This study generated useful knowledge about relocation and integration processes, as experienced by international employees of the first EU agency in Finland. The study provides a unique view of the challenges and experiences of highly skilled SFEs both prior to their relocation to Finland, as well as during their adjustment to the new cultural and work environment. The study offers substantive new insights in the field of acculturation and organizational psychology by highlighting the need for multidimensional and longitudinal assessments of adaptation. Furthermore, it contributes to existing knowledge of expatriate adjustment by focusing on the relatively understudied group of highly skilled SFEs.
Since the study focused on describing the relationships between different factors related to the relocation process and resulting adaptation outcomes, it does not provide information on the exact interventions that will be most effective in fostering adaptation. We can, however, provide some general guidelines on the types of interventions that are needed. Based on the results of our study, we propose the following practical recommendations for organizations receiving international highly skilled employees.
Firstly, organizations should try to place a greater emphasis on pre-migration support, including sufficient time, information and assistance to prepare for the relocation. Employees appreciate, in particular, assistance in housing related issues, as well as in learning the language of the new country. Furthermore, in addition to providing help to the relocating employee, assistance should be aimed to ease the relocation process of the spouse and children.
Secondly, organizations should ensure that future employees receive realistic information about the host country, their future standard of living, as well as their future work. While realistic, the information given to the employees should draw attention to the similarities instead of differences between the country of departure and the receiving country, as well as underline the European and international nature of the future work and living environment.
Finally, organizations should design measures to foster the development of social networks both in the pre-migration stage (e.g. on-line discussion groups) and the post-migration stage. Moreover, common activities (e.g. leisure clubs visits, etc.) should be aimed at both employees and their families, and should include contact with members of the host country.