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Mobility 1.0 | Defining the Scope of an International Assignment

Liane Cheyne |
August 11, 2020

One of the most fundamental mistakes that organizations make when arranging an international assignment is not clearly defining the scope and purpose of the assignment from the outset.

Without this, success cannot be easily measured, and the intended purpose or outcome can be lost. In order to ensure that overseas assignments bring a good Return on Investment (ROI) and deliver the desired results, it is necessary to be specific about the assignment purpose and expected outcomes.

When determining the scope and purpose of an assignment, there are key areas to be considered:

  • Intended assignment length.

    Is this a permanent or temporary relocation? Some organizations require employees to relocate on a permanent basis to fill a specific skills gap in an overseas location, while others need an employee to fulfil a time-limited gap or spearhead a project. It is important to take this into consideration, even if there is a chance that circumstances could change.

  • The business objective.

    What is the organization looking to gain from the assignment? There are numerous reasons why an overseas assignment may be required such as establishing a presence in a new geographic region, or to expand knowledge and experience within the organization. The business objective should be well-defined along with well-defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure the assignment will yield the expected ROI and fulfil the intended business need.

  • The individual objectives for the employee

    What is the intended outcome/goal for the assignee? Not only can individual objectives play a large role in attracting employees to undertake international assignments, but they also contribute significantly to employee retention both during and after the assignment. Relocation assignments are expensive. Ensuring successful completion of an assignment and retaining talent after an assignment is complete are both key factors in determining ROI.

    Without clear definition assignments can fail to meet their desired objectives, resulting in long-term consequences for both the organization and the assignee. Yet with adequate planning and preparation, international assignments can be of enormous value to both.

    Let’s Talk!
    There are numerous resources available to help organizations of all sizes plan successful global assignments and maximize their investment, particularly during these challenging times. Please contact us to schedule a call or virtual meeting to explore how we can assist with your global mobility program.

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