A study was carried out during the summer of 2012 by the American Korn/Ferry Institute (an organisation producing research and viewpoints to illuminate how talent advances business strategy) that concluded about a fifth of executives who move overseas give up and return home within two years.
It would appear that while there is overall satisfaction with job roles, the support offered – whether by companies for their own staff who are relocating, or for new companies in the case of a headhunted position – leaves much to be desired.
The problem seems to stem from information about taxes, finances, schooling and networking, with the added problem of people trying to fit in – sometimes unsuccessfully – with the local culture.
It is very much, as we have already mentioned, the responsibility of companies to support their staff by ensuring their extended-stay accommodation is the most suitable for their day-to-day living requirements. A little advanced research into accommodation types – do they just need the space for a single executive provided by a one-bedroom apartment; should it be located in the city; do they require the suburbs with enough living space for family members? – can prevent problems later on during the stay.
And a little advance preparation regarding accommodation will in turn help with daily living. Obvious though it may appear, but so often overlooked, city centre living, for example, will not be suitable for a family where there are two children who have to get to school! Similarly, a single executive working in London’s international financial centre will not want to spend well over an hour with multiple tube changes each way to and from work every day.
So the actual daily life of the overseas working or relocating executive must be taken into account if it to be successful.
It is fair to say that any executive relocating for an increased pay packet will have a potentially different set of motivating factors to those moving for a new challenge or for promotion. However, the challenges to home life will be the one common denominator.
With the best will in the world, a foreign relocation will get off on the wrong footing if the executive doesn’t enjoy their ‘home comforts’ after work, when they can return to their temporary home and close the door on the world of work until the following day!
It may seem obvious, but were you to put yourself in the executive’s shoes for a moment, you can see where the problems might occur.
During the normal working week, you more than likely have a regime that’s fairly regular. You possibly have a small list of ‘things’ you do that you normally take totally for granted – the morning in the week when you put the washing machine on; the evening you eat a meal on your knee to watch your favourite television programme; the one day a week you return home later because you spend an hour in the gym.
Now transferring your working week to a country overseas, these ‘things’ can either remain as your little ‘things’, or be otherwise quickly transformed into chores, or taking it one step further, simply dropped altogether.
However, through pre-planning to ensure the extended-stay accommodation is suitable in both the quality of living it provides as well as the quality of location, and the day in the life of the inward locating executive should be a good one!