Question 1 - Would you grant any of the special requests of the four expat candidates? Provide your rationale.
Solvay’s HR group wants to develop consistent policies for the International Mobility (IM) program and be more transparent about the expatriation process. Therefore, it is important to minimize the exceptions because exceptions require a deviation from standard protocol. However, HR must also remain flexible in order to meet the strategic needs of the company. As noted in the case (pg. 1), special requests are “not unusual for the expat process.” Standard protocols are essential when handling employees who work in similar environments, and who have similar roles. However, it is important to make exceptions when asking
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However, until appropriate software has been identified for tracking, Solvay could use spreadsheets to track costs associated with the program and estimated revenue or other tangible benefits. A key component for maximizing the usefulness of this data is for Solvay to ensure that they maintain a centralized database that all HR personnel, who handle expatriations, have been trained to use. When making comparisons and analyzing data, it is of the utmost importance that all the information is accurate and consistent. Quantifying the costs and benefits of Solvay’s IM program will really, in essence, come down to the outcomes (success or failure) of expatriates’ overseas assignments. Thus, Solvay should also address the non-financial costs of its IM program, especially those which are incurred even in the event of failure. Success of the IM program can be measured in terms of employee intent and dedication to relocate overseas, cultural adaptability (ease of learning local language, culture, norms, building effective professional and personal relations with locals, etc.), and job performance. A weakness that was highlighted in the case study was the post expatriate experience. A recommendation for addressing this gap is to implement an ‘exit interview’ process when expatriates return to the home country. This interview should occur at one of the headquarters and be conducted by an HR manager, such as Lorent. By gathering direct feedback