Repatriation is a far more complex subject than merely arranging for the physical return of the expatriate family. Capitalizing on the skill and experience of repatriating employees is an enormous challenge—one that any global company faces.
Why is that? In part, the defection rate among repatriating employees is growing, creating an increasingly disturbing problem for global managers and their companies. But the successful reintegration of employees returning from expatriate assignments is crucial for several reasons:
· They add invaluable knowledge to the global wisdom of a company,
· They help broaden the general global awareness of a business, and
· They serve as role models and mentors for other potential expats.
In fact, many potential expatriates consider how the above factors will impact their career when deciding whether to take the international assignment in the first place.
But, unfortunately, many companies lack good repatriation programs. This means few returning expatriates receive the support they need to successfully reintegrate, develop their careers, and benefit their organizations.
Here are seven best practice tips to help make sure your repatriates get the support they need:
1. Discuss challenges of repatriation before departure to help mitigate the psychological stress and reverse culture shock of returning home.
2. Offer a scalable eLearning module that addresses the challenges and best practices for repatriation.
3. Offer a facilitated counseling session that incorporates career development within the first month of repatriation. This can help repats reintegrate into their organization, while offering ways to use their newfound knowledge to grow.
4. Create a mentorship program to match returning repats with outbound expats, and to match returning repats with other repats.
5. Educate receiving managers on the challenges of repatriation so they can help support the reentry process.
6. Find and plan for positions and activities that capitalize on a repat’s global skillset, such as a globally-focused job role or an opportunity to speak at an event.
7. Provide support for a repat’s partner/spouse and children, because the return home is often just as hard—if not harder—for them.
Good support programs aren’t just important for the repatriated employee, they make good business sense for the company. Think about it: if one of the primary challenges facing a global corporation is finding suitable talent, then keeping repatriated employees positive about their international experience, allowing them room to grow, and helping them become a role model for other employees is a vital step toward a solution.
If you’ve been a repatriate, what support were you in most need of upon return to your home country? What do you recommend organizations do?