Selling relocation used to be easier than this

Short-term assignments offer an alternative to employees who balk at a permanent relocation. Either way, good planning helps HR answer tough questions from employees considering an international assignment
By Donna Bergles and Robert Peterman
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/28/2004

Here is the kind of frustrating scenario that more and more organizations are facing when they need to send staff to work abroad:

“It’s an opportunity that most people would give their eye teeth for,” the HR manager said. “A chance to travel, a chance to experience a new country. And it would give your career a tremendous boost.”

The employee shook his head. “I’d like to but it’s just not going to work. There are too many complications — the kids, the house, my wife’s job…”

His voice trailed off. The HR manager looked at the young man, trying to gauge his reaction. After 25 years in human resources, he knew when to push and he knew when to back off.

“Why don’t you think about it?” he said. “Talk it over with your wife. Let me check out some options and we can take it up again next week.”

It’s a story being played out with increasing frequency in boardrooms and HR offices across the country. And the timing couldn’t be worse. Just when companies need as much flexibility and mobility as they can muster to compete in the global economy, employees are becoming increasingly reluctant to uproot themselves and their families in pursuit of the corporate dream.