Knowing what global mobility is and why it should matter to a modern business is the first step in developing or reshaping a business strategy. Once that is clear, an ambitious and perceptive business owner or a decision-maker should focus the resources and efforts on expansion. But how does one coordinate global mobility efforts successfully?
Global Mobility and What you Need to know About it
Global mobility represents a company’s ability to move its employees to offices around the world. It assures that the best people for the function are given the job, regardless of the location they come from or are going to. So, a company first needs to bust the myths of outsourcing to navigate global mobility with ease. Then, it should take into account all the factors and run all the scenarios regarding employee relocation. If it sounds like a lot of work, it is precisely because it requires a lot of effort. A well-coordinated team effort, in fact.
The upside is that global mobility, at its finest, grants numerous long-term benefits to a business. Exposure to cultural differences enhances the workforce and develops a fresh perspective. It doesn’t just prepare the ground for innovative business operations. At the same time, it offers multiple opportunities for career development. A good worker is a happy worker, but the best worker is the one allowed to grow.
Factors Affecting Global Mobility
In the face of the ever-changing global market conditions, companies are under pressure to attract and keep employees. Hence, to endure and learn from challenges that impose themselves in the age of global commerce, a company needs a workforce that is diverse and, thus, with multiple or different skills.
A business that is expanding to a market in another country will be influenced by the specific country, market, and industry-related factors. If we refer to these factors as external, the internal factors affecting the expansion strategy are related to employees. Hence, it is vital for a company to also:
-find the right people for the function
-create a quickly-operating and compliant employment system
-know how to manage labor effectively and provide support
-plan and set up the right structure for continuous growth
In essence, to assure a fruitful expansion to a foreign market or attract and keep foreign workers, a company needs to take into account both external and internal factors. Only in such, carefully planned environment, coordinating global mobility makes sense.
Coordinating Aspects of Mobility Strategy
To attain true global mobility, a company needs to develop a unique strategy and involve key players in its development. While the strategy should focus on important features of employee distribution, key players are people in the company’s global mobility strategy development and consulting team.
A process of employee deployment is not a job for one person or even one department. It requires coordinated interdepartmental efforts. The global mobility management team must take into account the payroll and tax, relocation logistics and immigration, cultural adjustment, and accounting factors.
Careful accounting starts with determining which departments must be involved in the global mobility strategy. It is also vital for monitoring, analysis, and evaluation of previous and current international assignments. Creating and maintaining a database is pivotal. It leads to the creation of indicators necessary to assess the effectiveness of a company’s global mobility efforts.
Work permits, visas, and residence permits should be secured on time to assure a smooth employee transition. If a company doesn’t have previous experience in global mobility, it is recommended to research and get well-acquainted with both the host country and home country procedures and requirements. This is highly important as any violations in regards to visas and permits will limit the global mobility of the company in the future.
It is not only that the company should ensure safe and secure relocation for employees but also devise a plan for repatriation at the end of their assignment. Often, employees who relocate for the assignment relocate with their families. The company must help the whole family settle, caring for their needs, and do what they can to reduce transportation costs if possible. Helping the employee adjust to the new surroundings includes efforts in educating the employee on local customs. An inability to cope with culture shock doesn’t have to be a reason for unsuccessful international assignments.
Before embarking on a global mobility mission, a company needs to assess both home and host country employment legislation and regulations. A business needs legal advisors to determine the legality of employment agreements in foreign countries and create adequate work contracts, provide assurance letters, and fulfill all legal requirements.
Tax arrangements are usually considered during the strategy development phase. A company will not move into a new market if tax regulations or incentives are not favorable. But if they are, it befalls the company’s legal advisors to ensure income tax compliance. The last thing an employee and the company want is to be taxed by both the host and home country. Moreover, according to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), moving expenses deduction is suspended until January 1, 2026.
Smooth compensation processing is perhaps the most important concern from the perspective of an employee, but also one with the highest priority in coordinate global mobility strategies. A quality compensation plan involves not only the processing of salary. It should also ensure social security benefits, including health insurance and pension benefits. But this is not all. As mentioned before, in the case of family relocation, a compensation plan should consider housing and relocation package. It should involve compensation for the family travel expense and any home sale/purchase assistance.
Martina Nowak is a moving consultant and a long-time writer for the Movage Moving NYC blog. She enjoys sharing her experience on a vast number of moving-related topics and, thus, making people’s residential and business relocations effortless and exciting.