The Importance of Repatriation Services on International Assignments

Cezar de Paula, Jessica La Torre


The purpose of this paper is to investigate the real cost of neglecting international assignees during the repatriation process. It analyzes multinational corporations’ (MNCs) specific human resource needs for international relocation services. It enumerates and describes services provided by international relocation companies and argues for the inclusion of repatriation services into the overall assignment strategy. Furthermore, it examines the cost effectiveness of these services in increasing employee retention post-repatriation, especially given the high turnover rate of returning employees who struggle with reverse culture shock.
Unfortunately, a common misconception is that purchasing repatriation services adds needless cost to already expensive short-term projects. However, returning employees are classically already highly skilled subject matter experts, and they return with newly acquired insight into business practices within the host country. As such, there is tremendous opportunity for parent company managers and decision makers to innovate better, more competitive practices by simply incorporating a re-entry strategy. This paper argues that MNC managers should not only be sensitive to the exodus of returning assignees, but that by investing in a repatriation plan, companies increase the likelihood of retaining precious talent.
Recent developments regarding Britain’s vote to exit the Eurozone suggests companies are uncertain as to future exit and repatriation strategies, and the fact that there is sparse literature on this topic, demonstrates the need for further research.

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