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: Cecilia Franchi, Senior Director, Advisory Services Americas

There is a contradiction in global mobility programs around the world. More and more, organizations are using international mobility to fill critical business needs and as part of the essential developmental experience of valued talent; however, when that business need is filled, or that talent has gained the skills they lacked through an international assignment, most organizations end their mobility support. International experience is recognized as a key element of a leader’s resume, but what if the next step for these motivated, mobile employees is leaving? Post-assignment attrition is growing, we all know it, with attrition rates rocketing up to 60% in the technology industry! Unfortunately, the picture may actually be even bleaker: as more companies move away from full-fledged traditional expatriate assignments to fill global business needs with the increased use of “local plus” assignments, permanent moves, and localizations, these globally mobile professionals quickly fall off the radar post-move.

So, should companies also track the attrition rates of their “local plus”, permanent transfers and localizations?

A compelling case can be made that in order to protect the resources invested in these mobile employees, greater efforts should be made to retain them whatever mobility package or status they are on; a mobile employee’s global perspectives and capabilities will benefit the entire company. Sadly, few companies take advantage of the vast knowledge that these mobile professionals gain from different markets, ideas for inventing or enhancing products and services, and strengthened human networks across functions and geographies. The international mobility function can have a big effect on retention and engagement of their entire globally mobile workforce if they are able to work closely to co-create solutions with their global talent management colleagues. When organizations lose track of who has global experience, or fail to formally support these mobile individuals, especially if they are ready to move on less expensive packages, they lose a huge opportunity to serve their global corporate ambitions. There needs to be a connection between the system of record and tracking them as globally mobile employees. While this may seem tactical, it takes on strategic importance when tied to career management.

Mobile employees need to know that they are on a career development track that gives them personal and professional satisfaction, whatever mobile status they’re on, or they will find someone who does appreciate it. Companies need to take a pro-active, global talent management approach to retaining and engaging their entire globally mobile workforce.

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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