How HEINEKEN strives to empower each expat partner’s journey

We asked Andrew McSkimming – Global Mobility Advisor at HEINEKEN to tell us more about the multinational’s revamped partner support program, which came into effect on January 1, 2023.

Competitive edge

For many years HEINEKEN has remained a pioneer for partner support, periodically adapting a program that helps partners achieve their professional and personal goals in more than 70 locations around the world. “In an ever-changing world, an effective support policy must also move with the times. We are constantly listening to feedback and considering how we can tailor the program to our population,” says McSkimming. “That’s how we will continue to recruit top talent and combat attrition.”

Increased flexibility

“Drafting the latest overhaul of the partner support program was an intense, exciting two-year journey for us. Inevitably the pandemic brought so many discussions about mobility to the front of the table. In particular, we recognised there was a need for greater flexibility,” says McSkimming. “So whether an expat partner wants to find a job or set up a business, speak to a coach or learn a language, pursue a passion / hobby and work on self-development, they will be able to choose from a suite of options and, if they choose, receive guidance from Global Connection.”

A shared journey

“Compared to just 10 years ago, when HEINEKEN last revamped the program, we have an even more diverse population of expats and partners. More dual career families, more male partners, more blended families, not to mention different age groups, all of whom are relocating to an eclectic mix of cities across five continents. So inclusivity was another key element for our restructured approach. We also recognise that younger partners (i.e. Gen Z) view expatriation as a shared journey – the days of the ‘trailing spouse’ are long gone! So with Global Connection very much involved in discussions, we set out to create a new package that not only supports each and every partner – no matter what their race, gender, sexuality or religion is – but also empowers their journey.”

All about people

“I lived as an expat child myself, in the Middle East and Zimbabwe; I remember how my father’s company took such good care of my mother and what a difference that made to her well-being. In that sense, you could say nothing has changed. Ultimately, mobility is still all about people. If the expat partner feels happy, the assignment will succeed. We believe our revamped program is a persuasive and comprehensive package that will meet the expectations of today’s partners, enabling them to relocate and thrive as expats.”