Although many MNCs will have developed a strategy that addresses moves driven by business need and employee development opportunities, very few smaller companies have an international strategy in place for either international resourcing or the business overall.

So what is Global Mobility and why might your business require a Global Mobility review?

For some modern agile businesses, often there will not be a proper strategy, with the business going where a customer requires. Therefore, a key purpose of any review would be helping the internal Global Mobility resources in understanding and sharpening the overall strategy and then deriving improvements from there.

Global Mobility comprises a broad range of HR activities and stakeholders from international resourcing, compensation and benefits, talent management, inclusion and diversity, leadership development and expatriate tax & social security.

Some of the issues faced by Global Mobility management include:

A review of the effectiveness of a company’s approach to their Global Mobility set up might include analysis of each of the following areas:

Operational efficiencies

A key aspect of operational effectiveness is cross-functional coordination and communication; this might include mapping cross-border decision-making processes and authorisations that enable information to flow across internal and external networks.

Equally, internal resources need to ensure an effective approach to the collective learning and skills development of people responsible for managing international deployments; which might include a review of how feedback from previous assignments is collated and shared, and how intercultural awareness is part of any training.

Cost optimisation

Global Mobility budgeting and assignment cost projections are often unhelpful, as they do not approach the analysis from a broad perspective.

The costs of Global Mobility are the cumulative effect of a number of different elements. Typically, companies limit their focus to internal administrative and operational costs and external vendor contracts. However, to achieve more quality and value we would instead recommend prioritising:

Cost optimisation is not just about cost reduction – it is examining how you might make the current spend work better.

This could involve an evaluation of:

Risk minimisation

Perceptions of complexity and change across the financial, legal and compliance domains and company-specific external risk factors can drive a review of Global Mobility risk.

Often internal Global Mobility resources will not be fully aware of all regulatory and stakeholder pressures, nor who has which roles and responsibilities for tax risks relating to internationally mobile employees.

Some of the major components of a review of Global Mobility risk minimisation would include:

International resourcing

Less experienced internal Global Mobility resources often overlook the importance of choosing the right person for the job and preparing people for assignments.

A review would examine a company’s approach to the intercultural challenges for internal teams coordinating across borders as well as the cultural aptitude of the employees deployed.

This is the biggest success factor of an international assignment – with the right person it can often work in spite of the process; with the wrong person, the risk of things going wrong rises exponentially.

Global Mobility reviews are not just the domain of big businesses. If your company is deploying people overseas in any capacity, you should consider a review in order to determine your strategy and prevent costly errors. Any review you undertake should offer recommendations for improving the effectiveness of the operations and aligning Global Mobility objectives to international resourcing strategies. Key to the development of solutions is the reconciliation of the change recommendations for all four aspects of international resourcing, ie. strategy, policy, tax planning, and operations.

Neela Chauhan, UHY Hacker Young

This article is a part of the UHY Hacker Young “Prosper Magazine” Third edition of 2019. Read the full magazine here

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