Returning Home After Relocation
04 Oct 2023 | Barrie Gilmour, Director Client Experience
The international relocation process focuses heavily on helping assignees arrive and settle in their new host country as smoothly and quickly as possible. However, the overall relocation experience is also impacted by what happens once the assignment finishes, either as planned or early. Repatriation requires the same level of careful planning and communication as the rest of the international relocation process.
Research shows that 40% of international relocations fail (HR News), requiring repatriation support that’s quick to act and adapt to the circumstances involved. The reasons for relocation failure vary between families and single assignees. However, an ‘inability to adapt’ is a top reason given by both groups (IMPACT Group).
The reality is that returning home after an international relocation can be as stressful as the initial move to a new country. Organisations must plan and manage this phase carefully, protecting:
- the wellbeing of employees (and their families),
- the effectiveness of their corporate relocation policies, and
- staff turnover, as 25% of international assignees leave their employer within two years of returning home (HBR).
3 Tips for successful repatriations
1. Open communication
41% of assignees are uncomfortable or very uncomfortable asking for additional assistance for personal or emotional move-related challenges (IMPACT Group). Employers must, therefore, be proactive in offering repatriation support services, offering clear communication lines and obtaining assignee feedback about the support they - and their families – require.
2. Reverse culture support
Although assignees invariably return ‘home’ after an international relocation, the culture shock after a long time away can be daunting. Places have changed, people have moved on. ‘Reverse culture shock’ is common … and surprising for many employees. It creates a feeling of disconnect with what they expect to be familiar. Support with aspects such as home search may be required, for example.
3. Professional departure services
When managing an international relocation, service providers should offer genuinely bespoke solutions, meeting the needs of assignees and the organisation. A range of professional, relevant services should be available worldwide. Departure services at the end of an assignment are as crucial as destination services, influencing the overall success of the relocation.
“International assignments should include a planned repatriation process,” says Barrie Gilmour, Director Client Experience at BTR International. “Organisations often overlook this time of upheaval. Recognising the issues involved and providing the support needed can retain and utilise the international and business experience gained by assignees within the organisation.”
Do you organise relocation repatriation for your organisation? Talk to Barrie direct on +44 (0)7957 625 406. Enjoy an initial discussion without obligation.