Opinion, by Pia

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Here are the results of a study of ECA International (management and assignment of Employees around the world) conducted in 2006 in over 270 companies:

• 72 percent of the companies which answered the study said they had offered more long-term missions abroad during the last three years than the previous periods.

• Employers still coordinate a lot of their employees’ expatriation in emergency. With the negative consequences that arise after.

• Three-quarters of the companies do not yet take into account the non-technical criterias. For example, few of them arise questions about the candidate’s ability to learn a foreign language or integrate into a team with a culture different from theirs. Yet these are strategic points: 82 percent of companies use expatriates to manage the local teams.

• Those emergency recruitments also lead a majority of companies to neglect the evaluation of the family context, which is however one cause of failed missions (forty-one percent of total). Thus, only ten percent of companies which answered the study reported interviewing their employees’ spouses before expatriation. Half of the companies provides support once the family is in the host country, this in the form of financial assistance to compensate for the loss of a job, but also coaching and training (languages, new job …).

• Finally, the return of expatriates to their country of origin isn’t considered: 48 percent of the companies which answered this study said they prepare it only six months before the end of the mission of the employee. Only four percent said they consider these questions before the departure abroad. Tracking the careers of expatriates is often underestimated: one third of companies do not measure the proportion of employees who left the company two years after their return from abroad. These issues are nevertheless essential because it is the prospect of boosting their careers that motivates mostly for expatriation.

What I understand from this study, the research I’ve written about last week, the results of my own questionnaire for expatriate families and contacts I(ve had for fifteen years with expatriate families is that the vast majority of companies concentrate almost exclusively the expatriation preparation around one central issue: the job description of their employee.

Though the professional productivity of the employees would be so much higher and the percentage of return before the end of the contract significantly reduced if the expatriation was also thought in terms of maximizing the adaptability of the family of the employee.

In terms of recognition
• Of the specificity of the different phases of expatriation; before, during and after the move
• Of the family cell as a concern and a natural support for the employee
• Of the period of expatriation in the life project of each member of the family

Just obvious when one live or observe expatriate families, don’t you think?

Wishing you a beautiful day!

Pia Granjon Lecerf
Life coach


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