Planning an effective global mobility management strategy involves a dance between diverse stakeholders – Human Resources, top management, legal teams, and the employees themselves.
However, all these stakeholders face numerous challenges in global mobility management. From navigating local employment laws to managing salaries and tax implications to overcoming immigration hurdles—it’s a complex, multifaceted process.
Our article will help you successfully maneuver the intricacies of global mobility management.
What is Global Mobility Management
Global Mobility Management (GMM) refers to the strategic coordination of an organization’s ability to move and manage its talent globally. It involves many considerations, including immigration, tax compliance, compensation, housing, and overall support for employees working in different countries.
GMM focuses on effectively managing the deployment of talent across global locations while ensuring their development, retention, and overall success within the organization.
Why companies invest in a global mobility management strategy
There are many benefits in strategically planning a global mobility management strategy.
- Cultivating Future Leaders: A well-thought-out global mobility and talent management strategy can help employees to learn, evolve, and gain invaluable cross-cultural experiences. These exposures can facilitate the growth of potential leaders within your organization.
- Accessing a Global Talent Pool: By implementing a global mobility strategy, you extend your reach into the global talent marketplace, thereby enhancing the quality of your hires.
- Talent Retention: A comprehensive global mobility management program helps retain talent by catering to their individual career goals and aspirations. In many talent markets, employees yearn for a chance to work abroad. By offering a chance at onsite opportunities, you boost your company’s employer brand, helping you retain employees better than your competitors.
- Fostering a Global Mindset: More and more millennials and Gen Z workers are anticipating international assignments during their careers. Many employees join multinational corporations to vye for a chance to work abroad. Having a global mobility strategy will equip your business with a ‘global mindset’, enabling you to stay ahead of the curve.
The Building Blocks: What does a global mobility management strategy look like
Pinning Down Objectives
So, you’re asking, “What can be achieved with a global mobility management strategy?” It begins with understanding your company’s goals. Whether it’s breaking into new markets, attracting international talent, or fostering leaders in a globalized environment, your objectives shape your global mobility approach.
Compliance with International Laws and Regulations
Next on the agenda is ensuring compliance with international laws and regulations. Each country’s immigration, tax, and employment laws are unique and often complex. Here, specialist knowledge and acute attention to detail go a long way.
Cultivating a Support System for Globally Mobile Employees
Another important aspect is building a robust support network for your globally mobile employees. Providing comprehensive pre-assignment preparation, on-assignment support, and repatriation assistance are key. These efforts, coupled with robust health and wellness programs, help maintain high morale and productivity.
Let’s not forget cost management. Global assignments can be pricey. Hence, effective cost management, such as negotiating favorable rates with vendors, structuring tax-efficient compensation packages, and considering lower-cost assignment types, is vital.
As with any strategy, you need to establish key performance indicators (KPIs). These metrics can help you measure the effectiveness of your global mobility strategy. This ongoing analysis allows for strategic tweaks and ensures the continuous evolution of your mobility program.
The Mobility Huddle: Who Needs To Be Involved In Your Global Mobility Management Strategy
When planning the strategy, certain stakeholders should understand the purpose and objectives of the program.
- Compliance teams: Compliance teams need to be in on your global mobility management plans from the get-go. Letting them in as an afterthought will send you straight into a lot of compliance violations in the process of relocating the employee. Different rules may apply for employees becoming ex-pats on a formal multi-year tour versus employees chasing the dream of working from everywhere as digital nomads. You will need their input on local employment law, payrolling, and other compliance aspects related to employment. You will also need experts with respect to visas and work permits. Involve your internal visa experts or partner with companies like Multiplier.
- HR teams: Most likely, your global mobility team will comprise HR professionals. HR will play an important role in three key areas: benefits, total rewards, and well-being. In addition, human resources, business partners, or talent acquisition might be able to provide input. Decide the needed roles and work with your HR leader to determine them.
- Employee engagement teams: We shouldn’t be surprised that global mobility can disrupt the employee experience because change is disruptive. In designing a global mobility strategy, keep the employee experience in mind. People who know what employees look for and need are the people you want on your team.
However, every organization is different. Although the stakeholders may vary depending on the size of the company at its heart, global mobility is inherently cross-functional.
Challenges in global mobility management
Despite assembling your dream team and drawing up a great strategy, your global mobility management program will pose a few challenges. Here’s a heads-up on the challenges you’ll have to be wary of.
Immigration requirements vary from country to country for employers with international employees. To be compliant with the laws of each country, employers need to familiarize themselves with immigration laws, choose the proper visas, secure sponsorship, collect documentation, pay fees, and submit renewal applications on time.
Employment Law and Taxes
In each jurisdiction in which their talent resides, global companies need to comply with local employment and tax laws.
Establishing compliant work agreements requires meticulous navigation of various laws across different jurisdictions, around:
- Minimum wages,
- Income taxes,
- Statutory benefits, and
- Reporting requirements
Unintentional oversights in these areas, especially regarding tax obligations and local employment laws, can invite significant penalties.
For instance, employee misclassification may happen – you might identify your foreign workers as contractors, but local authorities might perceive them as full-time employees under their labor laws. This misclassification could result in back pay, accrued tax liabilities, and restricted business opportunities.
In global mobility management, employers must meticulously structure fair and compliant compensations. This involves setting base salaries that respect each market’s minimum wage, cost of living, and pay equity laws where their workforce is based. Pay discrimination can cost you heavily and can reincarnate into employee attrition.
In addition to compensation, locally-adapted benefits give companies a competitive advantage. By offering equitable employee benefits, you foster a sense of fair employment among your global talent.
Global mobility management involves the risk of creating a Permanent Establishment (PE) in a foreign country, potentially initiating local corporate tax liabilities for globally active companies. PE laws differ globally, with even short-term assignments, like contract negotiations, sometimes indicating PE. To shield themselves from these liabilities, companies often establish local entities in countries where they frequently operate. This, however, can be an extensive and expensive process, requiring substantial long-term investment.
Ensuring compliance & mitigating complication
Global compliance is typically one of the larger hurdles when a business expands internationally. Even in cases where global mobility is not linked to business expansion, compliance is key to ensure authorities on the ground don’t perceive the relocation of an employee as such. There is a web of legal, immigration, and tax issues to navigate with any relocation project, but they don’t have to be a hindrance. A considered and well-researched global mobility strategy can help improve compliance wherever in the world you do business while mitigating associated complications.
How Does Multiplier Help With Global Mobility
Multiplier’s global employment platform helps you relocate employees by enabling you to adhere to local compliance, process payroll, and offer work visas. We have reduced the onboarding time by 90% for employers seeking to build distributed teams. Relocate an employee to your desired location and use Multiplier to payroll and offer benefits promptly.