Life abroad, while exciting, also can feel isolating for many international transferees. This is a big deal. Failed domestic assignments are costly, averaging $76,000. Throw in the international element and you can imagine how much higher that number grows.
One of the biggest complaints from international transferees is that they struggle with acclimating themselves to their new country - which makes them feel all the more isolated, compounding the problem. Fortunately, new online tools are helping expats everywhere stay informed and connected.
Here are some of the best examples of those for your employees to get the most out of what should be an exciting opportunity:
- Instant messaging apps: Communicating over different time zones can be difficult. The answer? Instant messaging apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp. No longer a texting tool for teens, expats are relying on them more and more to keep up with friends and family back home. Both platforms offer the ability to send “stories” that can help you update multiple transferees who might prefer these messages over email on company news, adding a potentially useful internal communication element to it.
- The Wall Street Journal’s Expat Section: The Wall Street Journal blog “Expat” has become the go-to source for articles about life as an expat. New laws and regulations, personal challenges, country spotlights – it’s all there, updated daily. Have employees working in countries where access to a website like WSJ is unreliable? The site editors send out a weekly recap via WhatsApp for the same reasons listed previously.
- UniGroup international living portal: Many of the issues international transferees face are universal ones – getting visas, making sure you have the right vaccinations, etc. UniGroup’s online international moving guide offers helpful links to all of those topics, giving your employees 24/7 access to this information – freeing you up to focus on your other responsibilities.
- Need more tailored assistance? UniGroup also provides a service called its Online International Relocation Center, which provides transferees more in-depth tools such as travel alerts, task lists specific to international moves and other resources. Access to the page is limited to UniGroup clients, but if you think this could be a helpful resource for your company, just let us know.
Whether it’s reading an article about a challenge they’re facing or getting more regular updates from the company on their phone, these new online tools can go a long way toward helping your international transferees feel less alone during their assignment.
Need help beyond what we’ve identified in the post? Let us know and our international team can help determine the best relocation strategy for your company.