Assignee Wellbeing: A Duty of Care

An international relocation brings change in every sense of the word. Discovering a new country and culture is often exciting, however alongside this exploration is the loss of almost everything familiar to assignees. From big issues such as language and isolation to everyday tasks such shopping or commuting assignees face a lot of pressure…


During – and since – the pandemic, many employees work remotely or to a hybrid work pattern. Duty of care policies need to recognise that many employees are not visibly in a work location each day, ensuring individuals working remotely are safe and well. 

AXA’s World of Work Mind Health report states that 50% of employees relocating to start a new role in a different country feel the biggest impact to their mental health is at the start of their assignment. Before the risks and remedies are looked into, it’s important to remember that 46% of assignees said that international working has positively impacted their mental health. International relocations offer big benefits to both assignees and organisations. The essential ingredient to success is the duty of care provided throughout the relocation process.

How can international relocation providers help with employers’ duty of care?

  1. Firstly, companies providing relocation services must be aware of the DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) issues involved with the host country. The recent BGRS survey showed that “78% of companies consider DEI to be the most relevant aspect of corporate social responsibility to their mobility strategies.” Gender, LGBTQ+ and issues regarding ethnicity, race and religion dictate that specific support is required. This should be tailored to host destinations and individual assignees. (Read our article: Supporting DEI in International Relocations.)
  2. A bespoke relocation support package ensures that assignees can access the support they need. From visa/immigration co-ordination and cultural and language training through to help with finding a home – planning ahead with pre-assignment support is reassuring to assignees and helps them to become productive faster in their new role as they settle into their new location more quickly.
  3. Tailored support upon arrival helps assignees integrate into their new country and work culture, reducing the mental stress of their relocation. This goes beyond the destination services offered by international relocation companies. Employers have a responsibility to help international assignees integrate into their new roles, adapting processes and resources to assist those new to both the country and their role.

Integrating duty of care via agile assignee support

A truly effective relocation package is tailored to each assignee whilst meeting client requirements. A degree of agility is essential in ensuring compliance issues (tax, immigration, legal requirements) are met as well as risks acknowledged (safety and security). The latter aspect can involve issues such as healthcare or transportation standards within the host country.

Detailed knowledge of the destination is essential, together with a flexible approach from employers to allow assignee support to be truly tailored. BTR’s global network of proven partners ensures first-hand understanding of important issues to consider within each location (and experience of managing these factors).

Knowing the key issues and information involved enables truly agile assignee support to be created, combining duty of care and support services adapted to the requirements of the assignee and location involved.

Do you manage your organisation’s workforce mobility programme?

Are you keen to ensure that ‘duty of care’ is integrated into every international relocation?

Enjoy an initial discussion with the friendly BTR experts.  There’s no obligation involved, only professional advice and inspiring ideas. Let’s talk.

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