Selection and Retention: Evaluating Return on Investment for International Assignments

Selection and Retention: Evaluating Return on Investment for International Assignments

Performance Management
Measures are needed as international mobility becomes more prevalent. Although international mobility is more commonplace and expected to surpass the volume of traditional domestic move programs within the next 10 years, none of the companies surveyed have a tool in place to measure Return on Investment (ROI). In addition, a majority of organizations do not have a formal candidate assessment process, career path, and/or assimilation plan designed for assignees.

According to a recent industry survey, 48% of repatriated U.S. assignees leave the company within two (2) years of return from assignment. With relocation costs estimated near three times the annual base salary per year on assignment, greater emphasize should be placed on the human capital. As with any other investment, ensuring proper candidate selection, coupled with a long-term development strategy is paramount.

Best Practices: Repatriation
A Candidate Assessment tool analyzes a candidate and family’s suitability along with readiness to take on an assignment, increasing the probability of a successful mission. Further, the tool can create an internal pool of candidates for future international assignments. Once a candidate is selected, the following techniques may be beneficial:

  • Clearly define the scope and strategic reasons for the transfer
  • Integrate assignees/returnees more effectively onto teams
  • Define performance measures specific to the assignment
  • Institute a Knowledge Sharing / Networking outlet which communicates lessons learned while on assignment with colleagues
  • Establish roles and responsibilities for key populations with regard to career planning and repatriation program

Survey Results
Which factors are considered when selecting a candidate for a global assignment?

Business Need91%
Skill Level82%
Succession Planning27%

Do you utilize a candidate assessment tool?


Does your program include a provision for employee career counseling?


If career counseling is available, which forms of assistance apply?

Pre-Planned position upon return50%

What forms of assistance are available to the employee upon repatriation?

Employee Assistance Program78%
Formal cultural reorientation program22%
Third-party counseling44%

Do you have a formalized measurement tool to determine Return on Investment:


Survey Participation
The data represents a cross-section of results from 11 corporate relocation professionals with international assignment volume in a variety of global locations.