As today’s global village gets smaller with every passing day, many forward-looking companies are increasingly entering into mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and overseas collaborations for reaping the benefits of operating and trading in multiple countries and promoting innovation, development and market outreach. These companies are also sending and engaging their HR and legal resources to foreign locations to facilitate the effectiveness of such business expansion and ensure continued organizational sustenance. Going global, however, is posing challenges due to the scarcity of talents and necessary skill sets in many locations and industries.
Today most companies expanding overseas are managing international functions in the same way as they would in their home countries. However, what works for businesses and employees in one country may not work in another in the face of constantly changing markets and regulatory requirements in terms of employee work authorization, benefits and taxation. For enduring business success in this new era of globalization, effectively managing and infusing a sense of belongingness among the international talent pools through a well-crafted global mobility strategy is seen as indispensable.
Global Mobility- What is it?
Global mobility is an organisational function enabling employees to seamlessly move from one location to another and achieve success both in their professional and personal lives. This function primarily deals with logistical issues of relocation, legal and tax compliance, support for family and dependents, technology and fixing employee settlement. As this function evolves, it includes more strategic aspects of value creation, talent development and workforce satisfaction. HR functions usually run and manage global mobility programs in consultation with a professional and well-reputed service provider of global mobility solutions.
Mobile employees are company workers who are transferred to another country either permanently or on long-term or short-term assignments as well as those who travel to other countries quite often.
What are some key challenges faced by the Global Mobility functions?
No doubt our world is becoming smaller due to increased connectivity, however, it is also becoming more complicated due to higher regulatory intervention and geopolitical uncertainties. The key challenges faced by the global mobility functions include the following.
Immigration legislations are subject to frequent changes and each country has its own set of immigration policies that vary in complexity. As immigration policies constantly evolve depending on social, political and economic situations, it makes immigration a tough global mobility challenge for organizations.
Tax Law and Employment Requirements
Like immigration legislation, tax and social security regulations are also becoming incredibly complex. Tax policies not only vary from country to country but may also be different in different jurisdictions in the same country adding more complications and challenges for global mobility.
To ensure that business is following the rules and regulations when it comes to taxes, one should seek professional advice about the payroll-related aspects of global mobility by engaging an expert global payroll solutions provider to address withholding employee taxes needed by the home and host countries and withholding for social security and other benefits required by the home and host countries.
Inadequate Skill Sets
Global mobility professionals running global mobility programs often lack data analytics and technology skills which are critical in making the right strategies and recommendations
The logistics of relocating employees and sometimes their families, to different parts of the world, can be extremely tricky and challenging considering travel assistance, immigration/visa services, educational assistance for children, language training, international banking, airport transfers, housing and many more.
Talent Identification and Employee Compensation
Devising a way to match talent to global assignments and opportunities can be an uphill task for global mobility functions as unconventional elements like a gig and remote working are finding their way. Deciding on employee compensation also becomes challenging in such situations considering employee satisfaction and the financial burden on the organisation.
How can Global Mobility functions overcome challanges?
First, businesses need to design a thorough global mobility strategy with flexible and cost-effective policies for seamlessly transitioning employees travelling or living in foreign countries to address global mobility challenges successfully. The strategy must provide a well-documented system, eliminating outdated policies and contradictory procedures with comprehensive guidance for cross-border employee mobilization which must be in perfect alignment with the organization’s business plan, vision, mission and objectives.
Second, businesses must effectively address the logistical challenges by developing robust supply Chain management.
Third, multiple payrolls must be eliminated and a global payroll system with an appropriate interface to be put in place for effective management of payroll.
Fourth, a travel Tracking system should be implemented for timely tracking of business travel and ensuring accurate visibility of the mobile workforce.
Fifth, an HR tracking system must be in place to quickly know employee skills, educational background and linguistic capabilities.
Last but not the least, implementing a skill development program for global mobility professionals including mobility compliance risks, talent management, finance, vendor Management and interpersonal skills.
How can Global Mobility functions move beyond compliance and add value to an organisation?
Though compliance continues to be one of the key priorities in global mobility ensuring timely tax reporting & withholding and appropriate work authorizations and renewals, the priorities are gradually shifting to that of value creation. Mobility professionals are now adding value to an organisation in several ways.
Flexible policies are helping organisations to deploy a global workforce quickly and retain competitive advantage by avoiding wastage of time and talents to achieve increased revenue.
Value is delivered when mobility functions proactively respond and advise the future mobility needs of the organisation.
Identifying issues and mitigating risks early enough with minimal implication on cost and resources.
Increased investment in technology and automation helps improve operational efficiency and maximise the productivity of mobility processes resulting in cost advantage.
Outsourcing mobility programmes to experts in legal and relocation services helps eliminate penalties and delays in visa processing reducing costs.
The main pillar of global mobility is an impeccable strategy and a committed team to implement that strategy. To smoothly deploy employees in international locations and effectively manage immigration and payroll issues, businesses are recommended to engage a global mobility partner.
The challenges associated with global mobility couldn’t deter businesses from expanding their operations internationally, instead enhancing their growth prospects by identifying the hurdles and deploying professionally qualified global EOR services with proven experience. Being an HR service, an Employer of Record keeps a business compliant with local laws and can onboard and manage staff on an organization’s behalf.