Family and International Assignment Policy
Family and International Assignment Policy
What Is Your Critical Evaluation of Colgate-Palmolive’s International Assignment Policy? What Are Its Strengths And Weaknesses? Colgate-Palmolive’s (C-P) international assignment policy was designed to standardize entitlements for the expatriate managers. It covered tax equalization, goods and services, housing, the actual move and settling in, sale or rental of the principle residence, relocation allowances, living expenses, education, vacation, leave, post allowance and smooth transitions (Rosenzweig, 1994).
The assignment policy was progressive, permitting applicants a 5 day pre-acceptance tour. The language courses at the company’s expense were paramount. Overall, the company sought to address both the expatriate and his family’s quality of life. I subscribe to the motto: “a happy wife makes a happy life”, thus I would agree that the policy was comprehensive and supported the aforementioned and motto. Strengths included “financial parity” and the overall family and spouse assistance program.
However, the greatest strength was C-P’s willingness to improve the policy and orientations based on surveys (Rosenzweig, 1994, p. 7). The only weakness I can surmise is that such a policy does not support a local indigenous applicant. What Should Colgate-Palmolive Do About the Growing Issue of Dual-Career Families? C-P has two courses of action (COA). Do not hire or address dual-career families or succumb and make the overseas assignments attractive to dual-career families. COA one would limit their candidate pool.
One C-P human resource manager (HRM) stated: “the frequency of dual-career families among C-P’s young managers was a reflection of their high quality: ‘We tend to attract people who have been to graduate school and who often met their spouses at graduate school. Both spouses are educated professionals and both tend to want to pursue their careers’” (Rosenzweig, 1994, p. 9). Thus COA two would support a larger qualified candidate pool. However, there is a cost(s) associated. C-P discussed income replacement to offset the spouses lost income (Rosenzweig, 1994, p. 0), but was viewed to expensive.
Others recommended C-P change the overseas perception, in lieu of a loss or sacrifice, a positive spin was placed on foreign employment. Personally, I would opt for COA one but with two additions. Transfer young single executives on shorter term assignments in support of saving costs and capitalize on modern technologies that did not exist at the time this article was published. Secure virtual training conference lines can be purchased for under $25,000 permitting daily interaction, meetings and mentoring between C-P headquarters and the expatriate manager.
Lastly, C-P foreign employees may capitalize on the numerous web based social technologies such as Skype and Face Time that are now a staple communication platform. What Should an MNC Consider When Designing a Policy Regarding International Career Development? It is paramount that MNC focus on recruiting processes. A larger diverse, multi lingual applicant pool who have lived and been educated abroad would mitigate many of the culture shock experiences associated with overseas assignments. The policy development should incorporate local nationals employed by companies like C-P.
In the US, we are familiar with the big Japanese motor companies like Toyota and Nissan, but we often overlook the other foreign owned companies like Pillsbury and CBS Records who employ thousands of US professionals. Ultimately, MNC must address the monetary compensation and quality of life for 2 potential candidates: host-country employees and home country employees (where the headquarters is located). Certainly, I am not naive to the fact that compensation is not easily addressed as it should conform to local laws and taxation (both host and home countries).
What Should an Employee Consider When Deciding to Accept or Decline an International Assignment? How Does the Employee’s Current Career Stage Affect Such a Decision? As an active duty Soldier with family and prior overseas duty assignments, I have had given this question a great deal of thought. Certainly C-P’s policy covering areas such as tax equalization, goods and services, housing, the actual move and settling in, sale or rental of the principle residence, relocation allowances, living expenses, education, vacation, leave, post allowance and smooth transitions are important.
Ultimately, it boils down to education, medical care, quality of life and face time with family. Dependent on one’s age and the age of your children, a support system for the spouse is paramount. Extended family is ideal if the expatriate will travel frequently, thus transcontinental travel, accessibility to international airports is important. Quality of education and backwards planning are important. The closer children get to high school and college age, the more important it is to be in the US with a stabilized duration of assignment.