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On- and offboarding best practices for international talent

We don’t need to tell you that on- and offboarding are important, for both international and local talent. But we can give you some stats to back up the value of your work, particularly when companies are pushed to do more with less. Here are just a few facts:  

  • According to an employee survey, 80% of hires have considered quitting due to poor onboarding practices that result in undertraining for their roles. 
  • Similarly, another study revealed that one in every four employees considers seeking a new job due to poor company onboarding practices.
  • One industry research reveals that expat workers receiving quality relocation support are 25% more likely to stay satisfied in their jobs than co-workers who remain local.

Adding to that global companies’ responsibility to stay compliant to local employment laws, correctly on and off-boarding talent on an international scale becomes that much more important. In addition to giving you some stats for your next meeting, let’s look at some of the finer details around best practices with expat workers relocating to your hubs. 

Onboarding international talent 

Hiring teams should always set clear expectations from the beginning of the employee journey, but this is especially important for talent that is relocating from one country to another to pursue their new role. And nothing spells poor onboarding faster than no information about how you’ll support their move. Here are a few things to consider with your leadership team, and outline clearly in your offer letters to international talent.

  • Complying with international laws and agreements - How will you help your hires apply for the proper visa or work permit? Can you already list out what documents they should have on standby to begin the immigration process?
  • Covering employee travel expenses - What policy should you build around settling visa application fees and other travel costs? Even before onboarding begins, this information could be very important for candidates before they take up your job offer – include it as early as you can in your communications. 
  • Evaluating pay structures and employee benefits based on location - What documentation do you have around how an employee's compensation could change based on market rates in their destination countries? If hires have the option to pick from different hubs you operate in, this information could be top priority for them to feel fairly compensated. To add to that, this topic will likely come up if you offer relocation support to existing employees, not just new hires.

Sweat the small stuff

Visas, costs, and compensation are typically the “big rocks” of relocations, but there are other details that could help your new hires hit the ground running much faster, with few distractions. 

Once your talent “flies in”, they have to start thinking about settling in – sorting out details like health insurance, temporary housing, and school or child care if moving with families. 

If your company can support these steps too, you’re much more likely to promote a sense of belonging, boosting engagement much earlier in your new hire’s ramp-up time. (sidenote: Localyze can help!

In contrast, a poorly designed and unoptimized onboarding process for global talent could result in low productivity and high turnover.

Offboarding international talent

Some organizations may be forced to downsize and lay off talent due to budget constraints. These delicate scenarios require methodical and systematic planning to ensure that offboarded employees receive not just moral support and empathy, but also the appropriate legal support to meet their visa obligations. 

Offboarding is particularly challenging but necessary for foreign hires and relocated employees since the process would involve additional long-term living considerations, such as changes to residence conditions and visa status. As such, people managers need to examine every detail of their international hires’ work permits, offer clear and consistent communication, and guide employees toward next steps.

To illustrate the kind of complexity you might face in a global company, let’s look at how offboarding obligations differ in two countries within the EU: Germany and Spain. 


The popular global mobility destination follows the German Employment Protection Act (Kündigungsschutzgesetz) and closely tracks termination and offboarding practices. 

Your company must provide a clear and written reason for dismissals and an established notice period. Employees must notify health insurance companies about the termination of their staff contract as soon as they are aware of their last day of employment. The authorities can grant EU Blue Card holders a grace period between 3 and 12 months to find new employment before they have to leave the country. 


Spain's employment law requires employers to submit a notice in a written format for offboarding talent. Employees must also receive a severance pay according to 20 calendar days of their work. Companies releasing over 50 employees must implement an outplacement plan for a six-month period, guiding talent to other suitable jobs.

Despite both countries being in the EU, they have vastly different requirements – so working with an experienced partner on this topic can be the most efficient way to move forward.

Streamline your Global Mobility program with a trusted partner

Localyze is a relocation expert with years of experience helping companies navigate their most complex Global Mobility challenges. Our team provides comprehensive support in handling every aspect of employee needs, including applying for work permits and switching visa types for offboarding.

The Localyze platform provides users with a centralized and user-friendly dashboard with various intuitive features supporting a smooth relocation experience. Your team can reliably share and access documents, scheduled appointments, and other talent management information from a single login.

Localyze also offers a virtual marketplace that offers moving services tailored to an employee's needs. More than that, we launched our LocaBuddy community where expats can connect and share information with other users going through  similar journeys. 

Book a demo today to elevate your corporate relocation strategies in response to the latest workforce demands.

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