I recently gave a presentation on international employment and global talent migration at the African Business Summit, held at the University of North Florida on September 17, 2010. In that presentation, I addressed the complex issues involved in sending employees to work overseas.
In today’s economy, international assignments are increasing as companies expand their global presence. Sending employees to work abroad can be expensive and the experience often has a high failure rate. Poor planning and a lack of proper employee training and support are often the reason why these assignments fail.
Below are some key considerations companies need to address when selecting employees for overseas assignments:
- The reason for sending a particular worker abroad.
- Does the company have proper programs in place to support the employee during the assignment as well as upon the employee’s return to the United States?
- How long will the worker stay abroad?
- Is the company selecting the right employee for the assignment? An employee that excels in the U.S. might not necessarily excel abroad. How much support did the employee have in the U.S.? How much support will the employee have in the overseas position?
- Does the employee have any accompanying dependants, such as a working spouse, children or even pets?
- What are the immigration and working requirements of the host country? Are there any security issues the company should consider?
- How will the employee receive medical coverage?
- What are the tax requirements?
- How will employee benefits be handled?
- Has the employee received proper training addressing the cultural and business norms and practices of the host country?
Failing to address these issues can cost companies a great deal of time, money and human resources.
Employers looking to send U.S. workers overseas can access a variety of online resources including: the World Bank’s Doing Business Guide, the CIA’s World Factbook, the Department of State and U.S. Embassy and Consulate Post. Click on the links below for more information.