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HR’s role in protecting assignees

When it comes to protecting the safety of globally mobile employees it is paramount that employers provide their workforce with proper care whilst on assignment, and assess the risks prior to the overseas assignment commencing. There are numerous threats which can impact an assignee when abroad, and with 50.7% of organisations having experienced a health and safety incident where the assignee was affected in 2015, the importance of HR protecting the safety of global assignees has further improved. Some of the key issues impacting the safety of globally mobile employees include a heightened global terrorism threat, natural disasters and medical endemics. As a result, there is a greater need to focus on compliance risks, as well as personal safety. At Santa Fe Relocation, we are taking a closer look at how HR can provide support and help to protect the safety of globally mobile employees.

Strategic planning

Strategic planning is closely associated with HR management, and is a component that cannot be missed in order to protect the safety of globally mobile employees. In order to action strategic planning, businesses must work closely with corporate travel providers or expense management teams to identify where employees have been travelling to and the total duration of the time spent living overseas. This way, management can prepare ahead of any compliance risks in the event that an issue occurs, which is especially important when it comes to corresponding with immigration laws and identifying tax requirements.

Personal security & health

In order to protect the safety of globally mobile employees, HR must ensure that the employer has a duty of care in place to cover pre-departure and on-location training for the employee, including their family where appropriate. Moreover, in order to protect the safety of globally mobile employees, HR must put together a crisis management team to oversee the implementation of the action plan as explained within the security policy should anything go wrong. As well as improving the safety of employees, the crisis management team can help prevent damage to your reputation depending on the seriousness of the crisis. Further to this, the employee and their family, if necessary, must be provided with a security briefing so that they have a clear understanding of the potential risks involved in moving abroad and how they can access support should they need it.

Before the assignment

Before the assignment even begins, HR plays a large role in protecting the safety of globally mobile employees. Pre-assignment, it is HR who assesses the risk in the host location to construct the ideal relocation package. At this stage, HR can provide access to the relevant advice from tax, immigration and social security professionals alike to ensure the trip is as seamless as possible.

During the assignment

Many businesses believe that protecting the safety of globally mobile employees stops there, but that is not the case. During the assignment, it is HR who must check in regularly with the employee to ensure that they are content, safe and, most importantly, comfortable in the host location. In the event that they are not happy with the host location, HR can direct them accordingly, and regularly review the security risks and relocation provisions for up to twelve months to ensure that the safety of globally mobile employees is solid.

When they return

Businesses often forget to consider the role of the expat when they return, which is why it is paramount that planning starts at least six months in advance of the planned assignment end date. In the same way, businesses must also consider further training or counselling required to prepare the employee for their return, which is just as important as providing them with the relevant training required to adjust to a new place of home and lifestyle prior to the initial move. As well as ensuring the relevant training is provided to employees, HR can protect the safety of globally mobile employees by ensuring final tax and relevant social security filings are made.

From checking in with the employee on a regular basis and ensuring they are content, to planning the role of the expatriate when they return home are just a few ways in which HR can help protect the safety of globally mobile employees.

If you are considering relocating an employee abroad on an assignment, and you want to discuss how we can help you on the moving day, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our friendly expert team today.

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