Repatriation Best Practices – Benefit Both Employee and Employer

One of the biggest challenges global assignees face is the return home, especially if it’s an accompanied assignment. Many don’t realize this (nor do their employers), so few are prepared for the many repatriation challenges that can arise, from reverse culture shock to financial setbacks. In this repatriation best practices white paper we explore these issues and offer solutions, as well as preventive measures that can be taken to create win-win scenarios for all parties involved.

The long-term assignment as we know it today, conceived in the 1950s as global corporate expansion began taking hold, has never been without its challenges. Although some of these challenges have diminished over the years – telecommunications issues, for example — others have not. In response, the mobility landscape has shifted, with a wide array of assignment types now being used (e.g., commuter, project-specific, business traveler, and rotator) that provide cheaper, shorter-term, and less challenging alternatives.

That said, however, the long-term assignment remains very much in play (though for fewer employees), because it’s sometimes the most suitable option. If, for example, a company is opening a sales office or entering a new market or an employee is serving as a financial controller of a strategically important subsidiary, a long-term assignment makes the most sense says B. Sebastian Reiche, associate professor of people management at IESE Business School in Barcelona. Also, he notes, these types of assignments are better developmental tools, as it is the long-term exposure to an international experience that is more likely to develop cross-cultural competencies.

The challenges of long-term assignments therefore remain, as does the need to address them. In doing so, many companies find it not only benefits all parties involved, but also their bottom line.

Repatriation – Coming Back to a Different Place

One of the most difficult aspects of an overseas assignment, at least according to many former assignees, is the return home, or repatriation. Although one might imagine this to be just the opposite, this phase can actually be harder for the employee and accompanying family members than the initial deployment…