Family support: firmly on the relocation agenda

Relocating families on international assignments is a complex process. The Worldwide ERC’s Global summit addressed some of the common issues faced by relocation professionals moving staff around the world.

Family support: firmly on the relocation agenda
With family issues still the major cause for failed assignments, the Global Mobility: A Family Affair session at Worldwide ERC’s Global Workforce Symposium in Chicago proved to be popular.

Supporting partners in finding employment

As Andrew Walker, director, global mobility leader at Ernst & Young (EY), pointed out, now people are moving earlier in their careers and are dependent on dual incomes, there is general resistance to relocating because they can’t afford it. He highlighted some of the services that EY has in place to help the partner find employment.On the issue of support for same-sex couples, sometimes companies have to be creative in offering more home leave due to the immigration barriers that are often faced.Education is still a big challenge, and there is often strong competition for international school places. With the rise of single parents, it is worth providing more space allowance – a simple thing that can make a big difference.

Adding value to the assignee experience

EY’s approach is to try and add value to the assignee experience. Previously, Mr Walker explained, they saw more short trips where the employee would go out for a month, come back and then go again for six weeks. But this obviously changes the family dynamic and project workers wanted their families to accompany them. The firm discovered families appearing at the overseas location that they didn’t know about which creates a problem in terms of duty of care. Companies need to be vigilant of this.When asked what the next steps should be to address these issues, Mr Walker felt that from the corporate programme operator perspective, it was about creating more value to the family who want a ‘human’ experience rather than one that just involves an automated machine.
Related articles from the Winter 2017 issue of Relocate Magazine:
With each employee relocation, clearly an organisation has to analyse the return on investment (ROI) for their company but it is often about intentional outcomes such as acquired skills. Successful relocation of families – for example employee, partner and children – enables the employee to work productively from day one and supports the retention of the employee because the family is also happily settled.Showing its commitment to helping families relocate successfully, service supplier Dwellworks, for example, recently appointed an Experience Manager.Family support is clearly set to remain firmly at the top of the mobility agenda.
Relocate Magazine Winter 2017 front cover
Find out how boarding schools are moving with the times to meet demands from parents in the Winter issue of Relocate Magazine – out now!
For related news and features, visit our Education & Schools section. Look out for the launch of 2018's Relocate Awards, entries open in January. Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  © 2017. This article first appeared in the Winter 2017 edition of Relocate magazine, published by Profile Locations, Spray Hill, Hastings Road, Lamberhurst, Kent TN3 8JB. All rights reserved. This publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of Profile Locations. Profile Locations accepts no liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein.

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