Compliance: Upper management usually just wants to get things done. You, as an HR Manager, will need to be concerned with compliance. Here are a few questions you need to ask:
- What are the immigration laws for the relocation country?
- What are the work visa restrictions that need to be considered?
- What is the length of stay for your employee?
- What is the project timeline for the relocation?
TIP: Encourage reasonable timelines even when business needs are pressing.
Time for planning an assignment: Upper management is business driven and often has only a vague idea of what it actually entails to deploy talent in a new location. You cannot get foreign talent in place for longer-term assignments in just a few weeks. It doesn’t work anywhere.
Location: Where will your team stay when they are living abroad? If this is just a short-term affair — a couple of weeks for a training session with a team of ready workers — then a hotel will work. However, if your team members are going to be staying for months or years, they need to have housing that is affordable to them. The housing can be tricky and the salary offered needs to take into consideration the housing costs of your host country.
Education: If your team is bringing their families for longer periods of time, then HR needs to know where their transfer’s children can go to school. If there are no English/German/ French speaking educational facilities in your new country, where will the children be schooled? You also want to be sure that the curriculum is in keeping with your transfers beliefs and worldview. If not, the relocation may not be successful.
Cultural Readiness: Are you choosing people who will be able to assimilate to the new country’s cultural climate easily? Are they flexible, social, and open-minded people who are willing to have patience with the process?
Civics: HR needs to know how foreign nationals are treated and what life is going to be like in the host country. Management, HR, and the team going over there should be concerned with how expats will fit into this host society and how can the team be active members in it. Be able to suggest groups that will help your transfers make friends and contribute to their local community.
Day-to-Day Schedule: Something else that no one ever really considers is the day-to-day things. Where will your team members live versus where they work? How will they get around? Will they be able to drive? What are the customs of those activities? Are they within walking distance of the job site? Where do they get groceries? Where do they go for other services? These are all things that need to be known ahead of time so that proper housing and school decisions can be made. All of this may also influence salary considerations.
Leisure: Finally there is the necessity of leisure. Does this new country offer enough leisure activities to keep your future expats happy? Make sure they know what they are getting into for variety and core free time offerings.
Plan B; what happens if your talent pulls out at a late stage in the recruitment process? What do you do if the transfer is delayed due to immigration problems in the host country? What do you do if you are transferring a family offseason from a school term perspective and have to pay for housing both at home and in the host destination? Will that completely ruin the budget for important future projects? What will you do with the inevitable unforeseen costs? You always want to think through your options.
How do you handle exceptions? Anyone that has had a steering document or policy document to work with is well aware of the exception management policy that also needs to be in place. When do you allow someone to bring pets, cars, sailboats or their grandmother and when do you say no? When is a higher housing budget or a special needs school covered and when isn’t it? Who has the final say in regards to exceptions?
If you are planning on sending employees to Sweden, you can learn loads of useful information from our Guide to Bringing Foreign Talent to Sweden.