Zurich Insurance Group Ensured a Successful Relocation with Fluency Corp

When a business has an outstanding employee, they are often given the opportunity to relocate and help the company in another area of the country or world. Relocating a great employee, and their family, is an expensive endeavor, and the costs can quickly climb into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

How Much Would it Cost if that Relocation Failed?

What happens if the relocation isn’t successful, and the employee leaves the company or decides it wasn’t a good move? That’s a massive risk to take, a risk that can be hedged with language training and assimilation support from Fluency Corp.

Martin’s career progressed with Zurich as he grew with the company in Argentina. As a rising star, he successfully completed short-term projects in Switzerland and South Africa. These were great opportunities, but they meant being away from his family for several months.

The opportunity arose to progress in his career not only in a new country but in an entirely new continent. So the family decided to relocate from South America to Toronto, Canada. It was a big move: a city with a different language, a different culture, and a different way of living.

It was Make-It or Break-It for Martin and His Family

Before the family of four (including Martin, his wife Jill, son Patrick, and daughter Mary) packed up and headed north, Martin trained his replacement at Zurich. If this move didn’t work out, not only were they thousands of miles away, but he didn’t have a job to fall back on. In addition, Zurich would have a substantial financial impact if things didn’t work out.

Martin, who had already spent plenty of time outside of Argentina, felt he had a good grasp on what it took to assimilate into a new country. Patrick, who was 14 when they moved, was already attending a bi-lingual school and felt he could transition without too many struggles.

Jill and Mary were Worried about the Transition

In any company, if employees are worried about their families, they won’t be able to dedicate their full attention to their job. If the family struggles in a new country, culture, and social group, it ultimately weighs heavily on the employee.

Mary was 11 years old when she moved. Entering those middle school years, she was on the cusp of whether she would have an Argentinian accent or if she could easily switch it off if the occasion called for it. While she had a decent understanding of English, she had a goal to learn how to use idioms and other cultural references when she spoke.

Working with a Fluency Corp language coach, Mary’s customized goals included better communication, understanding cultural meanings that her friends brought up at school, and expanding her vocabulary.

Instruction focused on reading short books about cultural icons that may not be as prominent in South America, such as Maya Angelou. Other books, like Charlotte’s Web, helped her gain a foundation that other kids her age would have. And the use of word searches was a fun way to solidify sight recognition of vocabulary words.

Managing a Household is a Full-Time Job

Jill, Martin’s wife, had entirely different needs. She was less fluent than Mary, but her needs were more in line with how to manage a household.

How does one navigate a cell phone and cell phone plan in a different language? How do you schedule a doctor’s appointment and ensure you speak with the right specialist? What about personal care, making hair appointments, shopping, and more? Knowing the language is one thing, but if you don’t even know what to ask for, how do you begin to describe it?

The most effective program is one where the client enjoys the training and will stick with it. It can’t be boring homework. Jill desired to increase her vocabulary and understand the various tenses used in English.

Her program consisted of watching movies in English (family-friendly movies were picked so everyone could help her understand the difficult parts), using an app where she can listen to the news in English as she performs household activities, and referring to a picture dictionary to help associate words with images and objects.

For both Jill and Mary, Fluency Corp discovered their goals (and then their individual language coach also asked questions to double-check their goals). Only when fully understood was a customized plan put into place to help ensure that they are trained on the language plus assimilation.

Because it’s not just about knowing how to speak but about how to make connections with the new community – how to feel at home.

Fluency Corp Validates Zurich’s Investment in Martin’s Family

Martin and his family didn’t get to test the waters first. They didn’t get a prolonged visit to Canada to see if they would like the area, enjoy the culture, or even be able to assimilate. Instead, they had to make it work or return to Argentina.

With Fluency Corp’s language training and assimilation coaching, that transition went smoothly. Martin says the teachers aren’t just knowledgeable, but they actually know how to give fluency while helping the client get more confident locally.

He tells us, “Trying to learn a new language creates anxiety; you’re naturally insecure and afraid of making mistakes and wondering If thoughts are going into the right words. But these two teachers made a very soft and safe place to make Jill and Mary feel comfortable. They both felt safe… my wife would even joke that it’s half English class and half therapy. It’s a wonderful, safe place to learn; I can’t stress enough how important it is to have that safe place.”

When the family is safe, when they have the resources they need to understand, communicate, and thrive in a new place, then Martin can focus on his job at Zurich. He comes home knowing his family is safe and having fun in their new living situation.

Now that stress is taken away, Martin performs better at work. Better work means he will stay, and those relocation expenses aren’t lost or wasted.

Relocation is expensive, but Fluency Corp helps ensure it’s a sound investment.

Do you think your expat employees could benefit from customized cultural and language training? Set up a free consultation with Fluency Corp by contacting us at getfluent@fluencycorp.com or (800) 401-3159.