Expat Partner Support HR Newsletter | December 2012 Welcome to the December Global Connection HR Newsletter. This quarterly publication will keep you up-to-date on expat partner issues worldwide, and bring you the results of the surveys we conduct, as well as those carried out by leading parties in the Global Mobility world. These pages will also bring you the latest news on Global Connection spousal support activities.
Having a ‘support plan B’ Partner support is not something which can be easily packaged and labelled. In some companies, it equals career support, elsewhere it is all about providing destination information, while some organisations hope a cash allowance will do the job. At Global Connection, we have concluded that it comes in all shapes and sizes, just like the thousands of partners we support. That’s why we have transformed Global Connection into a highly flexible three-dimensional organisation. ‘Triple Seven’ approach This allows us to provide optimal and personalised support during each of the seven stages of expatriation, on any issue and in any format. A needs assessment, ideally already drawn up in the pre-decision phase, face-to-face or online, is by far the best way to put together a tailor-made support package (and which does not include any unnecessary or costly extras!). For many expat partners, this assessment is a journey of discovery, revealing intrinsic motivations for many life choices. 7 Assignment Phases: • Pre-decision • Pre-departure • Settling in • Settled • Pre-repatriation • Repatriation • Settled
7 Support Types/Channels: • Needs assessment • Media • Support desk • Network • Local meeting/workshop • Coaching* • Training* * incl. optional test/assessment
More than career support Most expat partners nowadays express a desire to work while abroad. We take this very seriously, by offering career support modules and initiatives such as the vacancy exchange project. Unfortunately, finding work is never guaranteed and working restrictions are still in place 7 Subject Matter Areas: in many countries (see also • Life (also for kids) page 4). Therefore, we firmly • Destination/culture believe in having a plan B. • Network The needs assessment often • Paid work • Alternatives to paid work reveals that the desire to have • Repatriation similar paid work stems from • Other a need for control in new and unfamiliar circumstances. Upon further investigation, many expat partners decide it is well worth considering alternatives such as studying, setting up a business or volunteering. As a one-stop shop for partner support, we cater for all of these needs too. Jacqueline van Haaften
VACANCY EXCHANGE The successful vacancy exchange project in Lagos, Nigeria, involving two of our clients, is entering a new phase. A survey on the subject by Global Connection’s Research Department has provided some interesting insights. Great interest among companies Preliminary results of our survey are now available. They indicate that no less than two-thirds of the respondents (HR and Global Mobility managers) are interested in taking part. And two-thirds of these respondents especially believe in opportunities for project-based vacancies. Opinions on working with a so-called preferred applicant status, however, varied greatly. Pilots in Europe, Asia, Africa and USA Respondents suggested many pilot locations. Singapore received the highest score, followed by Amsterdam/The Hague; New York/Boston; Lagos and Shanghai. We will be developing plans for a number of pilot projects, in collaboration with respondents. Lagos takes the lead Meanwhile, the successful collaboration in Lagos between HEINEKEN and WAMCO (FrieslandCampina) is set for expansion. On November 20, representatives of Consolidated Breweries, HEINEKEN International, Nestlé Nigeria, Nigerian Bottling Company (Coca-Cola bottler), Nigerian Breweries and Global Connection met in Lagos, to discuss the right formula for Lagos and what opportunities exist to involve more companies in addition to KLM and Unilever, who have already shown their interest.
Pictured from left to right: Victor Famuyibo (Nigerian Breweries), Marie Owoniyi (Nestlé Nigeria), Michelle Bertrams (HEINEKEN International), Jacqueline van Haaften (Global Connection), Grace Omo-Lamai (Nigerian Bottling Company), Ellen Jansma (HEINEKEN International) and Chuma Nwankwo (Consolidated Breweries).
For more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Global Connection | December 2012
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Expat Partner Support HR Newsletter alMost 20 YEars ago… For assigning organisations, spousal support is the norm. Brookfield GRS, in its Global Relocation Trends Report (2012), says that only 8 percent of companies provide no support at all for their partners. Still, it’s only about twenty years ago that companies first started to become aware of the special position of their expat spouses. To be fair, before the dawn of extensive professional partner support, some pioneers offered forms of specific help as a side business. But things really gained momentum when a number of multinationals started to take a serious look at the matter in the Nineties. Schlumberger - 1996 Schlumberger started a pilot programme in 1996 that provided twenty spouses in four cities with email accounts and dial-up access to the company’s intranet. That very modest beginning developed into the Schlumberger Spouses Association (SSA). Shell - 1995 In the early Nineties, Shell commissioned a survey to examine the barriers to expatriation. The findings showed that two significant factors were spouse employment and recognition. It lead to the foundation of Shell’s family support organisation Outpost in 1995. The driving force behind this was Lady Judy Moody-Stuart. In an interview with our magazine she said this about her motivation to help the partners: “They keep their husbands working and that is why, very early on, I felt that the company owed them”. HEINEKEN - 1993 In 1993, the HEINEKEN Partner Network (HPN) was founded at the initiative of Ingeborg Hooft Graaﬂand, who, after three years as an expat partner in Zaire, realised that her experience could be of great value to others. In our Expat & Partner Guide she says: “A dream was born: to create a partner network in which various companies would collaborate in the interest of accompanying partners.” 2013: 20 year celebration HPN gradually grew into what is now Global Connection. It means that in 2013 it will be 20 years ago that our activities started. We’ll come back to that next year! 2
also fEaturEd in gloBal ConnECtion’s dECEMBEr MagaZinE* Expat partner & Work - Could you do your job from abroad? Those in favour of teleworking argue that it can help businesses to increase eﬃciency while reducing costs. But how can expat partners convince their bosses that they should be allowed to telework from abroad? theme - Homesickness is part of the process Although it’s certainly easier to cope with now than it was even a few years ago, a lot of people still struggle with homesickness when they move abroad. Workshop prepared me Ewa Brytanczyk left the Netherlands in 2011 for Tokyo, Japan, with her husband who works for ASML. At the time, she found Global Connection's Cycles of Change workshop invaluable. She says:" I wish I could have taken the workshop when I moved to the Netherlands." special feature - the unravelling of an expat marriage Going through a separation or divorce is especially diﬃcult when a couple is located abroad. What are the pitfalls to look out for? And what advice is there? Expat file - naturally stockholm Stockholm offers an almost perfect mix of urban chic, natural beauty and cultural diversity. An incredibly child-friendly city, Sweden’s capital welcomes kids everywhere. Many expats find it an ideal place to combine both work and play. Kids - When birth comes first Many expats choose to start a family when living abroad. But, when it’s time to give birth, do you stay put and deal with unfamiliar medical services or ﬂy back home to be surrounded by family and friends? * for spouses (B2B subscription)
on a ligHtEr notE Zimbabwe – flushing toilets simultaneously Oﬃcials in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo, have asked all residents to ﬂush their toilets simultaneously at 7.30pm twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. Synchronised ﬂushing is an attempt to help move waste in the ‘old and overburdened’ sanitation system, worsened by a growing urban population, water shortages and a troubled economy.
EffECtivE partnEr support paYs off In the autumn 2012 issue of International HR Adviser we extensively discuss the need for, and the effectiveness of, new strategies in expat partner support. Interested in a copy of this article, email email@example.com
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McNulty: SPOUSES feel ‘invisible’
ROI – short and long term
“I feel that I have given up my real self and become less of a person” is just one of many poignant expat partner quotes in Yvonne McNulty’s new research report 'Being dumped in to sink or swim’: an empirical study of organizational support for the trailing spouse (September 2012). This latest work by the leading international mobility researcher reveals that a lack of professional and social support leaves many expat partners struggling.
The ultimate long-term goal of partner support is to increase mobility. But how do you determine or justify your annual budget for spousal support? Together with our clients, we have developed a formula and tools for estimating the annual ROI of partner support.
Organizational support disappoints spouses The four-year study of 264 trailing spouses in 54 host locations aimed to identify key issues related to the organizational support provided to trailing spouses during expatriation and how important that support is perceived to be. McNulty found that professional support (to address the dual-career issue) and social support (to alleviate marital stress) were perceived by trailing spouses as having the greatest impact on identity re-construction and, in turn, their adjustment. However, both types of support were lacking. “On the whole, findings in our study point to a level of overall organizational support that continues to disappoint trailing spouses, with a strong belief that MNCs are not genuinely interested in their welfare,” she says. The need to address intrinsic adjustment, and assist in the development of a meaningful portable identity, emerged as major findings, according to McNulty.
Research Since 2007, Global Connection has been conducting research to determine the relationship between partner support and mobility (long term) and the success of the assignment (short term). Tools have been developed to measure these relationships. Mobility Being able to get the right person in the right place can be invaluable. Surveys have shown that mobility clearly improves with appropriate spousal support. Impact on assignment success Research has shown that there is a correlation between the extent to which the partner is supported and the success of the expatriation. Taking into account the issue of causation, conservative estimates suggest that for every 1% increase in meeting the spouse’s total need for support, there is a 0.5% increase in the success of the expatriation. A ‘successful expatriation’ is defined as being at least equal to the costs of an expatriation.
Interested in a copy of this report, email firstname.lastname@example.org
SPOUSAL SUPPORT IN EMERGING MARKETS A MUST - THE RES FORUM Ellen Jansma, Global Mobility Manager for HEINEKEN, and Jacqueline van Haaften, Managing Director of Global Connection, gave a presentation about the importance of effective partner support in emerging markets during The RES Forum Symposium in London in September 2012. They highlighted the social, intercultural and labour market challenges which result in a ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ not working. Focusing on effective and targeted partner support (a subject which was included in a recent joint survey conducted by The RES Forum and Global Connection – see our last newsletter) is crucial. The conclusion was this: ‘Emerging markets? Don’t even think of entering them without an effective partner support programme’.
Calculation example For example: the annual cost of an expatriation is € 200,000. The expat partner uses a service that increases the extent to which his/her needs for support are met by 5%; the success of the expatriation increases by 2.5%. In this example, the return is € 5,000 per annum.
The presentation was well received by the attendees: HR and Global Mobility managers of 29 assigning organisations.
Maximising by personalising The ROI can be maximised by providing personalised support packages that fit the partner’s needs (see also page 1).
For more information about The RES Forum: www.theresforum.com, about the presentation: email@example.com
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org Global Connection | December 2012
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Expat Partner Support HR Newsletter EMMa aWard
aBout gloBal ConnECtion
HEINEKEN received an EMMA Award for the Best Family Support Programme from the Forum for Expatriate Management in London in October 2012. This support programme is being executed in partnership with Global Connection (see our last newsletter).
We are an independent, international expat partner support and research organisation.
From left to right: Jacqueline van Haaften, Managing Director Global Connection, Ellen Jansma, Global Mobility Manager for HEINEKEN, Margot van Drempt, Project Manager Global Mobility for HEINEKEN.
dual CarEEr Most diffiCult in usa, india and CHina Research by the Permits Foundation names the USA, India and China as the top three countries to which it is most diﬃcult to transfer expat employees because of partner work permit concerns. Indonesia, Brazil, Malaysia, Japan, Russia, the UK and South Africa complete the top ten. Challenges The Permits Foundation conducted a survey among 177 international employers to learn more about the challenges that organisations face with regard to international dual careers. Among the reasons why it was hard for expat couples to have dual careers in the top three countries, the organisations listed: ‘strict visa rules for spouses who want to work’ in the USA, ‘no permit for an unmarried partner’ in India and ‘unattractive local employment conditions’ in China. Critical for success The survey also shows that being able to transfer employees internationally is critical to business success. Restrictive work permit regimes have a negative effect on the transfer of employees and business outcomes. The Permits Foundation is a non-profit corporate initiative promoting access of expat partners to employment through improvement in work permit regulations. Global Connection is a sponsor of the Permits Foundation. To read the full report, which was published July 2012, visit: www.permitsfoundation.com/home.htm
tHE rEvolution ContinuEs In our last newsletter, we introduced you to two expat partners living in Cape Town, whose non-profit organisation, Red Balloon Revolution, celebrates the lives of needy children with birthday boxes, mentoring sessions, and red balloons. With the launch of their website www.redballoonrevolution.com, the next phase of the revolution is now underway. The site sells articles such as ceramics and baby clothes, all handmade by local artisans. 4
Worldwide partner support We support partners of 80 nationalities in 140 countries. Our services are used by over 250 organisations. We inform and inspire partners in order to contribute to their well-being and mobility, and consequently to the success of their posting. one-stop shop We cover all aspects of partner support: living abroad, including life for expat kids; destinationrelated issues, including culture; networking; paid work and alternatives to paid employment; and repatriation. Our services range from providing information through to individual support. They include: member-only magazines, books and newsletters (print & digital); the Global Connection website, including a members-only portal; workshops and webinars; training and coaching (one-to-one, in groups and online). ongoing support All services and support can be used on an on-going basis, at every stage. research Global Connection executes research into all aspects of partner support. Tailored surveys can also be carried out for expatriating organisations that want to test plans and new initiatives, in order to optimise the support they provide. B2B and B2C Products and services are sold to the assigning organisations, while a range of books can also be ordered directly online. for more information Please visit www.global-connection.info or contact one of our Business Development Managers: Richard Forrest – email@example.com Irma Groenhof – firstname.lastname@example.org Geke van Gurp – email@example.com or our MD: Jacqueline van Haaften – firstname.lastname@example.org
aBout tHis nEWslEttEr This quarterly Global Connection HR Newsletter is produced for all HR, Global Mobility and Talent Managers with an interest in expat partner support. For more information, please contact us at email@example.com
Global Connection | December 2012
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