Out of sight, out of mind: Retain overseas talent

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As we’re well into the new year, with spring just around the corner, employees in the UK can feel revitalised to finally take a leap and find a new role. HR is all too aware of the dangers this time of year presents and can focus its efforts on retention.

Having quality talent overseas, that knows the business, foreign market, opportunities and threats, can make or break an organisation. Head-hunters are all too aware of the value of excellent overseas candidates, with many using the new year as an ice-breaker to encourage talent to seek new opportunities elsewhere. So, what can employers do to make sure they retain their overseas talent?

  1. Sell the benefits

In the recruitment phase, it’s important that employers are excellent at selling the role and benefits to secure a candidate. This also needs to continue once that person is in role, when they’re focusing on the job, and talks of attractive benefits can become a distant memory. So it is crucial that businesses remind employees about the benefits available to them and encourage take-up. Our research found that 54% of employers said “offering health and wellbeing support to staff abroad is important for recruitment and retention”, which means that nearly half are missing a trick by not making the most of this opportunity. Employees who work abroad expect to be well looked after and competitors are all too eager to show how they can do just that.

Effective communication is important in letting staff know what benefits are available to them, before they jump ship without fully realising what they had in the first place. Total reward statements, targeted emails and posters around the office, all serve as reminders about the benefits on offer and can aid take-up rates. It could make the difference between an employee deciding to stay or not.

  1. Provide holistic support

Employee benefits are much more than just money off a dentistry bill. Employees want benefits to look after the mental, physical and overall wellbeing of themselves and their loved ones. Whether working abroad for the first time or having taken on multiple roles around the globe before, support can be beneficial at any point.

Employees and their dependants may still feel unsettled if they haven’t established themselves in the community yet. Or the realities of working in a different country, with longer hours and different weather conditions from home, can take its toll. So, any benefits that can provide transitionary or ongoing support can be greatly valued. A global employee assistance programme (EAP) for example, can enable employees and their families to talk to someone who has been through the same situation and highlight local community groups they can join to help them feel more settled. This can greatly aid retention rates, as the temptation to pack everything up and return home to the familiar is lessened.

  1. Support mental health

Whilst conversations around mental health are increasingly commonplace in the UK, it can remain a taboo subject abroad. Although EAPs can provide an excellent service in supporting mental health concerns, they may go under-utilised if employees feel uncomfortable accessing them. It’s important for employers to reiterate that EAP support is completely confidential, to help alleviate fears of potential repercussions at work. Employees who are aware of the service, and understand the value it can add, are much more likely to stay with an employer – rather than changing role, to try and escape the mental health pressures they may experience.

With so many different benefits available, its important employees truly understand what is on offer to them and how it can positively impact their lifestyles. Failing to communicate this effectively, potentially leaves

About Sarah_Dennis

Sarah Dennis Head of International, The Health Insurance Group

Sarah Dennis is Head of International at The Health Insurance Group, which she joined in 2014 following over 17 years working as a consultant and in senior management roles in international health insurance companies including Jelf Group, Norwich Union Healthcare (Aviva UK), HealthCare International, Goodhealth Worldwide Ltd. (Aetna Global Benefits) and RSA.

Winner of the International Intermediary of the Year 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2015 and Highly Commended in 2009, 2012 and 2016, in the Health Insurance & Protection Awards -  Sarah is a speaker, committee member and contributor to both global industry conferences and international publications.

Sarah is responsible for corporate international private medical insurance and expatriate cover, and the development of exclusive products for SMEs and expatriate groups.



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