November 2020 • 3 mins
The top 3 non-obvious factors in providing a great relocation experience
A great relocation experience determines not only the happiness of your international talent but also rewards positive business outcomes. Pay it forward and provide a great relocation experience by going the extra mile for your talent.
Caring about integration outside of work is a competitive advantage
When onboarding your prospective talent, it is essential to commit your support beyond flights and visa paperwork. No longer are work-life balance and workplace flexibility considered to be fringe benefits. Relocation support means genuinely caring about your employees outside of work hours and helping them with the small things nobody wants to think about (such as setting up a bank account, insurance, phone contracts etc.).
Employees are three-dimensional people, whose lives outside of work affect performance outcomes. According to the global mobility survey, two-thirds of relocation cases fail due to a lack of adaptation to local conditions. Assisting with cultural and social integration by understanding the nuances of your talent’s home and host cultures will ensure they retain their self-identity without falling into “expat bubbles”.
A happy employee is an effective employee, one that can invest more energy, enthusiasm, and passion into what they do. The competitive advantage for you comes in recruiting and retention, by cutting absenteeism and boosting productivity.
Give the team they are working in some thoughts and material on what to keep in mind
When providing a great relocation experience, as HR professionals we need to understand the concept of cultural relativism. This is the simple idea that a person's beliefs, values, and practices should be understood based on their culture. This means informing your team on the cultural contexts behind your international talent such as religion, emotional expression, trust building, communication, and confrontation.
Provide your team with some recommendations on how these factors affect their changing work environment. For example, outline how religion may affect where team lunches can be held, or how communication styles vary across cultures and how this shapes trust building and confrontation. Empathy and a simple understanding provide great value to the relocation experience. It enables the transition to a successful onboarding and makes the international employee feel welcomed and understood.
Provide a buddy from a similar cultural context
Onboarding with a buddy system is an excellent way to ensure great relocation support, especially within a cultural context. It is important to remember that when starting a new job, your international employees will likely feel completely lost on their first day. A buddy system can enable them to “hit the ground running” and reduce the time taken to come up to speed with your company's work environment, workflow processes, and unspoken rules. In fact, research shows that new hires with buddies are 23% more satisfied with their overall onboarding experience compared to those without.
By ensuring the new buddy is of a similar cultural background, you can reduce the effects of culture shock. This gives the international employee insider information on how to culturally integrate into your company. The buddy should be responsible for socialising the new employee on company guidelines, norms, and culture. They can share insights on how things are done in the organisation and involve the new employee in social or informal activities, such as lunch or after work drinks.
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