nurture assignees

Given Skills Shortage and Fast Employee Turnaround, a Need for Nurturing Assignees

Retention of talent has become tougher especially in a job (or project) market which is becoming increasingly global. Assignees or foreign workers use their adeptness with social media, job sites, and other internet tools to land them top-paying jobs in other countries.

The United States, while still a preferred destination for employment, is beginning to encounter rivals in countries that offer free travel, more tax cuts, more family benefits, and other perks to its expatriate workers.

Regions with booming industries have already acknowledged that they are waging war to attract talent with highly competitive compensation packages. Aside from the United States, Southeast Asia and Canada are stepping up their game.

Oftentimes, it’s the competing company that presents itself as a more attractive alternative to the candidates. It just happens that it’s based in Europe or Asia. Assignees might sign up with firms that have a solid career development plan, generous medical benefits, or bonuses higher than the industry standard.

Human resource officers who face competition on a domestic or national scale respond to it by creating a database of talent that they can tap any time. They also strengthen their processes in internal mobility which actually creates programs that promote talent from within, instead of hiring newbies or pirating executives from outside.

This is a strategy that must be adopted by global mobility specialists who are accustomed to think of recruitment and retention as a revolving door which signs on and then replaces assignees every couple of years.

Given the strong global talent competition, assignees entering and exiting that door are thinning. Global mobility specialists should not just have a talent pool that they can access, but a pipeline of success which can groom and help their assignees professionally grow.

Should the company expand, these  “homegrown” assignees would be the first ones to be sent into the field. Should the company find it difficult to fill in jobs with specific skill sets from local candidates, these same assignees who may have the necessary qualifications can be put into the running.

To build that pipeline, the assignee’s compensation package must be competitive and can match the best other global recruiters offer. Once that has been secured, global mobility specialists can do the following to attract — and retain — the best assignees in the crop:

  1. Make sure your assignee enjoys quality time outside his work, especially with his family. The 21st century assignee thrives on work-life balance, motivated by his passion for his hobbies as he is by his pursuit of career advancement. Companies that have programs that allow flextime, outcome-based metrics, and family inclusion in some employee outings draw him in. Among the countries that are high on his must-work list are those that have successfully implemented a culture where personal time is honored along with professional excellence. These countries include Belgium, Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, and Norway.
  2. Create mentorship programs and a buddy system that will foster a culture of learning on all sides. Online educational courses can provide your assignee the skills and knowledge he might need to further excel on the job. However, a more personal interaction with seasoned executives whom he respect can encourage him, boost his confidence, and probably unleash other abilities he might not even realized he had. Meanwhile, a buddy system will help the foreign assignee feel more at home, and that his colleagues will genuinely help him succeed in his goals. Together, the mentorship program and the buddy system will reinforce the assignee’s feeling that he is accepted within the organization and is part of a larger community.
  3. Create a  space where cultural diversity is accepted, respected, and honored. While he feels that he is part of the company, he also retains a strong connection to his home. That connection will help address some of his doubts, loneliness, and even insecurities during his first few months. Regions like Northern California have many ethnic communities and cultural activities that you can bring him to chill, outside of office hours. Partners like California Corporate Housing are more than happy to re-design his accommodations according to his unique heritage, history, and other cultural inclinations.