Earlier this week, I chaired the Fundamentals of International Assignments stream at the Forum for Expatriate Management’s (Employee Benefits’ sister business) London Roadshow.
Now, I’ve been in the benefits industry for more than 12 years (it’s scary how quickly time flies!) and have often written about international benefits issues, but, listening to speakers in these sessions was the first time I’ve really considered what it really means for employees to relocate overseas.
I’ve often thought that I might like to live overseas for a year or two – somewhere a bit sunnier with a little less rain would be ideal – but listening to some of the considerations expats have to take into account really brought home to me how emotive relocation can be for employees and their families.
We often hear about many employees, particularly from younger generations, actively seeking out roles that enable them to live and work overseas, but this can be a daunting experience. In many cases, it will mean uprooting their families and transplanting them in an unfamiliar environment without the support of family and friends. The need for this support will often fall to employers and the benefits they offer.
This got me thinking about what it would take for me to feel comfortable about making such a move. Housing and removal services aside, at the very least, I’d need to call upon the services of a pet removal specialist (I couldn’t leave a key member of the family behind!) and local area guide to show me all the local hotspots.