Bringing certainty – 5 ways a Global Mobility team can support a business through uncertain times
Currently, it feels like we can’t turn on the news without being faced with yet another event rocking the global stage. From political incidents like Brexit, the growing rhetoric between the US and North Korea, to terrorist attacks and natural disasters, the world is shaping up to be very different from less than a decade ago.
These events have a profound impact on businesses, particularly those who operate internationally. Uncertainty plagues the global markets, affects share prices and leads to dramatic shifts in foreign exchange rates. Changing immigration rules are increasing the complexity of moving employees internationally and employing foreign nationals. Additionally frequent updates to global tax compliance rules can prove costly to companies who are slow to react. However, there are simple steps that the Global Mobility (GM) team can take to prepare a business for volatility, and help to make sure employees are supported and safe. It is advisable to follow the steps outlined below.
- Work with providers to receive up-to-date information
Partner with trusted relocation, tax and immigration providers who provide up-to-date and accurate information relevant to your business. This knowledge will help you better anticipate the potential business impact of events and formulate contingency plans to best keep your business on track.
Providers will often know of likely legislation changes before they are finalised, so keep an open dialogue about forthcoming changes. Your providers may also have mailing lists categorised by subject (e.g., immigration or international tax advice) so ensure you are signed-up to receive timely updates.
- Communicate with the business
GM teams are more frequently seen by businesses not just as an operational department but as an important strategic partner. Open communication across the business is key to the GM team’s ability to provide relevant information to key stakeholders. By anticipating major changes that can adversely impact the business, the GM team can help to effectively mitigate and avoid potential issues.
For example, if the business communicates to their GM team that China is an area of growth and they plan to send 30 employees on international assignments over the next 12 months, the GM team can manage expectations with regards to immigration and tax, and provide updates around the frequently-changing requirements in China, which may impact business readiness.
- Communicate with employees
The GM team can work with the business and providers to develop a communications plan to update affected employees in a timely manner. These communications should address how the company is reacting to the update (i.e., the policy), what support the company will provide for relevant employees, and who to contact should they have any further questions.
For example, if an event leads to foreign exchange movement that devalues the net income of employees on assignment to a specific country, the Global Mobility team can work with the company on their position, inform the employees that the company has acknowledged the change in their remuneration, outline the steps advised by the company to minimise the impact of this change, and highlight who to contact for further information if required.
- Create well documented processes
A well-documented immigration, relocation or tax compliance process enables you to effectively manage the expectations of both the business and employees and provide a well-governed and executed global mobility experience. Having a well-documented process also means it can be easily updated to model and prepare for any changes.
For example, if a last-minute update to the immigration process is anticipated to lengthen the time taken to get an individual on the ground the Global Mobility team can work with immigration providers to model how this might work in practice, communicate the extra time requirements to the business and, where possible, ensure candidates fulfill any additional criteria during the initial selection process.
- Utilise data analytics
Using the data already held by the Global Mobility team can help a business understand where employees are, and anticipate which individuals might be impacted by a sudden issue. Key reference points include: nationality, issuing country of passport, location, age, job title, and assignment start and anticipated end date, where relevant.
For example, if a country issues a new law making it difficult for individuals of a particular nationality to re-enter the country the Global Mobility team can quickly create a report showing all employees working in that country with the particular nationality so appropriate action may be taken by the business.
How can we help?
Our global mobility team has a wealth of technical knowledge and general industry practice experience. We can help you design, implement and operate effective global mobility programmes that support your business objectives and your people. Please contact Bina Gayadien at Bina.Gayadien@abbisscadres.com for more information or see our global mobility brochure for more details.