Managers play a fundamental role in an international mobility project, whether they are supporting the employees in their re-location project or welcoming newcomers in a new country. Managers must offer them support and understanding to make their re-location project a success.
Anyone wishing to move abroad needs to feel supported. Friends and relatives obviously play a prominent role in your move abroad, but your manager must also support you.
Managing an employee who wishes to work abroad
When an employee wants to re-locate abroad, his manager often takes a back seat. It is however essential for him/her to be hands-on in the employee’s new adventure.
The decision to leave one's country to begin a new life is an important one and whoever makes that decision needs advice and support. A good manager must be present throughout this process. He can explain the ins and outs of such a move, advise on the steps to be implemented within the company to make this move easier, while highlighting the qualities and skills the expat will bring to the company he/she will join.
Managers who send an employee to one of the company's foreign subsidiaries must also help them prepare for their departure. They should brief them, as best as possible, on the tasks that they will be assigned in their new job and accurately describe the terms and conditions to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Managers can also encourage employees to visit the country beforehand, so they can become familiar with their new environment before taking up their post.
Managing an employee who has just arrived in a new country
A new employee who has just arrived in a company abroad, whether it is a subsidiary of their own company or a completely new job, will have to integrate into this new environment as quickly as possible.
Managers thus have a major role to play. It is up to them to introduce the newcomer to the team, entrust them with the tasks for which they have been recruited and help them overcome any linguistic or cultural barriers that may arise.
In this type of situation, the managers’ goal is to help the new employee feel at home, be productive and willing to stay with the company as long as possible and in the best possible working conditions.
The transition into the new position must be seamless. The newcomer has been recruited for specific skills that were lacking in the local job market, the manager must thus recognise this expertise and assign the employee to the appropriate tasks. The expat will then feel useful and recognised for their professional qualities.
It is also the responsibility of the manager to ensure that the expat is integrated into the new team. Organising a welcome drink or a tour of the office to make introductions can be a good way of introducing the newcomer to a team who may not speak the same language. The manager also has the task of explaining the habits and culture of the new company.
The manager must show open-mindedness and listen to any problems the expat may encounter, as they may not dare mentioning or tend to hide the difficulties they may encounter in their new position or simply in their daily life within the team. A good manager must be able to anticipate such fears and help the newcomer feel at ease in their new environment. New employees also have a different perspective on things and taking their suggestions on board can be invaluable for the company.