Have you had employees request to go on an international assignment, regardless of the business need? This is becoming a trend that we are starting to see, and most companies aren’t quite sure how to support these “hand-raising” assignees.

Over the years, employee-initiated, one-way relocations have became popular, especially among the younger, mobile generation. Now it seems it’s starting to rub off on the jet-setting employees who are looking for international experience, just maybe not wanting it to be permanent.

For starters, when deciding the level of assignment support to provide to these hand-raisers, consider your company culture. Are employee experience and satisfaction highly important, or is your philosophy more focused on the bottom line, with support only provided if it makes sense for the business? The answer to this question greatly determines the level of support to provide to this assignee population.

The amount of support that employees receive also differs depending on where the assignee is going. Assignees in the Netherlands and Switzerland are supported the most when compared to expats in China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the UAE, the UK and the U.S, according to a recent study from InterNations Business Solutions. Expats in the Netherlands and Switzerland also report a higher level of happiness with their assignment. Coincidence? Probably not. Conversely, assignees in the UK report that they are less happy and receive less assignment support from their employers.

While employees are not feeling that they are extensively supported during assignments, relocating spouses feel even less supported. Studies have shown that international assignments are more successful when the family is supported and satisfied. The satisfaction of the spouse can have a large impact on the assignee and the success of the assignment — for better or worse — so the level of support provided to the family should be considered when designing your hand-raising assignment package.

Given the competitiveness of the global talent market today, staying ahead of the curve can give you an advantage compared to your competition, and ultimately help with talent acquisition and retention. Considering the support for hand-raisers can help set your mobility program up for success in the future.

For more, check out our survey report on hand-raisers