For many assignees, an international employment assignment is an exciting opportunity for growth—a chance to experience varying cultural and world views and to build on one’s professional expertise and value. But what will a move of this magnitude mean for the loved ones who accompany that assignee? There is a direct correlation between the adjustment of an accompanying spouse or partner and an employee’s overall success on an international assignment—and too often, spouses/partners are surprised to find themselves struggling to adjust to a new location. Far from the typical vision of accompanying partners enjoying leisurely days and social activities, a sense of isolation and loss of self-esteem are far more typical than we realize. Most worryingly, experience has shown that assignees who face such challenges at home frequently hide these issues from their employers—further compounding the issue, often because they believe they would receive little sympathy. Sadly, there is some validity to this concern.
What can HR professionals do to support couples during a relocation and ensure that their families will be willing to accept an international assignment in the first place?
In Cartus’ experience, accompanying spouses cite the following services as among the most meaningful and valuable:
The above information is excerpted from an October 2017 Mobility magazine article. Read the full text for an actual case study through the eyes of an international expat and his spouse.