Employee engagement is a hot topic for companies in 2018 and employers are increasingly looking at innovative ways to keep workforces motivated, particularly in the context of the continued uncertainty of what Brexit will mean, in practical terms, for employees across the UK and beyond.
Employers realise that in order to attract and retain top talent they need to adapt working conditions and offerings to meet the evolving needs of the modern employee.
People no longer enter a job for life in their 20s and remain there until it’s time to retire. Nowadays people expect more from their career.
They want flexible working conditions and a fairer work/life balance. People are more global in their outlook and recognise the value that international work experience can add to their CV, in some cases significantly enhancing their future career prospects.
The value of offering access to international assignments is recognised by employers too, and we are seeing a growing number looking to ensure that access to such opportunities is included as part of their overall career development programmes.
We recently carried out a survey among corporate clients of Allianz Care to gain an insight into the key challenges and concerns facing employers today, and to find out which company benefits employees value the most.
The results very much supported this increased focus on international experience, with the majority (70 per cent) of companies stating that they believed offering expat assignments increased staff loyalty to the employer.
While it’s still unclear exactly what post-Brexit reality will look like, it’s worth employers bearing that figure in mind and taking action now to prepare for the reality of offering such international opportunities to their staff into the future.
Expat assignments can be a hugely rewarding experience, not only for employees, but also for their families, for whom it may mean a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend time living in a different country and immersing themselves in a new culture.
However, it is not enough for companies to simply offer these international assignments and send employees and their families on their way.
The reality of uprooting an entire family and re-locating to a new and unfamiliar country is not always straightforward, so it’s vital that employers ensure they are supported every step of the way in order to ensure a successful expat assignment.
The importance of this support was emphasised in the findings of our research, with 97 per cent of respondents saying the two most important factors to get right when it comes to a successful assignment abroad are the happiness of the employee's spouse and children, and pre-relocation support.
Delivering expat programmes certainly requires a commitment from employers. But judging from the findings of this research, the hard work is well worth it, in terms of both attracting and retaining top talent, and increasing staff loyalty.
Claire Cusack is director of human resources at Allianz Care