Pitfalls and red flags in international relocation (Web Sight)

Expat myths dispelled, and the trials of the trailing spouse • Expatriate resources • Rookie stories and lessons learned • The dual-career issue •
By Shannon Simson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/28/2004

Any relocation is a huge adjustment for employees and their families. International relocation is especially stressful, and if not handled properly on all fronts, could turn into a costly disappointment for both the employee and the organization. These sites offer insights, advice and other resources on international relocation and expatriate management.

Expat myths dispelled, and the trials of the trailing spouse

www.expat.or.id/info/mythsofexpatlife.html

This article is an excellent reference for managers or anyone else looking for insight into what relocation stresses and challenges employees and their families (and consequently employers) endure. It dispels many common myths. The author relates her story of becoming a “trailing spouse” when her husband was relocated to Paris for a year, and “the realities of moving our four-year-old son, my consulting practice, and university teaching work to another country.” She outlines six common myths held by employers: Western Europe is not as difficult to move to; allowances and premiums should solve most problems; the best and the brightest can handle anything; global companies give expatriates appropriate support from the home office; language skills are optional for the family; and the trailing partner leaving behind an established career will adjust. Beyond this, she outlines several ways to offer expatriates some real support.

Expatriate resources

www.escapeartist.com

This site is a great resource for all kinds of information on living, relocating and working overseas. For employees and relocation managers, it offers country profiles, real estate and rental information for numerous countries, worldwide moving companies, a number of expatriate magazines and articles, embassies information and tons of other great references. A really valuable site.

Rookie stories and lessons learned

www.runzheimer.com/pow/pdf/70RR14.pdf

Runzheimer International offers this monthly newsletter on all aspects of relocation. This particular issue features an article on the rookie experiences of two seasoned international relocation consultants. They share their personal stories and offer insight and lessons-learned on managing international relocations and expatriate affairs. They discuss some of the hidden (as well as the more obvious) roles of the international relocation manager, and look at topics including what skills are required, the role of stress manager, the importance of communication and more. The article is from 2001, but the content is still highly relevant.

The dual-career issue

www.the-impact-group.com/who/article/RA0011.HTM

This article covers issues for couples struggling to manage two careers when one half of the couple is asked to relocate. The article states, “organizations might as well face it: The dual-career issue is not going to go away. In survey after survey, dual-career issues are identified as a key reason first-choice candidates turn down international assignments.” It proposes ways that organizations can help to accommodate the spouse in avoiding a major career-interruption and provide career-planning support. The author states that, “if an organization wants to protect and capitalize on its investment in global assignment, it needs to address the needs of the whole family in its international relocation policy.”

Shannon Simson is Canadian HR Reporter’s resource editor. Her Web Sight column appears regularly in the CloseUp section. To share an interesting HR website, contact shannon.simson@thomson.com.

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