Expat employees (commonly referred to as “expats”) are employees sent from one country to work in another foreign location by companies, typically those who had worked previously for that company in their home nation and brought with them knowledge of processes and cultures for that specific region.
Businesses expanding into foreign markets may find employing expatriates workers beneficial, though these deployments come with additional expenses and must comply with local employment law.
Know Your Company’s Needs
If you want to work abroad, begin your job search by assessing your skillset against jobs available in your destination country. Also research its legal environment to ascertain which work permits are needed and when, as well as any issues that may arise during employment.
An expatriate is any individual working outside their native country on temporary business trips for purposes of earning extra money and receiving additional benefits, such as relocation and housing allowances.
Know the Local Market
As companies expand into new markets, they often require human resource expertise that may not readily be found among their local workforce. If launching an entirely new product or service into a foreign market, expat workers could provide invaluable help to develop and expand your business internationally.
An experienced expat will know all the ins and outs of local laws, market conditions, business practices and more – thus saving your organization both time and money while quickly getting your task completed.
An expat often already possesses an established global network, making him or her invaluable when opening international offices in developing nations with limited talent pools. An expat will help ensure your global offices work seamlessly with local teams; an expat could make sure this happens.
Hiring an expat also brings many other advantages for your company. Their knowledge of local labor laws will assist your company with navigating through the intricate web of taxes, work permit requirements and immigration procedures that must be observed in either their host country or home-country taxes, work permit applications or immigration procedures that need to be adhered to. They may also provide invaluable insight into local labor market competition – something essential when making hiring decisions.
An important advantage of hiring an expat is their ability to communicate effectively with local workforce and stakeholders, helping to reduce cultural barriers and foster an enjoyable working environment. An expat will likely possess in-depth knowledge of local language, customs and etiquette that can come in handy when communicating with government officials or clients.
Hiring an expat employee is often more costly than recruiting locally-based employees due to increased living expenses and travel costs; however, in certain instances this option is necessary in achieving global expansion goals. When considering both options carefully, carefully weigh their advantages and disadvantages so that you make an informed decision that is beneficial to both parties involved. Furthermore, offer comprehensive global mobility benefits as an incentive to encourage staff members taking up international assignments.
Know Your Expatriate’s Expectations
Preparing new hires for an expat assignment takes considerable time and energy, so it is vital that they know exactly what to expect. HR professionals should focus on informing newcomers of company policies and procedures as well as cultural expectations of their host country; mentor relationships between candidates who have been sent abroad are also an asset in helping newcomers feel at home quickly.
Due to the nature of some companies, some expats may travel with their families which can add an additional layer of difficulty when adapting to a new environment. It’s therefore crucial for their spouses to receive as much support as possible from employers and encourage them to join social groups, attend community events and meet people both inside and outside their workplace – this will prevent isolation while simultaneously increasing work performance.
Expats tend to be quite meticulous when it comes to adhering to company policies and processes, as they understand their own culture versus that of their host country. HR managers and talent development specialists must recognize this, making sure to ask what new hires want from their expat experience; perhaps offering language training opportunities or guidance regarding local business practices that could assist them better do their jobs.
Companies with global operations often rely on expats as an invaluable means of connecting their HQ with distant offices, sharing best practices, and evenly distributing top talent across locations. By investing the time and resources to select suitable candidates for these assignments and provide ongoing support during their time abroad, organizations can significantly lower expat failure rates and costs.
Management of expatriates can be challenging. Even the most enthusiastic hires may begin to feel overwhelmed by their new roles and responsibilities, and require assistance in order to thrive. HR managers and talent development professionals should regularly check-in with new hires as they approach six months, when novelty wears off quickly and job satisfaction begins to decline rapidly.
Know Your Expatriate’s Culture
If a company wants their expatriate to make the most out of their time abroad, providing as much information as possible and implementing comprehensive foreign worker solutions before their arrival is essential for their success. One of the major obstacles faced by expats during overseas assignments is culture shock – failure to adapt leads to frustration, resentment and job dissatisfaction.
Some companies employ representatives in the host country to assist new employees as they navigate acculturation; however, this alone may not suffice – expatriates who are well prepared for cultural transition tend to experience lower stress levels, more positive work-related attitudes, and higher job engagement levels.
Nina E. Woodard, SHRM-SCP suggests that companies can help their employees avoid culture shock by providing more comprehensive pre-assignment training, which includes cultural, linguistic and housing options information as well as providing someone from their new location as a point of contact or guide.
Managers of expatriate employees can also facilitate intercultural exchange and learning by creating an environment conducive to intercultural friendship formation with locals and an increase in productivity at work – ultimately increasing chances for successful overseas assignments.
HR expert Ihuoma Onyearugha, senior director at Chevron Nigeria Limited notes it is also important for companies to inform expats of any issues which may undermine their job satisfaction or ability to perform their duties, including cultural differences affecting expats and their families; cultures may be supportive while other may not; in such instances managers need to identify the problem and implement programmes which change it towards being more welcoming of foreign workers and families.
Finally, it’s crucial that host cultures recognize that an expat’s primary function is bridging cultural gaps between two countries. Doing this successfully may prove challenging if their host country is resistant to outsiders or has laws which impede free movement – for instance restricting how many foreigners may enter at one time.