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DI's HR Master class

HR Master class confirms the importance of offering 'soft' expatriate services

Supporting People recently attended DI’s Global HR Master class which focused on the subject of global mobility. The master class combined presentations, open dialogues amongst participants and a round table discussion with Helen Di Cieri, a Professor and leading expert within the global mobility field from Monash University, Australia and Dana Minbaeva, Professor in Strategic and Global HRM from CBS.

Professor Di Cieri presented an insightful presentation of global mobility trends and changes in expatriate movement and assignment objectives. She reported that although traditional, long term assignments are more costly, this type of assignment is still very popular with the Danes. Needless to say, the high costs involved in this more traditional type of assignment means that the many aspects of the assignment have to be handled correctly in order to ensure return on investment.

The discussions towards the end of the workshop were inspiring as they focused on what to offer expatriates and their families that come to Denmark. How do we best secure companies’ investment and gain optimal work performance from the expatriate during their stay? Brainstorming on the subject lead to cultural training, expatriate partner support and language training as the main areas where an effort should be made and services should be offered. Professor Di Cieri commented that these three issues were universal, in that they were topics that were considered important regardless of which country that was being discussed.

Cultural training, expatriate partner support and language training may at first seem like ‘soft services’, or non-essential in comparison to help with housing, tax returns, and so on, however offering these services may make the difference in the success of an expatriation.

"When you consider what is entailed with moving a family abroad and then supporting their acclimation once they are there, there really isn't anything 'soft' about these services."

Lauren Herring, President of Global services for IMPACT Group, St. Louis, Missouri.