According to a 2014 InterNations survey, the spouses of only five per cent of people who have relocated to foreign countries for business were fortunate enough to enroll in language courses. It’s a strikingly low number, considering how important these classes can be for a successful integration into a new environment. Additionally, only three percent of these spouses indicated that they received any type of assistance with obtaining their visa, finding a job, and applying for a work permit.
These findings highlight an elemental problem that often leads to a failed relocation. Employers rarely take efforts to ease the moving process for the partners of the employees they are relocating. Employers should always include a transferee’s family members in the relocation process by communicating directly with them, and not only with their transferee.
Here are three important steps for HR departments that greatly improve the relocation experience for a transferee’s family:
- Make available to the transferee’s spouse all the relocation information in the company’s possession so that he/she has the opportunity to play a role in defining the relocation. As the transferee is in discussions about the terms of the contract, his or her partner can coordinate other moving activities for the family.
- HR should pay particular attention to the human, rather than the financial, side of relocation so that the relocating members feel supported as individuals, rather than numbers.
- HR should always view the accompanying spouse as an integral part of the relocation process. With this in mind, it is critical that the HR staff members who are administering the relocation discus directly with the transferee’s spouse, rather than having the transferee serve as an intermediary between his/her partner and HR. Otherwise, it could be the perception that HR is only interested in whether the family will stay in its home country or relocate as well. Without this direct discussion the relocation becomes much more likely to fail.
Careful and compassionate management of a transferee’s family is the cornerstone of a successful relocation. Taking time to fully integrate family members who are close to your transferee into the relocation process will help create a climate of trust in a time of high stress. A well-informed significant other can even become a positive motivating force, who will help get the relocation going quickly and smoothly. He or she may even be able to persuade a prospective transferee to take the plunge and agree to move. On the other hand, if a significant other doesn’t feel as though he or she has been sufficiently included in the process, it can lead to a refusal by an employee, or an unproductive relocation term that ultimately ends in failure.
From all of us at Settle-in.com, we hope these tips help you create a successful relocation for your transferee’s family!
Learn more about how Settle-in.com can help you successfully relocate your transferees by visiting our website.