While we further explore the intricacies of the employee/expat experience, surveys such as this conducted by HSBC, help us absorb (mostly) unbiased feedback that is crucial to our exploration. There can be major discrepancies between what companies think their employees want and need and what their employees actually want and need. These survey results can open the window to see how companies are stacking up to actual versus reality. Relocation has a high emotional impact on a person or family’s life and companies (both their employers and relocation management companies) have spent decades attempting to find the “winning” formula to create a great experience, produce high employee productivity and happiness levels, while respecting and maintaining the company’s bottom line.
According to this survey, there are eight categories of responses to the phrase, “Expat life is…,” and they range from positive to negative emotions: great, challenging, interesting, exciting, rewarding, different, better and difficult. The article explains how an expat’s journey incorporates most or all of these:
- Exciting: Great Expectations
- There’s nothing more exciting, and sometimes scary, than the unknowns of an upcoming adventure. Soon-to-be expats envision how their lives will be different in every aspect and that can lead to some great expectations.
- Difficult: Culture Shock
- Culture shock, regardless of the severity, is no easy feat to experience. The result can be negative emotions such as depression or homesickness or even regret of the expat’s decision to move. We all need to be aware of how culture shock can affect an expat’s experience.
- Different: A Learning Curve
- Different doesn’t almost mean bad. Sometimes different means exciting, challenging, rewarding or difficult. One thing is sure, the expat will experience different. How they react determines if it’ll be a positive or negative experience.
- Challenging: A Road Ahead
- Isn’t life full of challenges in general? The answer is, of course yes, however living as an expat brings a different set of challenges that not everyone encounters in their lifetime. Although their challenges seem difficult at first, the most likely outcome will be growth both professionally and personally, and that is what we would call rewarding!
- Rewarding: Reaping the Benefits
- Once your expat employee realizes they’ve gone through these varying emotions, they will feel a rewarding sense of accomplishment. When an employee feels accomplished and proud, their productivity is sure to sail and morale to be high.
If employee experience is of high importance for a company, paying attention to all emotions that can be involved is critical. Accommodating resources and benefits should be top of mind when designing not only the relocation program, but any employee-touching process. If you’re wondering what else you and your company can do to excel the employee journey, check out our whitepaper The Happy Customer Equation.
In the HSBC Expat Explorer survey, 16,000 expats completed the phrase "Expat life is..." with a word that reflected their own experience.