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It seems like putting the cart before the horse, but it’s important to have a repatriation plan before you leave the United States and start your assignment in a foreign country. In many cases, expats on assignment are high performers or future leaders, and it’s important that both a professional and personal plan are in place for when they relocate back to their home country.

Crown hears most often about the issue of high attrition rates in returning assignees – often as high as three times the company average. The employee comes back to his home country and is either shoe-horned into a role that happened to be open, or returns to the same role they were in before their assignment. This often leads to demotivation at work and a feeling that all of their new global skills are being wasted – which at the end, they are. Capitalizing on the employer’s investment means retaining a productive employee for the duration of the assignment and well beyond. Otherwise the employer becomes the global training ground for your competitors.

To sum up, it’s important for everyone to think about moving back home by considering the following:

  • Make sure to keep in touch with colleagues, friends and family back in the U.S.A.
  • Ask your employer to allow a home and host country professional mentor to help identify possible roles in the host country facility
  • Providing repatriation training for the entire family before they move out of the host country
  • Providing assignment-related return on investment education for the company’s HR and management teams who are leading repatriating employees on how to utilize the new skill set they bring to the role
  • Creating a corporate imperative for global competencies
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