Expat Satisfaction Directly Related to Spousal Satisfaction

December 8, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Expatriates now working in this US have significantly better work experiences if accompanying an partner or spouse had input into the move, according to a recent survey.

Better work experiences were also the common result when partners or spouses received employer-provided relocation services, the study – “Many Expatriates, Many Voices: Accompanying Spouses and Partners Relocating to the USA” – says. Conducted by The Interchange Institute and underwritten by Prudential Relocation, the survey shows that overall work experience – measured by enjoyment of work and co-workers, loyalty, job satisfaction, productivity, and family-related absenteeism – related directly to their spouse’s or partner’s level of satisfaction.

On the topic of spousal or partner-related relocation services, the survey found that adjustment was poor for those who did not receive language, cultural and career counseling. Low satisfaction on the part of a spouse or partner more often than not lead to low satisfaction for a worker. Networking with other expatriate families, destination services, and pre-departure trips to the host country all increase a spouse’s or partner’s eventual satisfaction.

Based on the results of the survey, Prudential Relocation recommends:

  • Sponsoring organizations should help families settle into everyday life and optimize their adjustment at the deepest level to most profoundly influence the employee’s productivity.
  • Employers should not assume that an employee would not consider an international assignment because of his/her family but should offer international assignments to those who could do a good job and then provide family support.
  • Employers should not ignore a family’s early difficulties making a relocation transition, assuming that “time will heal all.” The challenges families face are not addressed simply by the passage of time but by targeted consideration and planning.
  • Employers should consult spouses about their own career plans during the international assignment and offer career planning assistance to those who want it.

The survey, conducted online, examined expatriate experiences of individuals and their families who were in the US on work assignments. Respondents came from over 20 countries.

A copy of the survey results is at www.prudential.com/referencelibrary . Click on Global Survey Results: Many Expatriates, Many Voices located under “Global Mobility.” A free registration is required.