How To Successfully Repatriate Employees

5 Tips based on helping people relocate for over 30 years


Despite Brexit and other worldwide nationalistic influences, companies are continuing to invest in global mobility.  However, many of them are failing to conclude international assignments successfully when they repatriate employees back to their home country.  

Ernst & Young (E&Y) has put post-assignment attrition as high as 40% within two years of the employee returning home after an international assignment. It can be higher if the employee does not have a soft landing and the move is not managed comprehensively.  

International experience is recognised as a key element of a leader’s CV but if not done well, most organisations are preparing talent to return home and go to a competitor.

How can you as HR help?

We’ve put together our top tips to welcome your expats home while making the most of their new global insights.

  1. Start Early

Begin the process of repatriation as soon as employees leave for their foreign assignments.  Assign a mentor whose job it is to keep the expat employee informed of important company developments at home.  If you have a number of employees overseas, devise a way they can all be in touch with and support each other.

  1. Publicise Costs & Value

Many managers in the field have little idea about the costs of overseas assignments.  It’s not a surprise therefore that they do not vocalize the value of those returning from such an experience.

  1. Continue to Develop Careers

Maintain an active process of career development while the employee is away.  Yearly performance and development reviews should go on as before and give expat employees the opportunity to develop and possibly change the direction of their careers as they undergo transformational international experiences.

  1. Get Them Together

Create occasions for returned and returning expats and their families to gather and interact professionally and socially.

Spouses can also have a difficult time readjusting to the home country for many of the same reasons as their working partners, a process that can be improved through contact with others who have been there. 

  1. Listen

Find out how returning expats feel about their time overseas and their moves back to their home countries.  Recognise the value of the “debrief.”  Ask returning expats what they learned and how the company can benefit from their experiences and insights.

6. Provide the Right Relocation Support Programs

Utilising the help of a departure service is recommended as several things in a global move may be done differently than in the home country.  For example, handling lease terminations, closing out utility contracts and fighting damage claims vary in procedure from the UK to the US.

Also be sure to think about the total package involved with repatriating.  This may include finding a new home, schooling assistance if the assignee has children or perhaps the spouse wants to work again once they return.  Remember Tip #5 - listen to what needs and challenges the employee has and work together with your relocation provider to develop a package designed specifically to accommodate their needs.  No two assignees' requirements are the same, they all need that individual attention.

These were our 6 tips on How To Repatriate Employees successfully.

Nobody has more experience in moving employees overseas for top global brands than Saunders 1865 – The VIP Relocation Company. 

If you are responsible for relocating senior executives internationally, or if you yourself are being relocated, discover how top companies support the families they move overseas.  What relocation benefits do they provide and which support programs do senior executives expect?

To get answers, use our Contact Form to connect with one of our global relocation experts.