Travelling yourself is one thing but sending someone to travel for your work is an altogether different errand. Yes, an errand.
It’s a great project or an important client meeting and you have selected your most competent employee to take care of it. The tickets are done and the plan is set. Unless, you feel like going over some parts thoroughly; thus, ensuring that nothing, almost nothing, puts a spanner in you work there.
To start with, the documentation has to be water-tight and devoid of any loopholes. This will allow the immigration/regulation authorities a quick check and would ease things a lot for the employee too. For the employee’s part, the contract or assignment should spell out the new role, responsibilities, salary changes (including currency and payment frequency), incentives, allowances, perks, relocation cushion, facilities as well as disclaimer footnotes clearly enough.
Sort out the new equation as you arrange for the new role. What would be the new reporting relationship and who would stand as an employer for this employee there – you, your agency, your subsidiary, your offshore client? This decision will have a lot of practical and tax implications ahead.
The contract should also address potential issues of disputes, dismissals, termination, repatriation, duration, tax changes (equalization or liability or neutralization), grievance-redressal, and disciplinary action, return policy, redundancy clauses etc. You can also cover clawback clauses to preempt or prepare for any switch-overs to competition in the new place.
As things progress, do take out time to acclimatize the employee with the local laws, holiday policies, working hours, work culture, professional code of conduct for the new place. This should ideally also trickle on to some non-work areas like common mistakes to avoid, etiquettes to follow and norms for punctuality or cultural mores.
You would also have to check if housing, insurance, medical areas etc. have been looked after?
Beyond paper, there is still a lot that you can do to actually ensure that your employee has a safe, smooth and productive stay there. This may need looking into areas like accommodation, risk exposure, safety training, health advisory, cultural re-orientation, language skills, expat culture, post-shift support, overseas mentors, reverse culture shock prep, education for employee’s children, relocation of spouse or family etc.
Train them well for the new role, people and the expectations they and their families might have.
Interestingly, the whole process would resume again on the other side of the transition. Spouses and children may not like trailing over and getting uprooted again and again. The employee might also have developed new work methods that may find them coming back to earlier colleagues or work processes a tad hard to adjust to.
So, make sure that both the company and the employee have a clear idea of the finer details of the transition.
If done well, employees working abroad increase the skills, global exposure, experience and productivity for both themselves and the company. If done in a sloppy way, it can result in a mess for either one or both. Send them off with more than a ticket. Send them off with a good prep work.