Employee Experience

From Global to Local: How to Support Employees Facing Reverse Culture Shock

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employee coming back to US job

Just as culture shock is a familiar term when individuals travel to new countries, there exists a lesser-known but equally significant phenomenon: reverse culture shock. It’s the experience of individuals returning home after spending considerable time overseas.

For employers with mobile employees, addressing reverse cultural shock is paramount. This support can be integrated into relocation packages, emphasizing your commitment to their well-being and successful transition. Keep reading as we explore why it matters and how employers can provide vital assistance to their returning employees.

What Is Reverse Culture Shock?

Reverse culture shock encompasses a sense of disorientation and emotional distress that one experiences when returning to their home country after an extended stay abroad. This feeling of being out of place isn’t limited to crossing international borders; even transitioning between regions within the same country can evoke this feeling.

Imagine missing significant life events like births and weddings or losing touch with friends and family. It can make you feel like a stranger in your own land. Even small changes, like your favorite coffee shop closing, can amplify this sensation.

The longer you’ve been away, the stronger the chance of experiencing reverse culture shock. Your once-thrilling home country might now seem mundane in comparison, especially if the customs and values differ significantly from where you were during your relocation.

Tips to Support an Employee During Repatriation

Ensuring a smooth transition for employees returning home requires a proactive and structured strategy. Failing to address the challenges of repatriation can have adverse effects on your company, impacting productivity, retention rates, and overall employee well-being.

Plan Ahead

Before the anticipated return of your employee, consider scheduling an in-person or virtual meeting with their managers to discuss any workplace changes that may have occurred during their absence. This catch-up session can help them reacquaint themselves with the company’s current dynamics in their home country.

Throughout the repatriation process, maintain regular check-ins with the returning employee. These check-ins should be conducted before, during, and after their return, ensuring that they have the support and guidance they need during this transition.

It’s also worth noting that employees who have gained valuable knowledge and experiences during their time abroad may express interest in transitioning to new roles within the company. Be open to these discussions, as their international experiences may bring unique insights and skills that can benefit your organization’s growth and development.

Bid a Farewell Goodbye

Leaving behind their old life and work environment can be emotionally challenging for employees returning from an extended stay abroad. To help them make a smoother transition, consider organizing a farewell party or one last get-together with coworkers at the location they have been working. This gathering can create a memorable and supportive farewell moment, allowing your returning employee to carry positive memories with them as they return to their previous work location.

Assess Reverse Cultural Shock

To improve support for future returning employees, consider implementing a debriefing program that encourages honest feedback. Utilize formal surveys as part of this program to collect answers, both positive and negative, and leverage these insights to your advantage.

Gather feedback from returning employees about their experiences, particularly in relation to reverse culture shock. Take note of your company’s retention rate for returning employees, and evaluate whether your organization schedules regular check-ins and fosters open communication.

Furthermore, it’s essential to assess and review your company’s policies and practices to ensure they align with the evolving needs of employees who have spent extended periods abroad. This proactive approach can help you better support future employees facing the challenges of repatriation.

Implement One-On-One Coaching

Consider offering benefits such as one-on-one coaching to assist your mobile employees in readjusting to life back in their home country. This personalized support can help ensure a smoother transition, reducing the risk of them quietly quitting or leaving the organization.

One-on-one coaching also provides a platform for employees to process their overseas experiences and address any challenges they may face during repatriation. It’s essential to consider the well-being of not only the employee but also their family members. Explore services that can benefit the entire family and contribute to a successful transition back to their home country.

Let CapRelo Lend a Hand

CapRelo specializes in a wide range of relocation services, including domestic and international. We understand the challenges employees face during transitions, whether moving abroad or returning home. Our comprehensive support covers everything from pre-assignment counseling to pet shipments — ensuring a smooth relocation process.

When it comes to repatriation, we’re attuned to the challenges of reverse cultural shock and the importance of a seamless return. Our suite of repatriation services includes counseling, career guidance, and family assistance, recognizing that a successful return involves both the employee and their family members.

By partnering with CapRelo, you can trust us to streamline your entire relocation process. Contact us today for personalized relocation solutions that address the unique challenges of repatriation and ensure an effortless transition for your employees.