The rise of globalization has opened a door for many new business challenges and opportunity. As a result the need for individuals hired to send on international assignments has taken a rise. This essay will discuss about what is an expat assignments and its importance in the globally competitive world. There are many factors which are needed to be considered to successfully complete an expat assignment. There are various potential risk involved that can contribute in the expat failure and affect then long term growth of an organization (PWC, 2009). The various issues are discussed. The problem doesn’t end here even after an organization successfully complete their expat assignments; the employees find it very difficult returning back.
The essay discusses about the concept of repatriation and issues involved in it. The common issues are hiring and training the right individual, unable to understand the job fit, lack of planning, cultural issues, family stress etc. After overcoming all the expatriate assignment issues and implement the program successfully a well-managed repatriate assignment is also necessary. There are four stages of a repatriation process: Preparing, physical relocation, transition and readjustments. There are certain issues as well arising out of this process which can affect the performance of a potential employee at the workplace (Rahim, 2010).
International assignments in any organization gives an opportunity to the employee’s to exploit an opportunity of a career progression and an attractive pay package. It also enables the company to transfer their valuable human resource to the strategic business unit situated in other country in order to exploit their knowledge at the required place (Rees & Edwards, 2017). These assignments are of a longer durations and once they are completed the expats are sent back to the home country, to resume their workplace responsibilities (Laine, 2013).
Individual who are going on expat assignment are facing issues such as cultural inflexibility, they are not able to adjust in the new professional and personal environment. Sometimes the family members of the employees working environment doesn’t feel a sense of belongingness in the new country, they may find it difficult to survive as a result they create pressure to return back to the host country.
Repatriation refers to the homecoming of an expat after successfully completing their international assignments. Returning back to the home country is not always seen as a welcomed experience as the expatriate assignments are of a longer duration, during their stay individuals get well aware about their culture and they may not find it difficult to adjust in the home culture. If the repatriation process is not executed well, the organization may lose their valuable employees (Mulkeen, 2013). There are four faces of repatriation process which includes:
Preparation: This is the first stage of repatriation in which an individual is planning their return from their actual return. This include getting discharge from all the duties and responsibilities of the host country organizations. Making plans for adjusting into the new corporate environment. The individual inquires about his role their role and position in the organization. In this stage the organization should provide the expat with an advisor who can help them to analyze their requirements and expectation from moving to the home country (Esarey & Haslberger, 2004).
Physical Relocation: After the preparation step, this step includes actually relocating to the home country. Though an individual belong to that country but during expatriation they may not be aware about certain changes in the socio cultural and political environment. The individual finally settles everything in the host country and travel back again. This stage may be very difficult emotionally and psychologically for the expat as they have to say final goodbye to the place and people who were a part of their lives (Aswathappa & Dash, 2008).
Transition: This is the phase in which an expatriate explore their home country and find accommodation if necessary, schooling and other facilities necessary for their families. Many a times individual engage relocation consultants to help them out with the necessary arrangements.
Readjustments: Readjustment stage requires the expat to cope up with the changes in the environment of the home country. They may experience reverse cultural shock. Factors that lead to reverse cultural shock are pressure of adapting the home country culture after being adjusted with the host country culture for a long time, change of workplace environment and unable to identify with any similarity of the home country as compared to the host country. This may have a huge impact on the emotional and mental status of an individual (Dowling, Festing & Engle, 2013). They may not find themselves socially fit, as a result they may leave the organization and find some other opportunity in the previous host country (State.Gov, 2017).
There are many issues that an individual faces during the process repatriation. Many companies only focus on the process of expatriation. After the expatriation, repatriation remains an unplanned process which may have an impact on the productivity of the employees. During the expat assignment duration, the individual may have learnt or acquired new skills or knowledge. But once the expat assignments are completed they are sent back to the same position in the home country. As a result the growth becomes stagnant. Another issue is that the expat package contain monetary and non-monetary benefit which they may not receive in home country. Even if the company calls them back they do not put nay efforts in order to help the employees to fit back in the organization (Medatwal, 2014).
These factors may lead to employee’s attrition. After investing so much time, energy and knowledgeable resource if the employee decided to leave, it may cost the company money and time invested in the career enhancement (Nikolaeva, 2010).
The successful process of repatriation is the responsibility of the HR of the organization, if the process is not carried out right a company may lose a talented individual who is unable to adjust in the home country environment. The steps that can be taken by the HR are:
This assignment discussed about the expatriation assignment which refers to transferring of skills and expertise of human resource at the required place. Though globalization has led to the requirement of more expats, the right individual is necessary who can fulfill the performance gap in the organization of the host country. It is a very expensive and time consuming process. In order to exploit the talent to achieve desired goals and objectives of the organization. In order to do that the management should consider issues involved in such assignments.
Sending the expats and training them to fit in the culture of new workplace isn’t all. The organization have the responsibility of successfully carrying out the repatriate process so that the employees can happily return to their home country and resume their workplace responsibilities. The issues faced by an individual during the repatriate process are reverse cultural shock, difference in salary and incentive package etc. In order to successfully carry the expatriation process for the growth of the country in the international market both expatriation and repatriation process is important.
Aswathappa, K. & Dash, S., 2008, International Human Resource Management, Retrieved from https://books.google.co.in/books?id=I0jO7dzlj24C&pg=PA256&lpg=PA256&dq=transition+stage+repatriation&source=bl&ots=TP7dv7kcMa&sig=hU50os29yo5t42xnc5627nh3xAk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiY3LSK3OPTAhXLqI8KHbQZDmcQ6AEIQTAE#v=onepage&q=transition%20stage%20repatriation&f=false on 9 May 2017.
Dowling, J.P., Festing, M. & Engle, D.A., 2013, International human resource management, Cengage Learning, London. Pp. 400.
Laine, R., 2013,IMPORTANT FACTORS FOR EXPATRIATE SUCCESS, Retrieved from https://publications.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/56864/TUAS_Thesis_Laine_R.pdf on 9 May 2017.
Medatwal, C., 2014, Repatriation management: An Overview, Pacific Business Review International, Retrieved from https://www.pbr.co.in/March2014/5.pdf on 9 May 2017.
Mulkeen, D., 2013, Steps companies can take to ease the repatriation process. Retrieved from https://www.trainingjournal.com/articles/feature/steps-companies-can-take-ease-repatriation-process on 9 May 2017.
Nikolaeva, G.T., 2010, The Challenges of Expatriation & Repatriation, Retrieved from https://pure.au.dk/portal/files/11038/the_challeges_of_expatriation_and_repatriation.pdf on 9 May 2017.
PWC, 2009, International assignment perspectives Critical issues facing the globally mobile workforce, Retrieved from https://www.pwc.com/us/en/hr-international-assignment-services/assets/ia-perspectives-v4.pdf on 9 May 2017.
Rahim, A.S., 2010, Repatriation Issues Relating to Expatriate Managers: A Critical Review, ASA University Review, Retrieved from https://www.asaub.edu.bd/data/asaubreview/v4n2sl18.pdf on 9 May 2017.
Rees, C. & Edwards, T., 2017, International human resource management : globalization, national systems and multinational companies, Pearson, England. Pp. 379.
State. Gov., 2017, Reverse Culture Shock - Reverse Culture Shock, Retrieved from https://www.state.gov/m/fsi/tc/c56075.html on 9 May 2017.
Thomas, K., 2016, 7 ways HR can help employees repatriate, Retrieved from https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=a43a5c9f-4cab-4548-be86-02373176abc1 on 9 May 2017.
SHRM., 2012, Repatriation: How can my company best retain repatriated employees?, Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/hr-qa/pages/howcanmycompanybestretainrepatriatedemployees.aspx on 9 May 2017.
AMA., 2014, Welcome Home! 7 Tips for Successful Repatriation, Retrieved from https://playbook.amanet.org/welcome-home-seven-tips-for-successful-repatriation/ on 9 May 2017
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