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Spring 2003 Edition- April 2003 Volume 1

International Assignments Require Finesse
David Croft: Overcoming Resistance And Security Issues

Q: What are the most effective steps that employers can take to overcoming employee and family resistance to an international assignment?

A: With security and family issues high on the list of concerns and the number of dual career families increasing significantly, the most important step is to provide a comprehensive policy and support that policy with the right services, delivered in the right way.

An employee's willingness to accept an assignment often corresponds with the company's ability to demonstrate the importance of global relocation; how it's not just moving employees to distant locations, but a means of developing the next generation of company leaders. Conveying this value and career advancement potential—through such means as offering a comprehensive repatriation program—is one way to build an extensive list of willing applicants. Convincing the employee's family requires early counseling and cultural training; as a rule, the better you prepare them before the move, the better the results will likely be. Performing a detailed needs assessment will help you to gauge each family's unique concerns and develop a customized solution that makes relocation more attractive, while offering personalized, on-the-ground assistance and orientation tours in the new location will help them feel at ease with the decision.

Complementing your core settling- in program with a wide range of family transition services—from spouse job counseling to school finding—can make a big difference, increasing your chances of a successful assignment.

Q: How are companies addressing the security issues that are inherent in global relocation today?

A: For your global assignees, security begins with cultural training and emergency preparedness. Assignees who are thoroughly versed in the practices, lifestyles and people of their destination country will be more comfortable with their decision. They'll have a keener eye for potentially dangerous situations, how to avoid them, and how to react when faced with them. Some companies are also establishing contingency plans for any unexpected problems and issues that may arise.

Further, we're seeing an increased need among today's managers to know precisely where their global assignees are at any given time. That's where essential "on assignment" services make a difference, not only by providing a lifeline to assignees, but also allowing home country managers to access online status reports and run instant "roll calls" for all of their assignees.

About RRI
Relocation Resources International (RRI) provides complete, customized solutions to a wide range of corporations throughout Canada, the United States, and across the world. RRI has built its reputation as the industry quality leader by partnering with clients to develop and administer the best total solution to their employee relocation needs; solutions specifically tailored to meet each client's culture, objectives and budget. Through its revolutionary e-service system, MyRRIworld, RRI provides its clients with state-of-the-art relocation technology and reporting, and through its Consulting Services division, RRI provides expert policy benchmarking and best practices data.

Unique among global relocation companies, RRI is independent and employee-owned, with over a quarter century of experience and Operations Centers in Calgary, Boston, New York, London and Denver. Visit for more info.

More From David Croft Of RRI:
Q: At what stage of a global assignment should repatriation planning begin?

A global relocation can be a sizable investment, but unless your company maintains an effective repatriation plan, you may never realize the maximum return. This means that even before an assignment begins, planning for its conclusion should be underway.

Start by fostering an understanding of the "expatriate experience" among your home country management. One of the primary reasons cited for assignee turnover is a perceived lack of appreciation and/or outlet for the international business skills and cultural insight they've acquired. Even while your employees are on assignment, their managers back home should be thinking of the best ways to put their expertise to work.

Once a candidate is selected, have a comprehensive discussion of their career path, explaining how the skills that he or she acquires will be put to use upon return. The last thing you want to see is your valued assignee heading off to a competitor, armed with years of international business knowledge for which you've footed the bill. Keeping your assignees "plugged in" throughout the assignment not only helps relieve one of their most common fears—being "out of sight and out of mind"—but can also provide direction for the reentry plan.

Don't forget that repatriation can carry as many cultural and logistical issues as the initial move itself—assignees often have to buy a new home, get children settled into a new school, and address a spouse or partner's career continuation. In some cases, particularly after long assignments, reverse culture shock can occur. Methods to ease this transition—such as cultural reorientation programs—should be addressed during the initial planning stages.

Why Should I Consider Outsourcing Payroll?
Stewart Juelich: Focus On The Resources That Matter

Probably the most important reason to outsource payroll is that it allows you and your internal human resources team to focus on your core business.

Allowing an external organization to manage the administration involved with payroll frees you up to redeploy your internal resources to perform those critical tasks that add to your bottom line. Outsourcing also better utilizes your internal talent rather than using their time to deal with highly administrative payroll functions. This frees your team up to be much more effective and proactive in other areas of business. Companies may find that they do not have the payroll talent or expertise within the organization. Rather than hire this talent with all the associated costs, it makes sense to outsource.

Payroll is a constantly evolving field where legislative and compliance matters change frequently. Through outsourcing, the pressure for your internal staff to keep abreast of every change is removed, although it does not eliminate the need for them to understand the impact of major changes. A good payroll outsourcing company will keep their clients up to date on legislative issues.

Other advantages to payroll outsourcing include: · The ability to budget more accurately for payroll with the knowledge that the payroll management costs will be a specific amount per year is valuable. · The elimination of computer hardware costs and computer upgrades and the ability to handle workload peaks. · The elimination of staffing concerns in the payroll department. · The elimination of potential risk of penalties being levied against the company if remittance deadlines are not met if the payroll professional is away for a lengthy absence. · The assurance that payroll records are accurate, reconciled and structured in accordance with audit requirements. · The payroll company with whom you have partnered can supply your management team with payroll information that can be used as a valuable management tool.

Outsourcing is a great solution, especially for smaller companies. The need for high quality payroll resources to ensure legislative compliance is met as well as the accurate management of the payroll which is crucial. Small companies may not have the financial resources to hire such an individual, making payroll outsourcing an effective solution.

In larger organizations responsibility for the payroll function falls either to Human Resources or Finance. Through effectively outsourcing the administrative functions associated with the payroll, your team is better able to focus on more strategic aspects of their roles adding to the company's efficiency and effectiveness.

With the payroll function fully outsourced, companies no longer need to worry about benefit costs associated with employee head count; downsizing departments; government remittances; sickness or knowledgeable backup coverage for vacations or leaves.

Stewart Juelich, CHRP, is Vice-President, PSI (Payroll Services) Inc. located in Mississauga, Ontario and he can be contacted at 905-607-8181 Fax: 905-607-1628

Getting Employees Across The U.S. Border
Mark L. Barie: Birth Certificates And Passports Are A Must For Canadians

Q. Our company regularly sends employees into the United States for sales calls and for service calls. Lately, they have encountered problems at the Border. What can we do to prevent this?

A. Since 9/11, the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) has implemented a series of new rules and regulations, which could delay or even prevent your employees' visits to the United States. Herewith, five easy-to-remember rules:

1. If your employee is NOT a Canadian citizen and even if he/she is a landed immigrant in Canada, chances are a visit to the nearest U.S. Consulate will be necessary BEFORE applying for admission to the U.S. at a border crossing or airport. There are some exceptions, check with your immigration expert for details.

2. If your employee goes to the U.S. to sell or market your company's goods or services, he/she MUST be working on behalf of the Canadian company and selling non-U.S. made products. Selling U.S. products or working on behalf of a U.S. company is beyond the scope of normal business visitor status and will most likely require a formal work visa.

3. If your employee is tasked with after-sale warranty, repair, or training activities, be prepared to document the nature of his/her visit. The employee should have on his/her person, evidence that they work for the Canadian company (a recent pay stub), evidence that your product was sold to the U.S.-based commercial customer (bill of sale, purchase order, etc.) and evidence that said sale/ transfer obligated the Canadian company to install its product, fix it if it breaks, or train the U.S. customer in its use (warranty or after-sale service agreement).

4.Remind your employees that any criminal convictions, even if "pardoned" by Canadian authorities, could jeopardize their application for admission to the U.S. They should call an immigration expert or the Immigration and Naturalization Service in advance of their arrival at the border.

5. Almost everyone who wishes to visit the U.S. must now have a passport and even Canadians must have a government issued birth certificate and photo identification if they do not have a passport. People born in specified countries (the list now includes 21, mostly Middle Eastern nations) should expect to be fingerprinted and have their photo taken when they arrive at the border crossing or airport.

Mark L. Barie is founder and president of Crossborder Development Corporation, an (U.S.) immigration consulting company established in 1981. Mr. Barie can be reached at


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