International Transfer and Repatriation strategies
International Transfer strategies
One of the internal mobility of the employee is transfer. It is lateral movement of employee in an organization by the employee. “A transfer involves the shifting of an employee from one job to another without changing the responsibilities or compensation”.
Transfers of employees are quite common in all organizations. This can also be defined as a change in job within the organization where the new job is substantially equal to the old in terms of pay, status and responsibilities. Transfers of employees can possible from one department to another from one plant to another. Transfer may be initiated by the organization or by the employees with the approval of the organization. It can be also due to changes in organizational structure or change in volume of work, it is also necessary due to variety of reasons. But broadly can be done either to suit the conveniences of organization and to suit the convenience of employees.
The purposes of the Transfer
The transfer are generally affected to build up a more satisfactory work team and to achieve the following purposes:
- To increase the effectiveness of the organization.
- To increase the versatility and competency of key positions.
- To deal with fluctuations in work requirements.
- To correct incompatibilities in employee relations.
- To correct, erroneous placement.
- To relieve monotony.
- To adjust workforce.
- To punish employees.
Types of Transfers most of the transfers generally carried out four types of transfers which are discussed below:
Production Transfer: Such transfers are resorted to when there is a need of manpower in one department and surplus manpower in other department. Such transfers are made to meet the company requirements. The surplus employees in one department/section might be observed in other place where there is a requirement.
Replacement Transfers: This takes place to replace a new employee who has been in the organization for a long time and there by giving some relief to an old employee from the heavy pressure of work.
Remedial Transfers: As the name suggest, these transfers are made to rectify the situation caused by faulty selection and placement procedures. Such transfers are made to rectify mistakes in placement and recruitments. If the initial placement of an individual is faulty or has not adjusted to work/job, his transfer to a more appropriate job is desirable.
Versatility Transfer: Such transfers are made to increase versatility of the employees from one job to another and one department to another department. Transfer (Job Rotation) are the tool to train the employees. Each employee should provide a varied and broader job experiences by moving from one department to another. This is for preparing the employee for promotion, this will definitely help the employee to have job enrichment.
Every organization should have a fair and impartial transfer policy which should be known to each employee. The responsibility for effecting transfers is generally entrusted to an executive with power to prescribe the conditions under which requests for transferred are approved. Care should be taken to ensure that frequent or large scale transfers are avoided by laying down adequate selection and placement procedures for the purpose. A good transfer policy should:
- Specifically clarify the types of transfers and the conditions under which these will be made.
- Locate the authority in some officer who may initiate and implement transfers.
- Indicate whether transfers, i.e., whether it will be based on seniority or on the skill and competency or any other factor.
- Decide the rate of pay to be given to the transfere.
- Intimate the fact of the transfer to the person concerned well in advance.
- Be in writing and duly communicated to all concerned.
- Not be made frequently and for sake of transfer only.
A sound, just and impartial transfer policy should be evolved in the organization to govern all types of transfers. This policy should be clearly specified so that the superiors cannot transfer their subordinates arbitrarily and subordinates may not request for transfers even for the small issues. The management must frame policy on transfers and apply it to all the transfers instead of treating each case on its merit. Such a policy must be based on the following principles:
- Transfer policy must be in writing and be made known to all the employees of the organization.
- The policy must very clearly specify the types and the circumstances under which company initiated the transfer will be made.
- Basis of the transfer should be clearly mentioned in the policy, whether it will be based seniority or on the skill and the competency or any other factors.
- It should indicate the executives who will be responsible for initiating and approving the transfers.
- The policy should specify the region or unit of the organization within which transfers will be administered.
- The effect of the transfer on the pay and seniority of the transferred employee may be clearly evaluated.
- It should be prescribed in the policy whether the training or retraining is required on the new job.
- Transfer should be clearly defined as temporary or permanent.
- The interest of the organization are not to be forgotten in framing a policy of transfer.
- Reasons for the mutual transfer of employees or reasons to be considered for the personal transfers should be specified.
- The fact of the transfer should be intimated to the person concerned well in advance.
- Transfer should not be made frequent and not for the sake of transfer only.
International Repatriation strategies
A successful repatriation not only secures the continued employment of the expat, but results in an advocate who thrives and becomes a positive promoter of the program. This requires planning before the expat goes on assignment as well as a mutual understanding of what his or her return will look like and the commitments the company is willing to make upon the expat’s return.
While nearly three-quarters of companies with expat programs have formal repatriation policies, only one in five have repatriation discussions with their expats before their assignments begin, according to a survey by Brookfield Global Relocation Services. While it is difficult to prove a correlation between formal career management and expat attrition, the survey notes that two-thirds of companies with high expat attrition rates had no formal strategy linked to career management.
Showing participants at the beginning of their assignments that the company is committed to their professional development will help ensure that expat prospects are comfortable in accepting the assignment. Following are six primary areas that should be considered when planning repatriation:
- Educate and engage others
It sounds simple, but a personal thank you and meeting with senior leadership at the company can go a long way to making the expat feel valued and welcomed back home. Further, companies should encourage and help the expat provide colleagues and prospective expats with a realistic picture of what they achieved, how they developed professionally, what they had to give up or put on hold to participate, and the cultural experience of the assignment location. Involve family members where possible and appropriate to fill in the picture.
By ensuring at the start of the assignment that all of the assignment-related compensation is broken out, it will be easier to avoid compensation issues upon return to the home location and helpful in avoiding discontent from the expat. That said, a short-term repatriation allowance can help ease the transition as well. In addition, management should consider offering a retention bonus for staying with the company for an additional two years after the assignment. Continuing tax support is essential for trailing tax liabilities in the host and home countries. Through this benefit, management may also find opportunities to bring cash back to the company and reduce some of the tax costs of the assignment.
- Career development
According to the Brookfield survey, the best method for retaining expats after they return to their home locations is to offer opportunities to use their international experience. A good repatriation program will ensure the expat comes back to an available position that is considered an advancement from pre-assignment; offering a greater choice of positions is effective as well. In any event, career discussions should start in earnest six to 12 months before return to the home location.
- Ongoing support
Regular business trips back to the home country throughout the assignment can ensure the expat does not return to an unfamiliar and isolating environment. If the return is not to the original location of departure, continued logistical support can help ease this transition. For example, connecting expats with mentors who are based in the home (or eventual) location can help keep expats in the loop and in the minds of their home-country colleagues throughout their assignments. Transition counseling can help counter the negative culture shock that a return home can often have on expats and their families.
It can be difficult to overstate the impact of the expat’s family members’ opinions of the repatriation on the returning expat. After all, family members living with the expat (and, to some extent, those who stay behind in the home country) made a commitment to the sponsoring firm as well. Immediate family members may be asked to put their own careers on hold or raise families in a foreign location. Extended family members may not see their loved ones for months or years at a time. The impact that families have on the expat’s future can be significant, and the importance of seeing the return home as positive experience should not be underestimated.
- Continuous improvement
Candidly ask the expat for feedback on the assignment and how it can be improved, then engage the expat in helping to implement those changes. Involve the expat (and, where appropriate, the expat’s family) in shaping and supporting the next group of expats.