Case Studies: Policy Research

Case One

CLIENT: A Multinational Pharmaceutical Company

Study Title:
Corporate Culture, Relocation, and Educational Support for Executive Families: A Five Year Study

The Challenge:
New employees were expressing dissatisfaction with the differing schooling supports provided in their relocation package. They also cited examples of unfair practices with respect to funding for schools. More specifically, they felt that some employees received substantially better and more individualized support during international relocations.

The Solution:
Families who had relocated over the last five years were contacted and confidentially interviewed. The families described the supports they received prior to and during their relocation, and asked for suggestions on how to improve the process. The company’s current relocation policy was reviewed with specific reference to funding supports for schooling and updated with respect to relevant educational issues.

The Outcome:
Based on the research, the company was provided with an objective overview of the key schooling and relocation issues faced by their transferring employees. Based on this information, the Human Resources department updated the company’s relocation policy and developed specific criteria to determine whether funding was required for private schooling, and provided all new families with a copy of the company’s international transfer policy and with comprehensive and practical information about the new locations prior to the move, and introduced them to expatriate families in the new location.


Case Two

CLIENT: A Heavy Equipment Manufacturing Company

Study Title:
Equivalence of Educational Standards: United States and Canada.

The Challenge:
Executives transferring between the United States to Canada expressed concerns regarding curriculum, standards and other differences in the educational systems. As a consequence, the company was experiencing difficulty with recruitment. The company wanted to respond to these issues with objective information.

The Solution:
Educational Connections compared the differences between specific state and provincial educational systems, and conducted confidential interviews with several families about their relocation experiences. A cross-comparison of curricula was developed based on the recommendations arising out of the Royal Commission on Learning of the Ontario Ministry of Education and similar studies completed in British Columbia.

The Outcome:
The issue of educational continuity was specifically addressed. As an outcome of the study, criteria were established for identifying schooling risks, determining a family’s school search needs and whether students required standardized educational testing, etc. The company was also encouraged to join the Canadian Employee Relocation Council and the Employee Relocation Council to maintain up to date policy awareness.


Case Three

CLIENT: A Major Bank

Study Title:
French Language Education in Ontario

The Challenge:
The bank was relocating over 25 families from Quebec to Ontario. As the majority of families were French speaking, the bank wanted an comprehensive overview of French language education in Ontario aimed at facilitating a school search for these families, particularly for their adolescents engaged in their final high school years. The challenge to the bank was the general assumption held by employees that French language instruction was unavailable in Toronto.

The Solution:
Educational Connections researched and created a exhaustive summary of French language schooling in Ontario, listed the key features of specific schools in the geographic areas targeted by the families, and specified important curriculum factors that would ensure educational continuity for students of any age relocating from Quebec to Ontario.

The Outcome:
The bank presented the comprehensive overview to their employees who expressed relief that French instruction was available. Meetings were arranged between the real estate consultants and Educational Connections to identify specific target schools. The families used the guidelines effectively to make choices between specific schools and to coordinate their housing search. Families with older students received an in-depth overview of how the key educational differences would impact their children. Although some families elected not to relocate, the majority of the families relocated with confidence knowing that their children would continue to receive comparable instruction in French.


Case Four

CLIENT: A Petrochemical Company

Study Title:
Bilingual and English Schools in Mexico.

The Challenge:
The company was expanding into Mexico and was in the process of selecting key engineering staff to relocate. The families expressed concerns about the availability of English language schools in this remote area and wanted to know, in advance, the suitability and availability of bilingual schools.

The Solution:
Research staff at Educational Connections contacted associates in Mexico and researched the curriculum and cultural differences between the Alberta and Mexican educational systems. Associates also conducted specific cross comparisons of the available schooling within the specific geographic area in which the new plant would be built. the company was provided a written summary of the educational issues, an annotated description of each school, and specific criteria were identified which outlined which relocations were high risk relocations.

The Outcome:
The company used the written summary to revise their relocation policy regarding schooling. Given the lack of bilingual schools, the company realized that school aged children would be disadvantaged and should not be relocated. They decided to select employees without children or with very young children where the families wanted a Spanish speaking experience.


Case 5

CLIENT: A Technology and Communications Company

Study Title:
Human Resource Policy Review

The Challenge:
The company’s expats and relocating employees expressed concerns about their children’s schooling needs, particularly upon repatriation. Their concerns focussed on differing standards and curricula, transfer of credits, and the need for objective information before their school search. In some cases, educational issues were critical to the success of the relocation. In order to address issues in an equitable and fiscally responsible manner, the company decided to review their Human Resources policy as it pertained to the impact of educational issues on relocation.

The Solution:
A survey was conducted of over 80 companies with respect to their relocation policy on schooling. A review of current issues in education and general trends in curriculum was also conducted. Based on the outcome of the survey and review, a detailed projection of educational trends in the targeted countries was completed with specific emphasis on the issues identified by the company’s employees.

The Outcome:
The summary report was used by the company’s Human Resources as an objective basis upon which to determine equitable policy and funding decisions regarding schooling supports. Specific features of this policy are now routinely reviewed every two years to ensure effective updating.

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