Your assignee has all of their paperwork done, visas are approved and plane tickets bought. In just a few short days, they’ll be on their way to your company’s office in Singapore, halfway across the globe. You’ve done everything you can to help prepare them for their big move, but what happens once they’ve settled in to their new role?
As an HR manager, it’s your responsibility to keep up with assignees while they’re living and working abroad. But when you’re dealing with people dispersed all over the world, how do you stay in touch with someone whose waking hours directly coincide with your prime sleep time? Here are a few tips to help you juggle assignees that live in different time zones:
Set a schedule
Moving to an entirely different country is a big adjustment for assignees. Between culture shock and language barriers, it may take some time for them to grow comfortable in their new home and role at work. Staying regularly connected in the beginning stages of the assignment is important to track your employee's progress, but it can be difficult due to the time difference. To avoid missed meetings and phone calls, set a weekly scheduled time to connect. Because you have multiple assignees to manage, blocking these calls either in the early morning or late evening can make this easier on your schedule. A 9am time for you is early but doable, and your assignee in Hanoi will be able to connect right as they finish their dinner at 8pm.
Do more than just email
For assignees located on the opposite end of the globe, communicating with them via email might seem like the easiest option. But a couple of emails over the course of a week just isn’t going to cut it. Luckily, communication technology has gotten better and more robust over the years. Now, the options for getting in touch with those assignees in remote locations are better than ever.
When you find yourself in need of a face-to-face meeting with an assignee, connect with them via Skype or Google Hangouts. If either of these options are glitchy or unstable (which may be the case if you or your assignee has a weak internet connection) GotoMeeting is also a great video chatting option. If you need to send them a quick, urgent message, use WhatsApp for international texting. Check out our post on the best apps to streamline communication for more!
Use collaborative tools
Working with assignees across the globe is a challenging task, but you’re an HR superstar: we know you’re up for it. One of the key ways to help your assignee stay in touch with you and work well with others on their team is by implementing collaborative tools to help everyone on your team collaborate remotely. Tools like Evernote, Google Drive and Dropbox allow for your team in South Africa to collaborate with your stateside team in Atlanta to easily share notes, documents and files from anywhere in the world. Not only does this help you to keep in contact with your far-flung assignees wherever they are but it’s a great way to encourage collaboration with others. Consider starting a Google doc with you, your assignee and their old boss to help streamline their replacement process at home, or encourage them to start a running list of vocabulary they can share with you from their desktop.
Still having trouble juggling assignees in multiple countries, especially those with families? Check out our white paper, Supporting Successful Family Relocation, to ensure that you’re providing them with the support they need to succeed anywhere in the world.