A recent survey by ECA concluded that multinational organisations are struggling to convince talent to take on international assignments. For many potential expats, family-related challenges are a leading concern. Many partners are unsure of how an international assignment will affect their career.
These are not new trends. They’re enduring ones. A decade ago, I recall seeing other surveys that drew the same conclusions. Experts wondered then, as they do now, why this topic, acknowledged by so many, can’t be more effectively addressed. But from our perspective, there’s a large elephant in the room.
Focus remains on work
Yes, this globalised world may be moving faster than ever but potential expats today still have the same fundamental concerns. They still need assurances – and guidance. But it’s clear from speaking with GM/HR executives that many organisations believe this ‘assurance’ should primarily focus on finding work for the expat partner.
Is it practical?
The logic would appear to be: if expat partners believe they can find work, the expat will more willingly embark on an assignment, and, once gainfully employed, they will more likely remain overseas, contributing to a successful assignment. But not everyone is work oriented, and joining the workforce is not always possible. In some cases, even if it’s possible, it might not be practical.
The human factor
Furthermore, in this digital age, encouraging expat partners that they can work remotely more easily than ever before, is far too convenient. At Global Connection, we never start the conversation by telling an expat partner to make sure they have a solid internet connection. First and foremost, we look at the ‘human factor’. What are the partner’s drivers? What are their reasons for working? What restrictions / opportunities are in play? Are there other paths they wish to explore?
We do this because we believe no ‘one size fits all’ approach could ever prove effective across a diverse range of expats across a varied number of cultures. That’s why, for over 25 years, we’ve been proud to offer individualised support that best suits an expat partner’s particular circumstances. Wherever they’re going, our members are stepping out of their comfort zone. We’re here to help them start this new chapter in life, not fearing for their careers, but considering the opportunities that lie ahead.