Back home: The most challenging assignment

When an employee goes abroad, they have the challenge of adapting to a new culture and pace of life. It is a challenge that forces them to leave their comfort zone no matter the destination, especially if they have a family.

A relocated employee anticipates, prepares himself, and has the company’s and close circle’s support, making the process easier. However, if the time has come for that same employee to return home, a new conflict arises: What will the return home be like?

Let’s think about a person from an Asian culture with customs that are sometimes very rigid compared to a Western country. This person has most likely learned other behaviors that are not valued in their country as they are in ours, and it may be a shock for them to return home and find it challenging to stabilize again.

Or on the other hand, someone from a Western country who has lived in an Eastern country may experience being judged negatively for the behavior they have learned when they return home.

It is not easy and about more than just learning a culture. Living in another country involves personal growth and adopting a new version of the one who left.

This can be daunting, but returning home also requires preparation similar to what you had before you left. Feeling less foreign in the homeland is also an experience and should be the most successful transition.


This is more than just an article. It is a helpful guide; here’s what you can do.
In personal terms:
1. Mix cultures.

The richness of each country can be adapted to everyday life. If you cultivate a new cultural style and find a middle ground, you will have a varied context as long as it is accepted in the environment you now live in.


2. Honor the new you

You changed; it’s a fact, you experienced a new approach, and maybe people close to you don’t understand you, but having a clear understanding of yourself is essential for others to adapt.


In the workplace:

Professional growth is inherent to the foreign assignment experience; this generates expectations in the employee about advancing his career upon his return to the home country, although he only sometimes gets it.

Companies should consider the global vision acquired by their assignees and take it to their advantage, ensuring that the employee returns and remains in the organization. Taking advantage of the new knowledge gained is crucial to maintain the link with the foreigner.

Providing the employee with a suitable job will allow for better performance of skills and capabilities. It should be noted that when an assignee returns, they lose certain financial benefits previously part of the relocation package. Now the company needs to compensate for the “lost” incentives.

In general, the aim is to reduce the stress of repatriation as much as possible. Employees must be necessary at all stages of their careers in the organization. As companies take care of their human capital, this will transform the company’s growth.


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