We all know that international relocation can be a challenging and emotive experience. The highs and lows can be overwhelming and while the experience for the majority is generally very positive, there can be days when the going gets tough. It is on those days that the accessibility and quality of relocation support makes all the difference. 

In this weeks podcast Ines Nascimento shares her personal and professional experience as an international HR expert and expat.

When organizational support does not meet expectations the following comments can be heard….

But… they just don’t get it… don’t care…… are not interested…… keep making mistakes…….have left us in limbo.

They being representative of the people who are connected with relocation support either in-house or from any relocation support provider.

Of course, it is not all bad. I also hear stories of fantastic support and great service provision. What differentiates the good from the bad? I believe it has a lot to do with the way in the service provisions are delivered.

Timely provision that relates to the needs of the assignee and family obviously helps. Empathy and compassion provides the icing on the cake. But here’s the catch. Empathy and compassion comes from a place of interest and understanding – an understanding of the employee experience.

This can be a problem when support is provided by people who have not lived abroad themselves or are simply not interested or trained sufficiently to understand the practical and emotional challenges of relocation.

In this weeks, Thriving Abroad Podcast I talk to Ines Nascimento, a global HR mobility professional who truly understands both sides of the relocation coin because both have featured as part of her life.

As an HR specialist, Ines worked in global mobility roles in Portugal. Then she, together with her husband decided they wanted to experience life outside of Portugal. They set off with very clear intentions. To experience life in two widely contrasting cultures.

They moved first to the US, secondly China. Their mission: to get into the real soul of each country. No expat bubble for them. They spent four years in Tennessee USA, and then moved to a Tier 2 city in China.

Ines shares her experience on the podcast saying:

‘It’s a transformative experience in my opinion. A unique way of challenging yourself. Getting to know yourself better. Knowing you can thrive in almost any environment if you put your focus and your energy well into that. It changes you professionally and personally too.

But beyond this, the goal for Ines was to use this opportunity to keep up with her career and add competencies and skills to her CV.

As a result, this expat experience gave her a unique perspective and insight into the experience of international assignees.

Ines conclusion: often the issues of discussion in global mobility seem disconnected to the real issues and lived challenges of the assignee and their family. Ines believes there is work to be done on aligning these two perspectives.. which was music to my ears as co/author of the book THRIVING ABROAD: The definitive guide to professional and personal relocation success.

Ines highlights the three core challenges she believes HR/GM face. As she says, nothing new or revolutionary…. but areas that are crucially important in setting employees up for success during and after their assignment:

  • Identifying the right person to send abroad
  • Adjustment of the accompanying family
  • Repatriation planning

We talk about her perspective on these three challenges and Ines’ advice for both the organization and employee. Ines was keen to emphasise that getting this right depends on both the organization and employee accepting ‘it is a mutual responsibility.’

To learn more about Ines you can visit her website HERE.

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Buy our book THRIVING ABROAD: The definitive guide to professional and personal relocation success

‘I love this book……. I cannot see how anyone can argue that it is anything other than impeccably useful. It is almost surprising this type of book has never been written before…..this ought to be an industry set text.

 Review in TheHRDirector by Michelle Parry Slater.