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It’s been two years, and it’s time to come home

How can a concerned employer minimize re-entry pain for the returning expat and the family when the way things used to run has changed?  Is there any way to avoid reverse culture shock? At Techworld, we believe there is! Repatriation orientation programs can provide your expats with a new sense of belonging and an ability to better visualize and manage successful returns.

Techworld follows a re-onboarding plan that begins months before an actual return. It addresses both sides of this complex equation:  for returning families and for returning professionals alike.

The Family

Repatriation assistance for the family begins with assessing expectations.  Basic questions are asked about the expat assignment and how families see their impending return home. Answers to those questions – particularly those which express doubt or uncertainty – are used to develop specific programming.  A one or two-day repatriation programs developed and delivered to family members.  (Based on age, children may be included.)

The best repat orientation programs key on assessing the significance of what family members have learned abroad and its impact on their lives.  They identify new family member skills, interests, and perspectives.  They examine common readjustment difficulties in values, trends, and culture and provide suggestions for dealing with such challenges.  A common program thread is that all family members will support, encourage and contribute to each other’s experiences in addressing such reverse culture shock.

No two expats or families are the same.  The best repatriation programs and processes are highly individualized.  “One size fits all” approaches don’t fit.

The Professional

Returning expats need formal, well-thought-out support from their employers. Fewer than 25% of companies have repatriation program for returning employees. There is a distinct loss of the return on investment associated with international assignments if new skills and expertise aren’t integrated into the organization.  It’s vital to find ways to recognize and use new skill sets and the experiences your expats gain abroad.

The very best way to do so, of course, is to align the returning expat’s ability to perform with new work.  In addition, employers should take pains to solicit helpful, big-picture lessons about differing overseas practices and protocols.

You may not want the returning expat to immediately be placed in a position where they are independently responsible for various tasks. If this is unavoidable how might those lessons be leveraged to fit the needs of your company? Wise employers will take pains to find alternative outlets for such new skills and expanded expat knowledge.  Among the possibilities are collaborating with expats on:

  • Lunch-and learn-presentations
  • Special projects which draw on overseas insights
  • Hands-on support for the company’s future expats

A global organization’s success in providing outlets for sharing key expat learnings, expertise, and suggestions will benefit both returning expats and the company.

The Bottom Line

There are many benefits to an organized repatriation of deliberate re-onboarding from Techworld.

Failure to develop and deploy such a plan, on the other hand, may very well prove a gold mine for headhunting companies which are only too happy to locate and woo experienced talent to succeed on a global stage under another firm’s banner.

To learn more about the programs we offer, visit our Repatriation page today!