HERE’S THE BACK STORY
Covid has put new pressures on global mobility function and business processes
to address displaced workers and new ways of working.
This has shone an organisational light on global mobility with much greater
understanding for the complexities generated by mobilising talent.
BUT the function is being asked to do more with the same or lower internal
headcount (headcount ratio looks high based on assignee numbers in most sectors)
Overall costs are under pressure (internal, vendor) at a time when new policies
and approaches need to be reviewed and implemented
Time spent in meetings has more than doubled globally, and over 40 billion more
emails were delivered in the year to February of this year compared with last.
The mobility operational processes are generally not digital and therefore require
significant manual effort and external support to deliver.
GM function is not historically strong at requesting business investment in
Now is the time to drive change through the function so that it can deliver future
needs of business – if not now then when….?
Something has to change……
De-mystifying transformation in global mobility
In response to above, GM function looking to transform the function.
General approach is to look at this through gradual change and self-service eg
policy review, vendor review, internal team, business processes.
The problem is that these are time-consuming and generally do not have a clear
overall outcome in mind.
It is likely that most of these transformation initiatives will under-deliver vs
intention and take too long to complete.
All the operational building blocks are linked and without a very clear (and
agreed) outcome, they will take up time without necessarily delivering success.
Implementing a clear data management strategy is rarely on the initial
transformation list of priorities, yet it is critical for the overall outcome to be
Most operational challenges and time/cost can be tracked back to a root cause
which is poor data (payroll, year-end processes, business insight, compliance
activities, finance processes).
There is little to no automation of the overall processes so are these
transformation initiatives focused in the wrong place?
The function needs to take a digital leap forward and be brave and ask for
investment whilst the light is shining and before it moves elsewhere.
Need to articulate a financially based business case for change which most GM
functions are inexperienced in doing – creating a disconnect.
Start at the end – a clear outcome which the business needs, get your data
working for you, your operating model can then deliver efficient outcomes, redefine
your needs from vendors to eliminate spend, improve the assignee and business
Delivering right assignee experience at the right cost to
Now more than ever, delivering the right assignee experience is business critical
as well as the right human outcome.
With a “backlog” in business-critical assignments, the mobility function is going to
find itself busier than ever.
The importance of ensuring that the policy promise is delivered to the
assignee is key.
What happens during the first few weeks and months of a new assignment
define its success.
Most GM functions say that the upfront briefing and the assignment agreements
work well but things can go downhill from there.
The assignee and their families arrive in a new location but immediately face
challenges and frustration.
They have no local spending power and, in many cases, have to self-fund some
initial costs, payroll is normally delayed and can takes 3 plus months to stabilise.
The assignee’sir focus is on dealing with these settling in issues which dilutes the
business impact and leads to frustration and mistrust in the global mobility function.
This creates work for the business and the mobility function to address
escalations and settle things down.
….but does the situation really ever recover if basic commitments are not met at
…and then they hit the year-end compliance processes.
Getting the basics right is crucial – Getting a host bank account set up (ideally in
advance), having spending power on arrival, delivering correct payroll (on time, every
time) makes a massive difference.
Having the right operational processes to deliver this requires investment – but
help is out there…….and the change process is permanent so internal time and
external costs are reduced AND the assignee experience is better.
Put more positively, a strong assignee experience in the first few months of the
assignment can increase the ROI of the whole assignment investment and
differentiate your business from others.
Let me know what you think.
Mike Hibberd, Founder and CEO