Relocating Families: Advice for HR

July 28, 2011

Two years ago, Henry Brookman wrote an interesting article on the negative effects that relocating for work can bring within families. He suggested how HR could lower the level of stress and avoid family crisis.

The watchword: “If the family is not well settled the valuable employee is not well settled”. Too often, family tend to see relocation as a way to leave the past troubles behind and start over, but at times, it will only create new issues. The pressure of the spouses adjusting to a new city, a new life and new friends can be damaging to an employee’s effectiveness.


The employee’s isolation, the partner’s unhappiness or other cross border complications can often lead to the deterioration of the relationship. Being the most kept secret issue, it is the most damaging.


Having two homes in different countries and a pension fund abroad, per example, can bring a multiplicity of financial issues. Identify a practitioner when being so far from your home country does not appear easy. That is why HR should provide an appropriate adviser. In a marriage situation for example, a counsellor is as important as a lawyer.


Marriage breakdown and divorce are unfortunate and often a long process. Counsellors can provide beneficial points of advice through the anger and frustrations. Also, don’t assume that the law applies the same way everywhere or that there are no other options for your situation.


Problem-solver is the middle name of the HR department, but in reality, there is so much they can do. The employer needs the right adviser. That is where a family lawyer comes handy. The goal is that your employees keep their lives on track with the least damage and bitterness possible.

Source: Henry Brookman, Personnel Today, July 6th 2009


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