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Workforce Insights

3 Ways to Use Expat Assignments to Drive Employee Engagement

3 min read November 14, 2019
3 Ways to Use Expat Assignments to Drive Employee Engagement

A recent survey by MetLife Worldwide Benefits found that savvy employers who promote globally-mobile opportunities may have a competitive advantage in markets experiencing low unemployment and talent shortages. 

The reason is globally-mobile employees, defined as expatriates and inpatriates, report higher levels of engagement than employees who have not taken a foreign assignment with their employer. 91% of globally-mobile employees who receive expat benefits are satisfied with their jobs compared to 73% of their colleagues who have not taken foreign work assignments. Additionally, 91% of those same employees are committed to their organization’s goals, compared with 72% of their colleagues. These figures demonstrate that taking foreign assignments positively impacts employee perception of employers and improves the employee on-the-job experience.

Here are three ways to position your company’s globally mobile opportunities in a way that engages your employees.

1. Position globally-mobile opportunities as an employee benefit

Today, we’re seeing more diversity in the profile of a globally-mobile employee than at any other point in history. Additionally, globally-mobile status is appealing to people across generations, from Gen Z to Millennials. It makes sense, then, to internally position expat assignments as a perk to working at your company to appeal to an employee’s potential interest to travel. Although employees aren’t guaranteed an assignment based on interest alone, employers can position expatriate opportunities as assignments which increase a person’s qualifications and add to their professional development, while satisfying personal desires to live abroad. This then becomes something which current employees aspire to attain.  

2. Tailor a customized benefits plan

Your employee will have unique concerns impacting their lifestyles and that of their family members who are moving abroad with them. Customized benefits which meet the needs of and provides resources for partners, spouses and any children who will be impacted by the move will help with a successful assignment. Becoming a globally-mobile employee means leaving behind familiar safety nets and operating in new work environments, so this reliance on employers for security is a high priority. Take the time to identify the needs of your employees, and then partner with your benefits provider to create a customized benefits plan that will satisfy the unique needs of this niche group.  

Globally-mobile employees believe, more than other employees for example, that employers have a responsibility to provide personal and family security through employee benefits. 76% of them are looking to their employer to achieve financial security through employee benefits compared to 60% of other employees. Tailored plans could include, for instance, financial wellness tools assisting with ongoing retirement savings or helping to navigate global tax implications. Or providing access to language courses or introductions to a larger expat community which could help your employee better acclimate to the culture. 

3. Over-communicate 

To ensure a successful mobile employee experience—from the moment you position it as an opportunity until post-assignment—create a consistent and timely flow of two-way communication between your company and the employee. This helps the employee feel connected to the home office, and by extension, connected to company values and purpose.  

Because face time with mobile employees is often rare, ensure that the information you are sharing digitally is clear, concise, and has identifiable call-to-actions. Additionally, rather than relying solely on email communications, you can utilize your company intranet to provide easy access to important links and documentation. It can also be used as a repository for all employee communications and provide easy access to important links and documentation which goes a long way in creating future ambassadors for the business. 

MetLife Worldwide Benefits is a trusted partner providing personalized member service and solutions to the globally-mobile workforce. For more information, visit www.metlifeworldwide.com.

Nothing in these materials is intended to be advice for a particular situation or individual. These materials are for general information purposes only.