Feeling at home when you are away

From cost-cutting to unhappy families, Anthony Wong talks to HR heads about the solutions to major challenges faced by employers over expat assignments.

The globalised economy has made sending talent overseas more popular than ever as companies attempt to make their brands global.

With such a huge number of talent moving in and out of countries, tax, talent retention and family unhappiness with a new environment are all problems HR needs to solve to ensure a successful expatriate assignment.
Here is what three HR heads in Asia had to say on enhancing expatriate polices and the experience of assignees.

Flexibility is the key to success
To ensure assignees are able to complete their overseas assignments, employers always try their best to cater to their needs, but in some cases, assignees can get too comfortable with their new working environment and refuse to return to their home countries.

This is often the case, especially for talent from China and India relocating to the west, according to Benjamin Wong, human resources director for APAC at Knorr-Bremse, a manufacturer of braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles.
“We send management trainees on overseas assignments to gain technical knowledge so they can bring back the knowledge to their home country to support the development of the business,” Wong says.

“To help them gain international exposure, the management trainees will get a chance to go on an overseas assignment during the course of their 18-month programme.”