Although there's no easy, one-size-fits-all set of answers to the challenges of re-entry, there are guidelines that corporations can follow to positively facilitate the process. The following checklist targets: senior management involvement; expectation management; comprehensive career planning; selection and development processes that ensure that the expatriate acquires new capabilities; upgraded change management systems; and interventions to address the losses that repatriates experience.
Prior to departure
! Involve international human resources at corporate strategic levels when planning for international activities
! Clearly establish the need for the international assignment with input from home and host locations
! Utilize research-based selection processes to make certain that the employee and family are suitable and able to succeed abroad
! Provide cross-cultural and language training to increase effectiveness and adaptation overseas
! Offer career spouse counseling and assistance during assignment
! Outline a clear job description for the expatriate's position
! Communicate realistic expectations about re-entry to employee at the time the position is offered
! Design career tracking and pathing systems that recognize and reward returning employees
! Establish expat developmental plans that include international competencies
! Link performance appraisals directly to developmental plans with home and host evaluators measuring performance
! Adapt performance appraisals to recognize the cultural demands of the assignment
! Feed performance appraisals into a larger internal human resource communication vehicle
! Appoint home and host mentors who are held accountable to track and support the employee during the assignment, and to identify potential positions at re-entry
! Send job postings to the expatriate while abroad
! Prior to return (one year to six months) arrange a networking visit to home office to establish viability with line and human resources managers
! Repeat networking visit three months prior to return if necessary
! Assist employee with polishing resume writing and interviewing skills
! Circulate resume to all potential hiring units
! Establish fallback position if no job is available
! Arrange for employee to maintain visibility through regular business trips home and through contact with visiting home-country personnel
! Create communication links to employee via E-mail, newsletters, copies of important memos and relevant publications
! Enable family members to stay in touch with changes at home through news publications
! Encourage employee and family to return home for home leave.
! Arrange an event to welcome and recognize the employee and family, either formally or informally
! Establish support to facilitate family reintegration
! Offer repatriation counseling or workshops to ease adjustment
! Assist spouse with job counseling, resume writing and interviewing techniques
! Provide educational counseling for kids
! Provide employee with a thorough debriefing with a facilitator to identify new knowledge, insights and skills, forums to showcase new competencies, and activities that utilize competencies
! Offer international outplacement to employee and re-entry counseling to entire family if no positions are possible
! Arrange a post-assignment interview with expatriate and spouse to review their view of the assignment and address any repatriation issues.
Financial Planning and Related Activities
! Coordinate with home and host offices prior to repatriation to identify repatriation date
! Run cost projection with anticipated repatriation date to determine the most cost-effective time frame for departure
! Arrange pre-repatriation home country house hunting/school enrollment trip to allow for re-occupying/securing home country housing and registering dependent children for school.
! Arrange for shipment of personal goods.
! Identify dates for temporary living in home and host countries.
! Arrange tax exit interview for employee with tax service provider to determine need for tax clearance/final host country tax return to leave the country.
! Provide tax service provider with year-to-date compensation data for tax clearance/return processing.
! Process any relocation payment.
! Process return incentive payment.
! Process payroll documents to remove employee from expatriate status and review need for actual withholding payments for remainder of year with tax service provider.
! Provide HR generalist in new location with necessary personnel files.
SOURCE: Bennett & Associates and Price Waterhouse LLP
Personnel Journal, January 1995, Vol. 74, No. 1, p. 32.