At Bristol, our culture is one of making connections and caring for each other. As we gather with our families to celebrate the joys of the season, we are also reminded that for many people, it can also be a time of added stress and loneliness.
This may be especially true for transferees on assignment. Within Global Mobility, I believe we all feel a profound sense of “duty of care” for the transferees we manage. Our duty not only applies to legal compliance, but also reflects our genuine concern for the transferees’ safety and well-being. It is well known that the stress of relocation and the ongoing process of adaptation to new surroundings, a different culture, new schools and work environment, can result in depression, loss of productivity, and even failed assignments.
In 2017, it seems the state of global anxiety is only increasing. A recent global analysis conducted over three years shows a dramatic increase in the number of employees who are reporting serious mental and emotional health concerns:
Sadly, there remains a stigma and reluctance to discuss, let alone seek solutions to, the problem of employee mental health and its effects on productivity. Bristol’s social media sites recently featured an article which discussed this phenomenon:
This alarming trend is not just a matter of human empathy, but a bottom-line business issue. Stated more positively, a happy, well-adjusted transferee does a much better job for your company and brings a higher, measurable return on investment!
So, what can we do about it?
An immediate, informal way to make a difference is… in the spirit of the Holiday Season, why not take a moment to send a note of appreciation to anyone whom you’ve relocated in 2017? Wish them Happy Holidays, thank them for taking on an important role for their company, inquire about their family, their well-being, and how they’re settling in. Let them know you appreciate them and that you do care! Encourage them to raise any concerns they may have. Just the mere gesture extending some kind words goes a long way in making a transferee feel cared for and appreciated. For our part, Bristol's Mobility Advisors do this routinely.
A more formal way to address the mental health and well-being of your transferees is through Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). Bristol is a firm believer in the value and effectiveness of these programs. And such assistance goes beyond mental health, for example offering financial and legal advice, and other forms of valuable personal assistance to employees and their families. If your company offers an EAP, remind your transferees of this incredibly helpful resource that is available to them.
Check out our next issue of Connectivity where we will be exploring the nature of EAP programs in depth.
From all of us here at Bristol, we wish you a safe and happy Holiday Season!