5 Things Your Global Mobility Specialists Need to Handle Staff Relocation

As the best business leaders and sports coaches will tell you, “Nothing beats preparation.”

This is true, especially of assignees who will be transferring to their new place of work in a month or a couple of month’s time.  The contracts have been signed, the enthusiasm on both sides is high, your assignees have read the country and city profiles you have given them and probably Googled all that they can about the new home where they will work and live the next couple of years.

Although they have mentally allotted themselves a period of adjustment, chances are they want to get through that period as fast and possible.  Once the transition phase is over and they have blended in, they can perform at their peak levels and do the job they signed up for, and spectacularly at that.

The less surprises they encounter, the better.  The faster  they can jump over hurdles, the  more smoothly they can fit in with the corporate workplace.

A lot of the ease in their adjustment period has to do with the various professional and corporate nuances that only you can provide.  The statistics that a search engine results gives can only do so much.  In a sense, you become the eyes, ears, and yes, hand that holds your top-tier talent as he assumes his place of leadership in this new world.

Here are the five top things that your assignee should know, and which you must be able to familiarize him with, long before he takes that plane out of his comfort zone and into new territory.

  1. The laws of the country and the state.  Don’t take this for granted, even if your new talent comes from a nearby US state or a democratic nation.  Immigration rules apply across the country. Beyond that each state has its own unique state of ordinances that your assignee will encounter eventually, whether as an employee dealing with professional codes of conduct or a new suburbia resident who wants to keep a pet.  National and regional laws concerning taxation, employment, housing accommodations, and intellectual property protection are some of the more initially confusing issues that relocated corporate executives frequently have to contend with.
  2. The organization’s business model.  An organizational chart is just the first step.  Granted that it will take him time to get to know his peers and his subordinates, but one way to make the transition easier is to enlighten him about the dynamics of the professional network that keeps the company running.  Which departments are the most critical when it comes to supporting all the rest in accomplishing their goals?  Which groups are the workhorses that spur everyone to action, from lean season to the winning ones?  Which infrastructure does the company most invest in, to keep itself competitive?  A bird’s eye view of the business model and its complex functionalities will encourage your top talent to sharpen his saw and come to work each morning, with all gears running.
  3. Home accessories and furnishings.  Your top talent (and probably  their significant other) will appreciate advice you can give him to make his new place of residence literally his own. Go past the posh interior design and the impressive security features.  Align your talent’s needs and his sources of comfort with the new house where he can recharge and relax after a day’s battle.   If he has spent most of his professional life in regions with open spaces, would he be more inspired with a home that has a garden view rather than one in an enclosed, steel structure?
  4. Office cultural diversity.  Chances are your top talent will not be the only relocated employee in the organization.  Global mobility is becoming a workplace norm, from the executive level down to lower-middle, but essential, staff.  Assignee levels have increased by 25 percent over the last ten years, with varying work arrangement from fullt-ime employment, per-project contracts, to virtual-with-the-option-to-visit-the-home-office.   Many of them come from different states and distant parts of the world.  Your assignee will eventually have to interact with them at some point.  Having an idea of the foreign nationals he would rub shoulders with would give him to get to know their cultural sensitivities; it is one way to strengthen team morale and boost overall organizational performance.
  5. His hometown (or homeland) ties.  At some point in his stay in his new home, your assignee would want to return to his roots or at least keep in touch with kindred spirits from his home country or state. The embassy and the immigration office are just two of the organizations he would need  on his contact list.  Other equally important ones are cultural institutions, art galleries, libraries, business chambers of commerce, and volunteer non-profit groups.  International restaurants that specialize in his country’s cuisine can also add that special touch that will make him feel more at home.