NetExpat offers a range of results oriented and cost-effective services targeting mobile employees and their partners to help them during the whole life cycle of their relocation, from pre-departure to repatriation.

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Written by: Peter Hawthorne, Senior Consultant, NetExpat

In a recent survey only 10% of companies believe their Global Mobility policies were aligned with the strategic agenda of their organization. The remainder provided operational and administrative support for relocating staff.

When speaking to a group of Global Mobility professionals recently, none had reviewed their organization’s strategic workforce plan to see if their policies and processes aligned. If Global Mobility professionals wish to elevate their standing in their organization, the first task is to align their policies with the business strategy by asking these simple questions. What will be the key factors to identify? Who is considered Key Talent in the organization? How does that talent contribute to the success of their organization? What is the culture and capabilities required to best drive organizational improvement? How does leadership integrate the talent within the organization?

From there, start to engage your Talent and Leadership Development colleagues to discuss how Global Mobility can support their agenda. For instance:

  1. Overcome the challenges of a lack of intercultural awareness and its impact on the performance of the individuals involved
  2. Improve female acceptance of global assignments by offering Relocating Partner Support
  3. Identify the unique capability development acquired through cross border work e.g. cognitive complexity, which then requires building into the next role of the individual

Ultimately, by starting the debate with your HR colleagues and line managers, Global Mobility professionals are able to identify where cross border work of key talent adds value for their specific business.

Make sure to check out our latest Newsletter featuring contributions from GE, Discovery Communications, School Choice and EY:

  • Knowledge is Power - Don't Hide From Data
  • Female Talent, Returnships and the Glass Ceiling in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey
  • Global Mobility and Employee Experience at Discovery Communications
  • Improving the Odds: Tips for School Placement Success
  • Driving Intentional Outcomes at EY Global Mobility
  • And much more! 

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The ultimate success or failure of a core-flex mobility program is largely determined by its original intent. Core-flex programs developed exclusively for cost-savings, listing crucial policy elements as discouraged ‘flex options’ will inevitably fail. Conversely, thoughtfully identified core vs. flexible policy parameters, can add desired flexibility and empowerment to an international mobility program while supporting key talent management objectives. So, should partner assistance be considered a core or a flex benefit in core-flex mobility programs?

A relocating employee’s partner’s inability to adapt to the new environment in the host location remains the largest cause of international assignment failure. In addition, with over 70 percent of couples in dual-income families, the financial burden of temporarily forfeiting the partner’s career during a global assignment can be devastating; the stress of the financial loss has the power to trickle down into other areas of their lives and intrude on the employee’s productivity at work. As a flexible benefit option, partner support risks being eliminated by line management aimed at cost-cutting, or if the decision is left to the employee, it might lead to uninformed and misguided choices due to the lack of knowledge and inexperience with relocating globally. “I didn’t know what I didn’t know”; a relocating couple may pass on a vital partner assistance benefit suggested to them as a “flex-option” assuming they can secure a job in the host location on their own. Unfortunately, less than 10% of relocating partners are ultimately able to secure a job by themselves while abroad. That results in 90% of unsuccessful partners left by themselves; they may quickly lose confidence, feel isolated, disconnected and ultimately express the desire to return home. Companies which are successfully placing higher priority on employee engagement in the international talent management process, also manage to extend this engagement to the accompanying partner, which makes a considerable difference. And guess what? They all have Partner Assistance listed as a core benefit in their core-flex Global Mobility Policies.


Dual career continuity is often cited as a key issue for overseas assignment failure. In this video interview, an Australian relocating spouse discusses some of the challenges she experienced while searching for a job on assignment in the USA and how she overcame them. Partner assistance programs continue to be an important way to support the partners of transferees to ensure successful assignments for everyone concerned.

Are you doing enough to support your relocating partners and in turn support your global mobility and talent management strategies? NetExpat provides free consultative sessions to discuss industry best practices in line with the events we host around and globe and how corporations can offer best in class support for their expats and partners alike. 

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There are a large number of articles in business journals highlighting the usage of Big Data to inform business decisions. Using data analytics is sound practice as decisions made on evidence more than intuition are much more likely to be effective. Therefore for Global Mobility data to be relevant it must begin with and show impact on a business result that matters.

A practical example of this approach is the launch of the Relocating Partner Survey by NetExpat and EY based on the premise that as organisations look to build Inclusion and Diversity into their Talent agenda one of their challenges will be how to ensure talented women will be prepared to travel overseas with a partner who wishes to remain in full time employment. Preliminary feedback indicates that the largest obstacle to women accepting overseas roles is the full time career of their partner. It also identifies that the income of the partner is a significant contribution to the family budget. These Insights now provide the opportunity for Global Mobility professionals to highlight to senior management that if they wish to build deeper Inclusion and Diversity of their female employees they need to address the issue of relocating partner support.

It should also be noted that Science does not advance with isolated studies but with a series of studies, each building on each other to create more rigorous and robust insights. In Global Mobility studies too seldom build on previous work. Global mobility analytics are too often isolated events rather than cumulative building blocks. To combat this problem the Relocating Partner survey is now scheduled to run every 2 years to provide updates on progress and to identify emerging trends in this important area.

For Global Mobility analytics to evolve from being a quick-fix to having sustainable impact, Global mobility professionals needs to focus on the right issues in the right ways and focus on driving business impact. 

Click here for more information on the Relocating Partner Survey