How to prepare for a successful international assignment?

November 28, 2022 |

5 stages HRs should consider before expatriate deployment

International assignment can be complex for employers and HR professionals to manage. The overall cost of an assignment within the ever-changing global business landscape as well as the individual needs of the relocating employees must be considered.

By preparing and investing in the right processes from the start, the HR professionals can avoid wasting money and resources. This might include not only revenue but also talent loss, as employees might leave the company in case of a failed assignment.

Depending on diverse factors, such as the duration or the location of an international assignment, the personal circumstances and the needs of the employees, the preparation stage can be different from case to case.

To ensure a smooth transition for your expatriate employees, pre-assignment management should cover some essential stages:


International assignment assessment

When it comes to international assignment, businesses need to be clear about what objectives they want to achieve. How important are the goals of the assignment? What are the risks and potential rewards? What kind of resources will be required? Are you looking at a short-term or a long-term assignment? Do you need someone with specific and specialised expertise or someone who is very adaptable to new cultural environments?

Answering these questions is crucial to making sure your business gets the most out of its international assignments.


C&B package

Attracting the most eligible candidates for a position abroad means you need to provide a relevant compensation package. One that is attractive enough to incentivize them. This might include a salary that is at least equal to what they would earn in their home country.

Moreover, it may also include other expenses such as relocation costs or a cost of living allowance. This will ensure that the employee does not have to worry about any financial issues. Instead, they can focus on the new job.

A relevant C&B package is important for a successful international assignment

Candidate assessment

A good way to prevent future issues is by taking the time to assess the candidates and make sure they are suitable. Make sure they have the right qualifications and skill set, and the ability to handle specific challenges for the job or location.

The selection can be carried out based on various assessments of:

  • the potential candidates’ capabilities,
  • career plan
  • mental well-being
  • their level of cultural sensitivity and how prepared they are to adapt to new cultures.


Key challenges evaluation

Before actual deployment, you need to research the challenges that are specific to that assignment, the host country and the employee. Thus, you will be aware of any changes that may happen before they affect the deployment of the expatriate.

Some of the key legal challenges that need to be considered before deploying an expatriate may include:

  • immigration and visa laws
  • labor and employment laws
  • tax laws and regulations

In addition, you will also need to be aware of any cultural differences that may exist between the host country and the employee’s home country.

Legal challenges are essential to be researched before an international assignment.

It is important to take all of these factors into account in order to ensure a successful international assignment.


International assignment training

Develop a pre-assignment training, created not only for the expatriate employees, but also for their accompanying family members. They will get the chance to familiarize themselves with the host country they’re going to. The training may include intercultural training sessions, coaching sessions for spouses and kids, or basic and practical details on transportation, education services, and other essentials, etc.

This preparation is crucial in ensuring a smooth transition for everyone involved.



International assignment can be a great opportunity for businesses to expand their reach and grow their operations. However, in order to make the most of these opportunities, it is important to plan ahead and take the necessary steps to ensure a smooth transition for the expatriates.

By following the tips we’ve outlined in this article, you can avoid many of the common issues that often arise during relocation.


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