HRO Today Global Winter 2016 - 18

Global Mobility
a few important birthdays, skipped some weddings and were
unable to attend a friend's funeral because of being on the
other side of the world. Skype is a wonderful tool, but it
doesn't work for everything.
An assignment can also lead to a lot of lonely moments.
When my wife was in the U.S., I ÿ nished work a few Friday
evenings realizing I had zero plans for the weekend. No
lawn to cut, friends to visit, or little-league game to attend.
Often, the extra time was ÿl led with longer work hours,
which isn't always good for the soul. I did ÿnd new time for
doing things I always wanted to do, including reading more,
attending operas and running a marathon. In the global
relocation service business, we sometimes sense an attitude
of entitlement from an international assignee. Based on my
experience, I have gained an additional appreciation for
the challenges and sacriÿ ces involved and have a renewed
respect for the traditional corporate expatriate.
Third, the employer should do everything possible to
provide at least an idea of the role of the employee after
his/her return to the country of origin. No matter what, I
believe an expatriate and their family are always thinking
about what comes next. We are all trained to think about
the future. Further, every conversation with family, friends,
or colleagues includes the question, " What will you do
after your assignment and after you come home? " Most
expatriates understand there are no guarantees and that
corporate plans and strategies can change frequently.
However, the post-assignment future should be at least
acknowledged and discussed as frequently as possible. These
conversations will improve the assignee's effectiveness.
I have been fortunate to get regular feedback from my
employer regarding next steps, which has been very helpful
and gives peace of mind.
This expatriate " magic " did happen for our family, and
we hope we can help others have a similar experience.
We connected with new people and cultures. We felt
productive. It hasn't been easy, but it has been fulÿl ling.
Ultimately family issues were the most important, and
our marriage, family and friends beneÿ tted from our
opportunity to live and work on another continent.
Over the three years in Europe, I have observed a
changing client proÿl e. Many employees have the
traditional relocation requirements, which require hi-touch
[18]
HRO TODAY GLOBAL
| WINTER 2016
coordination with professional services provided by local
experts. This seasoned expatriate knows what he wants
and can likely write a book on the process. However, the
growing employee population on the move is very global
and has navigated the world for years. For example, our
31-year-old son has lived in Spain, Chile, four different cities
in China and now Chicago. His generation requires a much
different set of services. We, as relocation professionals,
need to service both the traditional and newer generation
of mobile employee. Additionally, employer's focus has
shifted. More often, immigration, compensation and tax
compliance dominate HR professionals time and attention.
My immigration process was very time-consuming and
bureaucratic. With the recent refugee crisis and terrorist
attacks, countries' resources will be further burdened, and
we can expect the process of relocating employees to be
adversely affected, especially in the area of immigration.
Ultimately, employers need to get the talent in the right
place, do so in the most cost-effective manner, and get
results. Ideally, the talent becomes more globally competent
and can help the organization grow. Global relocation
is changing rapidly, and employers, employees and their
families will face new challenges and enjoy exciting new
opportunities. The process is far from perfect, but employers
and professionals are available to help and every assignee
experience will offer unique insights to make it better. For
us, it's is just about time " to get home soon. "
Benjamin D. Ivory is a senior vice president at Graebel Companies,
Inc. He is a third-generation moving industry veteran, Ivory
began his career in Detroit Michigan at his family's moving
company. Now with Graebel for 33 years, Ivory has held multiple
executive positions for the global relocation company. Prior
to his return to the U.S. as senior vice president for Graebel
Companies, Inc., Ivory was the organization's EMEA managing
director in Prague, the Czech Republic since 2010. Ivory
has served as president of the Federation International des
Demenaguers Internationaux (FIDI) USA and is the former Chair
of the FIDI-FAIM Quality System Steering Committee. In 2015,
he was recognized by the Worldwide ERC with its Meritorious
Service Award. Today, Ivory is a board member of the Josephinum
Academy, a women's college preparatory school in Chicago,
Illinois; and, is member of the Rotary International Club in
Prague. He is a graduate of Marquette University and holds the
Worldwide ERC Certified Relocation Professional (CRP®) and
Senior Global Mobility Specialist - Talent Designations (SGMS-T®).

HRO Today Global Winter 2016

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HRO Today Global Winter 2016 - 1
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