Relocating abroad presents challenges, but often the most difficult part of an international assignment is returning to the home country. The sad reality is that more than 25% of international assignees leave their employer within two years of returning home.
With such a substantial investment in each international assignment, it’s wise for companies to plan for a successful re-entry from the beginning of the process. Aside from closing out the host country household and moving the family back to the home country, companies should consider potential reverse culture shock issues the assignee or family may experience as well as the employee’s career path.
Host Country Departure Services
Companies typically assist assignees with lease termination, dilapidation negotiations, utilities termination and final billing, de-registration from local government and schools and other services needed to close out the host country residence.
The company coordinates the return of the assignee’s household goods to the departure location or the next assignment location.
Cross-cultural training can help assignees re-assimilate to the home country culture. These programs usually take place about six weeks after the return and will help identify any areas of concern.
After spending several years overseas for your company–sometimes in risky environments– employees want to know that the experience they have gained abroad will be utilized and that they will have a career path when they come back home. Career Development and planning provides returning employees with the guidance they need to successfully reintegrate with the company as a whole. Companies who do not provide this service tend to lose returning employees who feel like they have lost their place in the organization in their absence.
Spouse / Partner Career Counseling
Many companies assist the employee’s spouse or partner, helping him or her to capitalize on the expatriate experience gained and re-enter the job market in the home country.
Companies are sometimes tempted to scrimp on repatriation benefits to reduce costs, but carefully considered repatriation support can help them to retain valued employees and to leverage the knowledge these employees have gained abroad.