Building Engagement with Mobile Employees Part 1: The Costs of Disengaged Employees

Too often, employers focus intently on the employee experience during the relocation for a global assignment—were their belongings shipped in one piece, do they have the cultural training and support, is housing taking care of—only to neglect that same employee’s experience after they’ve completed that assignment. Essentially, that means the assignment gets treated as a break from the normal day-to-day, with the expectation that the employee goes back to business as usual once they’ve helped the company meet its objectives.

But the thing is, after their assignment, they’re not the same employee with the same skill sets—they’ve grown and expect their career within the organization to progress with them. That means if you aren’t putting the same care and attention into helping the employee acclimate into their next role after they have completed an assignment, and showing them how that experience fits into their career path, you’re likely to have a disengaged employee on your hands, and your mobility program is likely to miss out on retaining that employee. According to SHRM, “the cost of a three-year international assignment can easily exceed $3 million.” With double-digit repatriation attrition facing many organizations, the losses are staggering.

To that end, if you focus on employee engagement throughout the mobility lifecycle, you can build on the initial engagement that comes from being selected for a global assignment, and turn it into an employee performance and engagement driver.

In this three-part blog series, we’ll teach you how.


The Three Pillars of Engagement

Employee engagement stems from the emotional attachments someone has with their manager, their team, and their job. It goes without saying, when an employee is engaged, they perform better. They’re more willing to go the extra mile. They’re the high-performance, high-potential employees you send on those critical global assignments. Engagement is the thread of the needle from mobility through on-boarding to ongoing professional development. It’s a circle.

Over the past decade, Gallup research has consistently found that companies with more engaged employees also see better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability than companies with disengaged employees. LinkedIn has gone on to further estimate that those disengaged employees cost their employers 34% of their salary in lost productivity. If your company has 1,000 employees and 13% are disengaged (as per the current Gallup findings), and each makes $60,000, that means disengaged employees could be costing you $2.6 million per year. And that’s before they quit and you incur recruitment costs.

So, what are the key factors that determine an employee’s engagement? They boil down to three distinct stages in the employee lifecycle: on-boarding, performance review, and performance development.

We’ll cover these three stages in the next two parts of this blog series, including proven strategies to maximize your mobile team’s engagement.

If you’re looking to unlock your team’s full potential now, download our “How to Build Engagement with Your Mobile Employees” e-book today, which includes a comprehensive look at all of these stages, as well as additional, practical ways for you to better serve your mobile employees.