How Traveling Can Keep your Assignees Motivated

Do travel perks apply to international assignees that have to stay put in their assigned work location? It’s like an oxymoron, but the question is certainly worth the scrutiny, if one considers how travel rewards are one incentive that can help in the retention of employees, and can be a perk that improves performance. That’s a question a global mobility manager can ask from their friendly colleagues at the human resource department.

After all, assignees are foreign nationals who often take months to settle down and acclimatize in their new region or country of employment, e.g. Silicon Valley or the U.S. During that period of adjustment, how would they feel about having to pack up (albeit temporarily) and take a long flight or road trip to another city, just to take a vacation?

One other factor to consider is that if they also have a spouse and/or kids staying with them. Obviously, these folks have to be fitted into the travel plans as, chances are, they can’t be left behind.

To begin with, even assignees will look for a change of pace or environment, after a year on the job. During their first year of employment, they might have confined their R & R to the nearest amusement park or museum, or cultural festivals.

After they have sampled what the state or city has to offer them, though, they would like want to see more than just their temporary housing. Assignees are travel bugs by nature; that’s one of the reasons why they are good at their job. Offering them a travel perk can also be hitting two birds with one stone. Use vacation time as a way for them to open their eyes and realize how a country like the United States is more than just a place for work, but as a place for them to extend their job contract.

It’s not unusual for them to explore other locations in two years’ time or even less, because most job contracts end by then.

If the current budget does not allow an individual assignee to experience a travel perk, one way to permit a bit of globe (or city) trotting is to physically and literally move the team away from the home office, under certain conditions.

The Delaware Business Times recommends holding the next annual corporate meeting or general assembly in a resort or beach front with plenty of time for fun activities like shopping, snorkeling, and surfing.

Once the official meetings are over, ask the help of the resort, travel agency or tourism board to take the entire group — with your assignees — on a day trip that will unveil the attractions in the location.

This approach will relax everyone, make the official meetings more collaborative and productive, and provide your assignees a break from their usual surroundings.

Finally, let’s not forget the assignee’s family in persuading them to do some city-hopping. Instead of looking at the additional work in including them, regard this family travel as an investment in the assignee’s education and motivation.

Their children can also benefit and further appreciate the cultural differences of their new country if the vacation happens outside the borders of their current home state or region.

To make all these travel arrangements fun and friendly, make it a collective effort. Make your assignee a partner and collaborator from day one. As Skift points out, current booking systems and tools can help all of you search and decide on destinations, accommodations, cruises, flight plans, and exciting itineraries.

The travel bug is a crucial part of your assignee’s DNA. Let them fly out of their comfort zone once in a while — and they will return home to your port.