Negotiating expatriate packages

Employees taking on relocation assignments do need remuneration that reflects increased responsibilities and cost-of-living concerns, but HR may find itself pouring cold water on unrealistic salary expectations.
By Lionel Laroche
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/04/2003

Expatriate assignments are challenging times for employees and their families — so expatriates expect to be compensated well.

In addition, the experiences of other expatriates (who may have bought a large house or a nice cottage upon return from a foreign assignment) raise expectations. These expectations can run very high. One senior technician, who was going on a six-month assignment to Mexico, hoped that he could take early retirement upon his return.

In many cases, managing such expectations is the responsibility of human resources professionals. They need to balance the genuine need for good salary and benefits for individuals (very few people want to go abroad just for the experience, so some form of financial incentive is generally required) with the financial needs of a corporation. HR practitioners also need to set up expatriate assignments so that they can become win-win situations for both the company and the individual, both short term and long term.