Every day, moving for work becomes more commonplace. And it’s not just because companies are going global. In fact, overseas opportunities often happen because employees are looking to work abroad. Be it for experience, for a change of scenery, or to seek better options within the company, the truth is many employees will show, at one point or another, an interest in testing out new waters.
In response to this demand, it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to put in place a strategy that would allow employees to gain international working experience. And, of course, companies also have a lot to gain from geographical labor mobility. While employees develop their own skills, grow professionally and expand their networks, companies can expand their markets and improve their brand reputation as top employers. Also, working abroad programs can help companies to improve employee retention by providing them with more opportunities.
So how do we ensure a successful overseas experience, both for the company and the employee? It boils down to developing a strategy that prepares the employee for his or her life abroad.
Let’s get to it!
The basic framework
The purpose of your strategy should be to prepare employees for work abroad so that they can overcome any obstacles that may be encountered during the move.
For example, people are very likely to experience culture shock when moving to a new country. While the effects of culture shock can decrease on their own over time, a proper strategy can help shorten the time between shock and assimilation. This will not only benefit the employee’s overall wellness, but also help the employer foster higher productivity and engagement levels.
In other words, our overseas onboarding strategy should seek to prioritize employee wellness in order to reach a successful transition.
With this principle in mind, let’s take a look at specific measures we can take.
Tried and true measures to help employees work abroad
Here are just some ideas on how you can help employees navigate the most crucial aspects of moving abroad.
- Assist the employee with administrative tasks related to his or her stay abroad, like visas, travel plans, opening bank accounts and legal paperwork.
- Support the employee with regards to the place of residence and/or living arrangements. If the employee is moving abroad with his or her family, it is important to take into consideration other arrangements such as school registration for children.
- Provide the employee with clear information on his or her working conditions, salary, bonus schemes, work schedules, among other HR matters while he or she is working abroad.
- Establish HR points of contact, local and abroad, that can serve as references for any queries the employee may have.
- Schedule cultural training prior to sending the employee abroad. It is necessary for the employee to be aware of local traditions and social norms.
Though they may seem simple, these measures can help safeguard the employee’s productivity abroad and increase his or her loyalty towards the company.
Through the gender lens
Gender bias could generate invisible obstacles for women holding international positions. As a company, it is important to recognize that these barriers exist for women in workplaces everywhere, though they may vary from country to country. Implementing gender-specific measures within the company’s geographical labor mobility strategies could help mitigate any negative impact these barriers could have on the employee.
Examples of gender-specific measures that can contribute to a successful employee experience working abroad include:
- Schedule cultural training where women are informed of the country of destination’s cultural values, local traditions, and social and religious norms. It is important that the employee is aware of the new context and possible expectations.
- Role-play different situations with the employee prior to travelling abroad. Include everyday situations that go beyond the work environment. This will generate realistic expectations.
- Assign a local female mentor in a leadership position that could assist the employee and guide her in case it is necessary. This way, the employee will have a local point of reference.
- Support the employee’s decision of working abroad by highlighting and promoting her competencies and experience. By giving visibility to the employee’s qualification, we can reinforce the company’s trust on the employee as well as raise employee morale. This can be crucial during periods of change.
- Share other employees’ experience, especially women’s experience working abroad. This information could be useful and inspire other women within the company to participate in geographical labor mobility strategies.
As a leading money transfer company, Ria has been navigating the world of geographical mobility for decades. It’s almost a natural progression for our employees to seek international opportunities after a few years in the company.
As shared Carmen Cerdán Fiz, VP and Head of Human Resources at Ria Money Transfer, “In a business defined by talent, global mobility is more important than ever. It helps put the best people on the job, wherever that job needs to be. It helps people discover new environments and enrich both their personal and professional experience. And it helps our leadership teams understand people better and deliver more efficient service to our clients. It has benefits for everyone!”
At present, Ria provides employees with different benefits and guidance when moving abroad. Since global mobility is such a big part of our company culture, we’re constantly working on improving our processes and strategies to ensure our employees are having the best experience overseas.
Want to work with us? Check out our current open positions.
For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
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