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HR’s Crucial Role in Successful Expat Assignments

Nicole Lindenbaum by Nicole Lindenbaum   July 11 2017

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In her recent article for Harvard Business Review, Katia Vlachos describes how to avoid the potential challenges that companies and employees often face with expatriate assignments. In Making Your Expat Assignment Easier On Your Family, Vlachos explains that many of these assignments, which usually require a costly move, don’t yield a return on investment because of early termination or underperformance.


To help employees prepare for and manage an international transfer, the article outlines a multistep process for employees and their families to help them smoothly transition into their new home and lifestyle. This work is important for employees and their families to do together, but support from HR is also crucial for employees. Below, we highlight the major role that HR can play in successful international transfers.

How HR Supports Employees in Expat Assignments

HRs-Crucial-Role-in-Successful-Expat-Assignments.pngA streamlined HR process for expats can effectively prepare employees for their assignments.

An HR Service Delivery Platform can help HR provide personalized content for individual employees and assist with logistics - without HR having to put in a lot of time and custom work. Based on employee information stored in the HRIS, processes can be contextualized and automated, saving HR valuable time while providing employees with tailored service.

Employees can easily search for and find information to help them make informed choices with their families. Knowledge portals offer readily accessible and personalized content to employees, including information about their potential new country, places to live, their new role, and travel logistics, such as visa information. Additionally, HR can send employees a task to view specific knowledge portal content that they may not think of to search for on their own.


The Power of an Automated HR Process

Once an employee accepts an expat assignment, HR can support them through an automated international transfer process so that every step of the way is accounted for and efficiently managed. An automated HR process will walk employees through every necessary task to ensure their success, from notifying managers of a start date and arranging for a new work space to giving an employee access to their new shared drive or sending them course information if their new role requires new skills.


Without process automation, how can you ensure that every task is clearly outlined for employees, managers, and additional key stakeholders? How do you ensure that each step of the process is taken? And how do you ensure your employee feels like they’ve been guided through the right steps? An HR Service Delivery Platform can automate your process so that every step is managed, while providing your HR team with the benefits of less manual work, saved time, and a reduced risk of errors.


Accepting an expat assignment involves a lot of moving parts and a long to-do list, and HR can make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. HR’s support during such a large work and life change can ensure that your employees have everything they need, making their transition easier and setting them up for success.

See How PeopleDoc Process Automation  Solution Supports Agile HR Teams
See How PeopleDoc Process Automation  Solution Supports Agile HR Teams
Nicole Lindenbaum
Nicole Lindenbaum

Nicole Lindenbaum is the Director of Product Marketing at PeopleDoc. She writes and speaks about HR service delivery, HR technology, digital transformation, and the future of work. With significant experience in enterprise software, Nicole has worked in both HR technology and document management software.

Nicole holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Syracuse University and a Master of Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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