Companies Show Concern For Expatriate Employees

Compiled By Traci Purdum Companies that send employees across borders are addressing concerns related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. According to a survey sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Danbury, Conn.-based Cendant Mobility Services Corp., an international assignment management and mobility services company, more than half (56%) of the 218 companies surveyed said they were imposing temporary holds on new international assignments. However, the study, World Events--Impact on Global Mobility, suggests that overall volume of expatriate employees is expected to remain consistent in the coming months. Indeed, 62% of the respondents said they expect activity to remain about the same as it was prior to Sept. 11. "While a dramatic decrease in the overall volume of international assignments is not expected, we are seeing some definite changes in the way our clients are conducting business," says Kevin Kelleher, president and CEO of Cendant Mobility. "There has been a renewed focus on employee safety and sharpened attention to policies as related to crisis planning, communications, and tracking of travelers and employees on assignment." Additionally, the study found that a number of companies are considering alternative approaches to traditional international mobility such as more short-term assignments and telecommuting.

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