Today, however, that has changed, due in part to a shortage of skilled talent.
Family matters have also gained in significance because the concept of family itself has changed in recent years. In the United States and other countries, this definition (legal and otherwise) has expanded, and now includes the following:
- Traditional nuclear families
- Single parents who are separated or widowed
- Multi-generational families, including dependent parents or grandparents
- Same-sex couples, with or without children
- Common-law or unmarried partners
- Child dependents who still live at home, who are not minors
- Adopted children of married or unmarried couples
- Dependent relatives
- Interracial or multicultural couples and children
Many countries, however, don’t recognize all of the above categories (although this is changing somewhat), which can create challenges when “non-traditional” family members wish to or must accompany the assignee. In these instances, all parties involved should clearly identify and understand the challenges that exist in a given location, as noted below, and adjust processes, provisions, and/or expectations accordingly.
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