IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 7, 2004--
Is it an employer's responsibility to be sure employees consult their spouses/partners and consider their thoughts and feelings before accepting a new assignment in a foreign country? Should employers help transferee's spouses/partners find jobs and make friends in the new location?
The answers to these questions may well be "Yes," according to "Many Expatriates, Many Voices: Accompanying Souses and Partners Relocating to the USA," a new study by The Interchange Institute, underwritten by Prudential Relocation, a Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE:PRU) business. The study found that employees on international work assignments have significantly better work experiences when their accompanying spouses/partners were involved in pre-move decision-making and received employer-provided relocation services to help them adjust to the new country and its culture.
The study, based on an online survey, is the second installment of a five-year study covering a variety of topics related to international mobility. It examined the expatriate experiences of individuals and their families who were in the United States on work assignments. Participants' nationalities included Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.
A key finding was that the transferee's work experience - i.e., loyalty to their employer, job satisfaction, productivity, family-related absenteeism, and overall enjoyment of work and co-workers - related directly to their spouse's/partner's level of satisfaction.
In addition, the survey found that adjustment was poor for spouses/partners who did not receive the cross-cultural, language training or career counseling they needed. That, in turn, related to a poor work experience on the part of the transferee. Other important pre-move support identified by the survey respondents - who were mostly women - that may help assure a positive expatriate experience included networking with other expatriate families, a pre-departure trip to the host country, destination services and written materials about the host country.
"The results of this survey point to the need for human resources managers to play a role in the employee's family life to some extent before an international relocation. This, of course, is a new role and one that must be played very carefully," said Margery Marshall, president, Prudential Relocation. "No one wants to be intrusive in an employee's life and marriage, but the overriding finding from our research and that of virtually every other research study available, is that most families appreciate - indeed demand - a company's concerns and involvement when they make an international move."
She added that the survey overturned the current common wisdom that a spouse's ability to complete the daily tasks of living in the host country is all that an employer should be concerned with. "Instead, it is spouses' deeper adjustment - their ability to take care of their families and themselves, and to communicate and radiate a sense of optimism and vigor - that is likely to have the most profound influence on the family and hence on employee's productivity," said Marshall.
Based on the results of the survey, Prudential Relocation recommends:
-- Sponsoring organizations should help families settle into
everyday life and optimize their adjustment at the deepest
level to most profoundly influence the employee's
-- Employers should not assume that an employee would not
consider an international assignment because of his/her family
but should offer international assignments to those who could
do a good job and then provide family support.
-- Employers should not ignore a family's early difficulties
making a relocation transition, assuming that "time will heal
all." The challenges families face are not addressed simply by
the passage of time but by targeted consideration and
-- Employers should consult spouses about their own career plans
during the international assignment and offer career planning
assistance to those who want it.
Jack Keogh, vice president of Global Workforce Development, added, "This ongoing study allows us to tailor our mobility management solutions to meet the needs of our clients, their transferees and families. It helps ensure that our solutions effectively address issues related to productive employee adjustment and directly affect corporate return on expatriate investment."
To download a copy of the survey results, please visit www.prudential.com/referencelibrary.
Prudential Financial's relocation group is the second largest provider of comprehensive global relocation services in the United States as of March 15, 2004, according to Relocation Information Services. In 2003, the company completed approximately 187,000 service transactions to approximately 47,000 transferees.
With locations in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Mexico, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, and Shanghai (in Europe and Asia, Prudential Relocation operates under the Pricoa Relocation brand). Prudential Financial's relocation group has the global capabilities to offer clients a variety of services in connection with the relocation of their employees. These services can include coordination of intra- and inter-country relocations, intercultural training, global business consulting, appraisal, inspection and sale of relocating employees' homes, equity advances to relocating employees, assistance in locating a home at the relocating employee's destination, global household goods moving services and client cost-tracking and a variety of relocation policy and group move consulting services. The company has an established client base, ranging from global Fortune 500 companies to U.S. government agencies. The Global Workforce Development division is a leader in providing global enterprises with innovative solutions to meet their diverse workforce requirements.
Prudential Financial companies, with approximately $470 billion in total assets under management as of September 30, 2004, serve individual and institutional customers worldwide and include The Prudential Insurance Company of America, one of the largest life insurance companies in the United States. These companies offer a variety of products and services, including life insurance, mutual funds, annuities, pension and retirement related services and administration, asset management, securities brokerage, banking and trust services, real estate brokerage franchises and relocation services. For more information, visit www.prudential.com.
CONTACT: Prudential Financial, Inc.
Karen Oliver Howell, 973-802-8533