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Learn Seven Ways HR Can Facilitate the Move

March 1, 1996
Related Topics: Expatriate Management, Featured Article
Here are seven ways that HR can facilitae the move:

  1. Encourage families to spend a lot of time on pretransfer preparation of their children.
    If the parents choose the international school without the children, have them take videos and photographs of the school. Obtain school literature. Have them get the sports calendar. Load the kids with this information. They desperately want it.
  2. Try to connect families who have been in the location with new ones relocating.
    If kids can talk with others who have been there they can ask questions, such as "What do the kids wear?" "What do they talk about?" "Do they have a prom, a debate team, a football coach?" Don't underestimate the value of these simple connections.
  3. Involve the children in the planning phase.
    This will be even more helpful for older children who may not want to go in the first place. Cross-cultural counseling for children pays big dividends.
  4. Provide families with computers and access to e-mail and the Internet so they can stay in touch with their families and friends.
    Consider EAP possibilities internationally or at least via phone.
  5. Be on the phone frequently with the expatriate and the spouse.
    Develop a personal relationship to whatever extent is possible. Try to visit the expatriates and see their living situations.
  6. Be sure that community networks are available if a family has trouble—make that suggestion at the outset before any problems arise.
    HR can go so far as to add this reading material and community resource information to the written material they hand to the expatriate family.
  7. Critical to reentry to their society, children need to identify with their own cultural and national identity.
    Suggest that parents subscribe to many American (or home country) magazines that keep the family up-to-date on popular culture—Sports Illustrated, People are a few. Suggest their friends send videos of current American television programs.

Personnel Journal, March 1996, Vol. 75, No. 3, p. 84.

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