jobs can lead to employee turnover, study says A service of A.M. Costa Rica
jobs can lead
to employee turnover, study says
By the University of Iowa
Workers for big multinational companies who spend time on a foreign
assignment have a higher than normal turnover rate when they come back
home, and a new study suggests that’s because they don’t feel fully
appreciated for their global experience.
“Home may not have changed, but it is not the same place because
repatriates themselves have changed after having been expatriates,”
says Maria Kraimer, a professor of management and organizations in the
University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business who headed the research
team. “Those who take international assignments often feel
fundamentally different after returning, yet they may not see their
development reflected in their treatment by their firms.”
That tension goes beyond what could be called culture shock, Ms.
Kraimer says, and leads repatriates to leave at a higher rate. She
notes one recent study that shows 38 percent of repatriated employees
voluntarily quit their firm within the first year of returning to their
home country. The overall turnover rate is only 13 percent, and this
difference considerably increases a firm’s costs for recruiting and
training the kind of mid- and high-level employees who are most likely
to receive international assignments.
For the study, Ms. Kraimer and her team of researchers collected data
from 112 repatriated employees through surveys that were emailed to
them shortly after their return home, and then from a follow-up survey
sent one year later. The employees worked for medium to large
multinational corporations based in the United States, United Kingdom,
Germany, and Australia, and were involved in such sectors as
manufacturing, accounting, technology, finance, and consumer food and
Of the 90 subjects who responded to both surveys, 17 of them had left
their former employer for a new job, for a 19 percent turnover rate.
The researchers found that living and working
overseas in a new and different culture changes employees in
fundamental ways, to the point where many of them create whole new
identities for themselves. This new identity has a significant
international component and incorporates new meaning and aspirations in
terms of how they approach their careers, they said.
Ms. Kraimer says repatriates believe this new identity makes them a
more valuable employee than they were before they went overseas.
However, the repatriates don’t often feel their firms recognize that
value, especially when they compare themselves to their co-workers with
no international experience.
“When a repatriate perceives her job has less responsibility, respect,
pay, or opportunities than the jobs of colleagues without global
experience, the repatriate may believe that the organization does not
view her international experience and employee identity in the same way
that she does,” Ms. Kraimer says. That perceived lack of respect often
leads them to find new jobs.
Ms. Kraimer says firms can take steps to reduce repatriate turnover.
For instance, firms can use repatriates to help train other employees
about to go on their first international assignment, or involve them
more heavily to develop international strategy, both of which draw on
the employee’s global experience and shows the organization values that
experience. Firms could also more closely manage expatriates while
they’re on international assignments, linking them with other divisions
and maintaining close communications to reinforce their identity with
Ms. Kraimer’s paper, “No place like home? An identity strain
perspective on repatriate turnover,” was published in the Academy of
Management Journal. It was co-authored by Margaret Shaffer and Hong Ren
of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and David Harrison of the
University of Texas.
—Aug. 3, 2012
improves global competitiveness rank
For Costa Rica Business
The most recent Global Competitiveness Report ranks Costa Rica number
57 out of 144 countries.
This position places the country second in Central America after
Panamá which ranked 40. Guatemala followed at 83, Honduras
at 90, El Salvador at 101 and finally Nicaragua at 108.
Costa Rica rose four places from last year. The report cites a
lower budget deficit, a decrease in government debt, well-functioning
public institutions and an increase in information and communication
technology as reasons for the better position.
However, according to the World Economic Forum, the government spends
wastefully, politicians are untrustworthy, infrastructure is poor,
business startup procedures are too lengthy and there is little
availability of business financing.
Jaime Molina, the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y
Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado president, notes that the
country has improved worldwide from position 66 to 57 in the index, but
called for a law of contingency power that would allow more
private renewable energy and would avoid the use of the backup
heat for discussion and adoption.
The union of chambers has pointed out that it is urgent to work and
provide long-term solutions to promote the development of energy,
infrastructure, security and reduce excessive formalities.
Also, the group is working with public officials to eliminate
unnecessary procedures and shorten the time taken to analyze the
procedures for the approval of credits.
In regards to gaining the population's respect, the union pointed out
that it is imperative to define rules and establish clear and concise
controls, in order to promote a favorable climate for investment and
Molina praised the work of entrepreneurs who are working to develop the
country. Their success is proven by the several indicators
measured by the economic forum that show progress, notably those
relating to innovation and the use of new technologies, he said.
The United States fell two positions to seventh. The decline was
linked to what the report called unaddressed weaknesses such as a
distrust in politicians, lack of confidence in the governments ability
to not interfere in private sectors, and wasteful spending by the
government. Also, the United States macroeconomy is unstable,
according to the index.
On the other hand, U.S. companies are still considered to be highly
sophisticated and innovative, labor markets are flexible and the scale
opportunities afforded by the size of the domestic economy which is the
largest in the world make the country still competitive, the report
Switzerland continues to hold first place scoring hight marks in all
categories due to the countries strengths in innovation, efficiency in
the labor market, and the sophistication of its business section.
Switzerland’s scientific research institutions are also regarded as
among the world’s best.
It is followed by Singapore, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands to
finish the top five.
Despite the many positives of each country, the overall world economy
is weak. Global growth remains historically low for the second year in
a row and is expected to slow even more in the upcoming year. Still,
emerging and developing countries continue to grow faster than advanced
economies, steadily closing the income gap, said the World Economic