4 Critical Success Factors for International Relocations

Relocating an employee and their family to a new job in a different country offers exciting potential to the individuals and the company involved. However, 40% of international work assignments fail, with an estimated annual cost of 95,000 (HR C-Suite). With this sobering statistic in mind, its important to consider the issues that influence international…


What influences international relocation success?

1. Clear Communication

Living in a new country raises many issues for relocating employees and their families. It’s important to have open conversations from the very beginning of the relocation process. Offering pre-assignment information enables informed decisions to be made. Similarly, it’s crucial to listen to employees accepting an international assignment. Answering questions is an important way of allaying concerns and optimising the success of the relocation. Every person has different requirements, influenced by their personal circumstances and host destination. Understanding those needs and potential barriers at the very start of the relocation management process optimises success and employee retention.

2. Bespoke Wellbeing Support

70% of failed overseas work projects are caused by unhappy families (HR News). Employees and their families should feel valued and taken care of. Getting this right offers long-term cost savings as their well-being is essential to the success of relocations. It is vital, therefore, that spousal and family support is offered alongside employee help. For example, 75% of relocating couples are dual career. Spousal job opportunities must comply with destination requirements in the new host country, impacting issues such as:

  • how a spouse may settle in a new country,
  • the disposable income available to the family, and
  • choices of housing.

In addition, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) support can greatly influence assignment success. 78% of companies consider DEI to be the most relevant aspect of corporate social responsibility to their mobility strategies (BGRS). Bespoke support enables individuals to understand any DEI issues  that may affect themselves or an accompanying family member.

Isolation is a key factor influencing the success of relocations. Offering a support network involving colleagues and local social activities help relocating employees to settle more quickly, increasing the chance of relocation success.

3. The Right Training

Language and cultural training offer invaluable support to relocating employees and should be included within destination services packages.

HR News reports that: ‘In two separate surveys, global recruiters & HRs identified language and cultural skills as the most important factors in a successful overseas assignment. Without these core abilities, workers cannot hope to communicate properly with their colleagues and international clients, and, as a result, risk confusion, misunderstandings and even disrespectful practices.’

4. Assignee Selection

With the importance of language and cultural training, overseas assignees must have the skills required to learn and adapt. HR News explains: ‘A less experienced worker with advanced language skills and a knowledge of foreign cultures could be more valuable in an overseas assignment than an executive with decades of industry knowledge but no ability to overcome these barriers effectively.’ 

Relocating employees must demonstrate enthusiasm for their new assignment and a determination to drive success. These traits help individuals to maximise the success of their new role.


When managing international relocations, understanding the requirements of the employees and their families is of paramount importance. The right support alongside timely and easy communication can make the difference between a successful and unhappy relocation.

Talk to the relocation experts at BTR International. We strive to ensure that every client and their employees have an excellent relocation experience, delivered via our attention to detail and care. Contact us for an initial discussion without obligation. Let’s explore a better way to manage your relocations.

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