How do you know if you’ve got the right person for the job?
This article, "5 Red Flags that a Transferee Might not be Successful," explores the responsibility of service providers to alert a client if they foresee a significant problem with a relocating employee. In the article, they discuss the role of cultural trainers, mobility counselors and destination service providers to raise up potential issues that could interfere with a successful assignment.
The article makes some great points about the types of issues that might prevent an assignment from being successful, but the problem is, service providers are brought in after an assignment has been accepted. The offer has been signed and the transfer is already in motion. It’s too late. Very rarely are service providers brought in proactively. And that’s a shame because there are a lot of great candidate assessment tools on the market. Assessments that can help companies determine if a candidate is the right fit and if they’re likely to be successful. However, a lot of companies don’t want to invest the money in candidate assessments. Truth is, companies are stepping over dollars to save dimes.
The pre-assignment selection process needs a lot more attention than it currently gets. In fact, we were working with one company that went back to look at all of the expats they had moved, and they realized that 40% of them were under-performing before the assignment began. The red flags were already there. The question is what due diligence is the company doing before the offer is extended? Are they looking at the performance of this person? Are they doing assessments in advance? Are they crystal clear on the expectations while they’re there? The reality is that more time and money need to be spent to determine if you’ve got the right person in the first place.
Once an assignment gets underway, the focus shifts to making sure it stays successful and if things start to veer off course, identifying ways to correct that.
One of the best ways to keep a pulse on an ongoing assignment is a mentorship program. A mentor (who is not their manager) can check in periodically to coach the assignee through the process, see how things are going, and find out if their expectations are being met. And importantly, identify when further support is needed.
Often, the most difficult thing about correcting an assignment that’s going off track is knowing that it’s happening. It can be hard to identify. A lot of people suffer in silence. A solid mentorship program and ongoing communication with the mobility team can be the bridge to identifying and correcting potential issues before they become big problems.
Nobody can see the future, but sometimes when you look back at all of the clues, you realize you should have. Not everyone is cut out to move their lives to another country. An assignee might have a problem adjusting, or an inflexible or dysfunctional family. An assignee may be out of his or her depth and not be as ready to climb up the corporate ladder as upper management thinks. Or maybe there are circumstances beyond everyone’s control. So what do you do if you believe a transferee is likely to fail?