When preparing for assignment, your employees are naturally thinking about visas, school enrollment for the kids, veterinarian visits, packing up the house and brushing up on their language skills. It can be overwhelming, but it’s also a very exciting time for your employees and their families. So let’s fiesta.
Here are our favorite outside-the-box ideas for streamlining the relocation process and getting your employees excited for the big move:
Celebrate their new culture.
A successful relocation process begins the minute your employee accepts their job abroad. Set up a cultural celebration and bring colleagues at your home office together to celebrate your employee’s move. Put together gift basket with staple items from their soon-to-be new country of residence. If your assignee is heading to Paris, put together a box of macarons, a copy of Remembrance of Things Past and an essential travel guide to the City of Light. If they’re off to Australia, Vegemite, Tim Tams and Twisties are sure to get them off on the right foot. Bringing the home office in on the celebration is a great way to show support for your relocating employee.
Host a welcome party.
What better way to follow up a going away party than with a welcome party? Collaborate with your overseas office to schedule a welcome party for your assignee and members of their family. Whether it’s a happy hour at the local Dublin pub or the nearest kneipe in Munich or dim sum in Hong Kong, getting people together to welcome their newest co-worker fosters a supportive environment from day one, helping to break the ice and get colleagues comfortable with one another from the start.
After relocation, encourage communication with colleagues back home.
Relocation is an adventure, and it’s important for your assignee to keep their friends and colleagues back home tuned in to all of the exciting things happening. Consider having your assignee write a short monthly email update about their experiences abroad or host a regular conference call simply to catch up on water cooler conversations. This will help your employee ease into the expat adjustment cycle and can even help ease the transition back home.
Present your cultural training as a requirement.
Rather than making cross-culture training an opt-in program, present it as a ‘must’ for assignees, and of course have them check out Mango Languages. If they see the program as an integral part of preparing for abroad, then they are more likely to leave for their next post feeling prepared, empowered and ready to take on a new culture. It’d be wise to stress the importance of their family joining them in the cultural trainings as well. As we’ve noted before, family is a key piece in relocation success.
What are some of the best “out-of-the-box” ideas you have for helping your assignees manage the transition?