Over the past two years, the wellbeing of workers has risen on corporate agendas, with companies committing more resources to helping their workers remain mentally and physically healthy.
A recent survey conducted by Oracle AI found that almost 80 percent of the 12,000 respondents agreed that the pandemic had negatively impacted their mental health, and 76 percent wanted their employer to do more to support the mental health of their workforce.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing number of organizations were offering employees services such as counselling and life coaching. When the pandemic hit, organizations that hadn’t developed wellness support struggled to cope with the extreme challenges of that time and the abrupt switch to remote working.
The pandemic was especially difficult for globally mobile employees that may have found themselves isolated in hotel rooms or small apartments in unfamiliar cultures, often separated from their families for long periods of time.
Despite all of this, many employees are still keen to expose themselves to new cultures, advance their careers and contribute to their companies through working abroad. What’s changed is that health and wellbeing are now essential concerns for global mobility teams.
So how can GM support workforce wellness? Here are some areas to consider.
Get involved early
Involving global mobility teams early on in the recruitment process and building supportive coaching programs that begin as soon as managers identify an employee as a candidate for moves or trips increases the chances of catching any health issues when they’re still manageable.
Providing life coaching pre-departure and holding discussions and counselling sessions at regular intervals before, during and after relocations can also help managers to stay on top of any problems with mental or physical health.
Support employees while abroad
When employees arrive at their destinations, mobility teams can provide personal support to help staff adjust to the new culture. Helping with practical issues such as finding a mobile phone provider and setting up a broadband connection can also make it easier for workers to stay in touch with colleagues, friends and family at home, which can improve their mental health.
Implement buddy or mentoring programs, so the employee has additional sources of support at their new location. Networks can provide a life raft for disconnected people, so making sure workers find community groups on social media can help build links between expats in the same city or country.
Look after partners and families
The happiness of an employee’s partner during a move is a key factor in making the event a success. Companies can even risk losing talent for good if the family has a bad experience.
GM teams should explore ways to support the wellness of partners and families. This can include providing counselling to deal with culture shock, helping partners find jobs and locating schools for children.
Use the right technology
Employee engagement apps and collaboration tools can help GM teams better connect with workers so they’re aware of any health issues.
In addition, the right global mobility tech such as Equus AssignmentPro automates manual and repetitive tasks and frees up mobility teams to have more time for these sorts of employee interactions.
Using Pulse Checks in AssignmentPro allows GM teams to regularly monitor the mood of employees, too. Pulse Checks send out simple two- or three-question surveys that gauge workers’ experience during their move or trip, so teams can respond appropriately.
It’s time for GM to take on health and wellness
The high priority on maintaining employees’ physical and mental health is here to stay, even as the pandemic declines. Mobility teams can evolve by expanding their responsibilities and offering more personal, hands-on support for assignees throughout moves and trips. Combining this with effective technology will ensure long-term wellness for workforces.
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SVP Solutions Consulting
Like so many others at Equus, Vicki has a strong appreciation for international travel and countries’ distinctive cultures – interests that naturally led her to a career in Global Mobility. Her global travel bug kicked in right after college when she got a job and relocated to Japan. After 10 years there, she was repatriated to the U.K. where her Mobility career blossomed.
Over the past several years, Vicki’s efforts have grown to encompass project managing vendor RFPs and technology implementations, service delivery design, and program change management. As SVP Solutions Consulting, she is at the cutting edge of the mobility industry – part of the reason she frequently speaks at industry conferences and events.