Many companies have been moving their services across the global sphere in recent years. Since the Covid 19 pandemic, there has been a noticeable shift in how companies operate globally. Despite all the challenges that come with it, growth is happening on the global front. Organizations are expanding across the globe.
However, the primary challenge for many is to build an effective workforce. Many companies’ HRMs are forced to adopt globally mobile employee strategies to cope with the rapid changes and maintain market competitiveness. However, moving and retaining the required talent where it’s needed most is a complex operation, especially in this era when competition for skilled and talented personnel is at its peak.
Tips for Managing Globally Mobile Employees
With all the challenges associated with managing mobile employees, human resource managers are mandated to ensure the successful management of expatriates to achieve the best outcome in terms of growth, succession, performance, retention, and leadership development. Is it possible to successfully manage this group of employees? This puzzle goes unanswered by most human resource managers. However, it is, and here are the ten tips that HR managers can adopt to make the demanding operations effective, efficient, and successfully manageable.
1. Thinking Ahead
HR personnel should think beyond the current business needs, especially when developing a talent strategy. They should explore the possibilities of their organizations to expand to other countries and create a strategy that can make talent acquisitions in those countries effective and manageable. Having a plan, a step ahead will reduce the chances of HR managers getting caught unprepared, leading to more confusion.
2. Matching Business Needs and Talents Required
This is very critical. Managers need to have sufficient knowledge concerning their global mobile employee programs. Having a critical understanding of the gap areas they need to fill will enable them to match the required talent and the business need. HR can use focus groups, markets researches, and interviews to get unbiased information. Also, they can analyze their current mobile employees’ program to identify its weaknesses and strength before making their final decisions.
3. Concentrate on Employees Who are Willing, Able, and Ready to Relocate.
Relocating is a process, and not everyone in the company would go for it. Additionally, selecting and recruiting mobile employees is a hectic process. A significant percentage are not willing to work outside their countries. However, according to PWC studies, 38% of employees are interested in working as expatriates, and 70% of millennials are ready and willing to take expatriate jobs. Human resources should recruit qualified people willing and prepared to take the mobile jobs opportunities and avoid wasting time and resources. Forcing people to take an expatriate position can be frustrating to employees involved and the business.
4. Critically Analysis of Expatriate Process
Talent transfer is an expensive process and involves a lot of managerial and legal procedures. According to Mercer, the cost of hiring a mobile expatriate can be three times more. And since every successful HR manager aims to cut costs while getting the best workforce in place, HRM needs to analyze the expatriate processes and cost options and pick what works best for the company and the mobile employees. With a well-analyzed expatriate process, human resource managers can make necessary arrangements for mobile employees and offer relevant support and guidance to expatriates like getting insurance covers from Expat Financial who offer insurance covers for expatriates. Support and guidance are essential in settling expatriates in their host country.>
5. Keeping in Touch
Frequent communication with the expatriate is essential. It allows managers to track employees’ progress. However, managers should organize with employees how to communicate effectively, the means to use, and when. Communication keeps HR personnel updated about schedules, work-related challenges, and expectations. Also, it strengthens employees’ connection to their roles and the company. However, too much oversight can show employees signs of mistrust. If expatriates meet their goals and deadlines, there is no need for too much oversight.
6. Managers Need to be Good Listeners
Justin Hale, a training researcher and designer at VitalSmarts, Provo, said, “The most successful managers are good listeners, communicate trust and respect, inquire about workload and progress without micromanaging, and err on the side of over-communicating.” A human resource manager needs to be a good listener. Listen to expatriate concerns, and respond accordingly. Good listening enables managers to respond appropriately and reduce conflict between the two parties. It enhances collaboration and teamwork.
7. Adopt a Flexible Global Mobility Policy
A lot is required from an employer sending employees on an expatriate assignment. The employment laws, taxes, immigration, and other legality requirements need to be met. The process can be time-consuming and costly to the company if done wrongly. However, with a global mobility policy that integrates all these requirements, the process becomes more effective and efficient for HR managers—reducing the inconveniences.
8. Give Employees Necessary Allowances
Working away from home can be challenging and sometimes expose employees to hardships. Many challenges and tribulations in a host country cause can be demotivating. Therefore, human resource managers can keep their expatriates motivated by giving them extra allowances. A good compensation package will motivate employees, and nothing makes managers work easier and more manageable than working with motivated employees.
9. Celebrate Success
Managers should celebrate expats’ successes. Being away from the office should not hinder what has been celebrated in the office not to be celebrated when operating away from the office. Celebrating employees’ achievements is a way of showing recognition and keeping the connection going. Whether local or expatriates, employees feel appreciated and motivated when their management recognizes their achievements. A celebration can express it in different ways, including giving rewards, writing an appreciation note, etc.
10. Repatriate the Right Way
How the expatriate contract is brought to an end means a lot in HRM success. Most companies do not take repatriation seriously, which frustrates the expatriate, feeling like their selfless effort abroad was not well appreciated. According to HBR (2016) research, 25% of returned expatriates resign their jobs after their return, while 61% feel out of place can repatriate by doing something good for the expatriates like giving them a holiday, paid leaves, and taking them through a training session to reintroduce them to the work system-this will reduce their turn over rates and feeling displaced.
Bonus Tip – Remember Insurance to Help Meet your Duty of Care
We would be remiss if we didn’t state the obvious that your organization takes on a great responsibility when sending employees abroad on short or long term assignments. Your duty of care is all the more vital for expatriate employees, so global mobility managers must obtain a comprehensive global benefit program to cover the employees both locally and globally. Such international group insurance plans should include:
- International health insurance coverage
- Expat life insurance
- Medical evacuation
- Accident and disability coverage
- Telehealth & EAP
And often other supplementary coverages such as kidnap & ransom and crisis care. While it may seem like your firm needs to get the least expensive plan available or talk to your local broker, but expat talent is not easy to obtain and retain, so make sure you obtain the best possible coverage for your global workforce being posted abroad.
Final Notes for Global Mobility Managers
Human resource managers need to be more aggressive when recruiting expatriates and keener when managing the expatriate’s process and expatriates’ stay. An overlook in one area can make the process a failure and a significant loss to both the mobile employees involved and the company concerned. However, following the above tips can make the process easy, manageable, and successful.