Repatriation is a process of returning back from a international assignment to a home country after completing the assignment or some other issues. Repatriation is the last step in the expatriation cycle and it involves readjustment and re-entry of international managers and their families back to their home country. Expatriation and repatriation are not two separated processes, rather the former is a beginning and the latter the closure. The term may also refer to the process of converting a foreign currency into the currency of one’s own country.
The Importance of Repatriates
The employee of any organization who adjust well in a HCN in an international assignment and performed effectively there would be highly imported.
The repatriate perspective, here are some of the reasons why repatriated employees are important:
- There are a many successful international assignments which are very important to the employee career as well as for the company’s growth. So many companies send expatriate to other countries for doing business internationally.
- The employees who are send to abroad for international assignment are expatriates those employees who learned many things that would be useful to those who will be sent to that same country if some means could be identified as to how they might be mentors to future expatriate employees.
- Expatriates can bring new and unusual approaches to cultural environment, information gathering, analysis of data, and problem-solving as a result of having work cross-culturally in an effective manner.
- Expatriates may have been more flexible, or less rigid, in changing circumstances. In that different approaches have been tried in other contexts, they may be able to bring insights and innovation to the planning process that may not have been considered previously.
- The repatriate who have performed at a high level in a HCN may bring a dimension of confidence and competence that will enhance his or her value to the company as it competes in a changing world market.
- Expatriates who are work outside the culture of the company and the country, the repatriated employee may well have insights that can effect needed change. That perspective ought to be valued and given a voice within the company.
- The repatriated employees would likely to bring motivated by some factors to encourage them for the sharing of their experience.
- The effective international employees may well have gained insights in how to affect a more coordinated group effort than encouraging individual achievement.
- Preparation: before 3-4 months of expatriate return
- Developing plans for future and info about new position
- Checklist of items before leaving (closure of bank a/c, bills etc.)
- Physical Relocation
- Removal of personal belongings , breaking ties with friends, colleagues before returning
- Re-entry training for home country’s update, socio-cultural contrast orientation, psychological aspects etc.
- Finding accommodations, school for children, opening bank A/c etc. for comfortable living.
- Relocation consultants used.
- Coping with aspects as company changes , reverse culture shock and career demands
- Eg. Repatriate returning from country where power distance is large as Thailand may experience stress on returning to small power distance countries like Denmark.
Repatriation of Expatriates
- Return to one’s home country from an overseas management assignment
- Reasons for returning
- Formally agreed-on tour of duty is over
- Expats want their children educated in the home country
- Unhappiness with foreign assignment
- Failure to perform well
- Major concerns of expatriates
- Cultural Re-entry
- Financial Implications
- Nature of job assignment
Multinational responses to repatriation
- Staff availability: current and future needs
- If repatriate promoted ,International assignments as a positive career move
- If repatriate demoted or given pink slips so vice versa.
- Return on investment (ROI)
- Expatriates are expensive
- Accomplishing assignment objectives at the expected cost
- Knowledge Transfer
- Cross-fertilization of ideas and practices that assist in developing competitive advantage.
- Build upon international experience of repatriates
Designing a Repatriation Program
- Mentor programs(Pairing expat with a member of home office senior mgmt):
- Maintaining contact with the expatriate throughout the assignment
- Ensuring that expatriates are kept up- to-date with developments in home country
- Assisting expatriates in repatriation process
- Inviting repatriates in developing repatriation program
Steps suggested for smooth transition
- Arrange an event to welcome & recognize the employee & family
- Establish support to facilitate family reintegration
- Offer repatriation counseling or workshops to ease the adjustment
- Assist the spouse with job counseling, resume writing & interviewing techniques
- Provide educational counseling for the children
- Provide employees with thorough debriefing to identify new knowledge, insights & skills to provide a forum to showcase new competencies
- Offer international outplacement to the employee if no positions are possible
- Arrange an interview with the expatriate & spouse to review their view of the assignment & address any repatriation issues