How Assignees Are Adjusting to New Recruitment Reality

One of our blogs had discussed the importance of creating a culture of care for employees and assignees, especially during these troubled times. Despite the hundred-mile distance formed by work-from-home scenarios, they have to be able to feel and sense that the organization—and the global mobility manager supervising them—actually care for them and their well-being. 

That kind of confidence can do wonders for morale and even encourage them to perform optimally, fighting the intense insecurity and anxiety that might be weighing them down. If, at any minute they suspect that their leaders view them as mere cogs in a machinery that can be easily removed, especially for cost reasons, the demoralization that sets in can dampen their spirits and cause their own work to deteriorate.

Right now, Silicon Valley has been quiet when it comes to recruitment. Before the pandemic, it’s not unusual to get phone calls every hour or so. These days, many companies are not in a hurry to fill up vacancies. 

For companies that are still hiring, they know how much they need to offer authentic care to assignees who are being relocated. After all, these new hires are leaving their homes for the first time to immerse themselves in a new, different culture. 

They can also be current assignees who are being moved to another destination with its own unique set of challenges and difficulties. Both kinds of assignees at this point in time do have economic insecurities that have to be addressed. 

Questions in assignees’ minds

One thing that the global mobility manager must realize is that relocation in these COVID-19 times comes with a lot of stress. 

It is hard to believe that, only a year ago, those same assignees—new and regular—would have seen the relocation as an adventure to be embraced. However, today that transfer happens under a dark cloud of uncertainty. Verbalized or not, assignees will be asking themselves the following questions:

How extensive is the spread of coronavirus in the new assignment, and how safe will they be?  Will insurance cover his or her expenses in case they do catch the virus? Will catching the virus mean they would have to be let go by the company? Where do they confine themselves in case they have to undergo quarantine? How much financial reserves does the company still have, and do they still have enough resources for the assignee to accomplish his or her tasks? 

Given economic constraints, how much adjustment do assignees have to make when it comes to accommodations and other expenses? Can their family enjoy the same benefits? How long will this assignment last—or can it be cut anytime?

Here are three tips that globility managers can adopt to allay these concerns:

Health and medical concerns should be prioritized 

There is no going around this, says CapRelo. Until a vaccine is found and mass-produced, safety as well as reduced exposure to the coronavirus is paramount in the assignee’s mind. It intensifies especially if their family is with them during this assignment. A health care compensation package is essential and should be included in their compensation, regardless of  other cost-cutting measures that the company is doing. 

But that in itself is not enough. The global mobility manager should also diligently check if the hospitals, health centers, and other medical establishments in the areas where the assignee is being relocated to do have the proper equipment, infrastructure, medical staff, and doctors who can handle all kinds of medical conditions as well as emergencies.

Securing accommodations

The next thing that the global mobility manager should make and that the assignee will need to feel secure about is their accommodations. The assignee who is being transferred to a new location should be made aware that their new home will not be taken away from them any time soon. The organization will honor its contract with the property developer that is leasing the accommodation to the assignee. 

Tax breaks and loan extensions

Many governments and banks have given tax breaks to organizations as economic reprieve during COVID-19. Banks and other financial institutions have also extended loan deadlines. Finances will be heavily weighing on the assignee’s mind, and the spectre of uncertainty will grow larger as they move to another place. How much of his current tax will now eat into their income, during the crisis? Will they have enough money to pay off loans or credit card debts?

Every cent and dollar do matter at this particular juncture in our history. To help lighten some of the assignee’s obligations, the global mobility manager can take a close look if some of their taxes can be reduced. With the help of the other managers in the organization, they might be able to persuade some of the banks they are partnered with to postpone the deadline of payment of the assignee’s loans, or perhaps remove the interest altogether for several months.

There is also another way to make this relocation financially advantageous to the assignee. Months prior to the transfer, the global mobility manager and the assignee can both study the cost of living in the new place and see where their earnings can be maximized. 

Would digital learning be more economical for the assignee’s children instead of sending them to international schools?  Are there ethnic culinary festivals that the assignee can visit to indulge their gastronomical delights, instead of blowing their money in posh restaurants? When it comes to shopping, where can the assignee find classy but not necessarily expensive items?

Of course, the assignee needs to be extra careful when it comes to going to crowded places, considering that there is no vaccine yet. Other than health security, economic security has always been at the forefront of everyone’s minds, especially assignees who are about to settle down in their new homes. 

COVID-19 and the instability it brings do not make the situation any easier. But with a bit of planning and foresight, relocation can become even more viable to the assignee—and perhaps help secure their future.