Preparing the outward journey, handling the comeback. International mobility in the era of the global market
March 14, 2017
In his book Anatomy of Restlessness, English writer Bruce Chatwin assembled various pieces of his life as a traveler, an explorer and a narrator (among the multiple other aspects of his being), wondering: “Why do I become restless after a month in a single place, unbearable after two?”.
Issues that have to do with traveling, its value, its risks and its opportunities, not only have inspirerd writers as well as poets, but are increasingly under the magnifying lens of research. For example, a professional within his career path will find interesting implications regarding international mobility when it comes to management.
An in-depth analysis of this topic can be found in the Challenges for expatriates returning: measures and approaches for a successful reintegration of employees in financial organizations, published in the «Law and Economics Yearly Review» by Mirella Pellegrini and Nunzio Casalino, along with strategy consultant Vanessa Krause.
International assignments within multinational companies are becoming increasingly important for modern businesses: look no further than the number of so-called ‘expatriates’, which has grown by 25% in the last 10 years (source: ECA International). That is exactly why a profound reflection is needed on the process of integrating professionals in foreign companies, without neglecting the dynamics that could be triggered upon their return, before and during their placement back into the company.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the risks and opportunities associated with these processes by providing appropriate actions to be taken actively and continuously by the respective companies. Even a professional with a fair degree of expertise will find that having to enter into a new working and cultural context is never a simple operation. In the current reality, companies will find it useful to devise processes for approaching the ‘mission’, with support phases during the period abroad and for a gradual reintroduction upon the employee’s return, with every one of these steps associated to a continuous exchange with the worker itself, accompanied by a constant sharing on results and the importance of the project for the whole social sphere.
However, every aspect needs to be taken into account and one needs to be prepared to a difficult return, by providing practices for preventive reinstatement. Then, an initial period of gradual reintroduction may be useful, especially from the point of view of those responsibilities that will be assigned following the return. A good reintegration represents the closing of the circle of a personal and professional experience that has been positive for all those involved in the process.