In the last few years, our world has become more connected by technology and digital advancements, breaking international boundaries and expanding the global workforce. Now more than ever, organizations are building remote, hybrid, and digitized workforces. These workforces enable companies to move into new markets and access vast talent pools in other countries.
As it becomes increasingly common for employees to move and work across international borders, growing organizations need to create a global mobility strategy to manage their dispersed workforce effectively and compliantly. This article covers how global mobility is becoming more popular and how you can craft your own strategy to unlock the potential of the everywhere workforce.
What is global mobility?
Global mobility is a relatively new term describing the process of relocating to different countries or regions for employment purposes. A strong global mobility strategy enables employees to move from one location to another with minimal company disruptions and complications regarding immigration, tax, or pay. Global mobility encompasses other logistical and tactical issues that often come with international relocation, such as:
- Legal compliance
- Ensuring continuity
- Support for families and dependents
Global mobility programs are often run by HR leaders who play a major role in strategic workforce strategy and talent development. These programs vary depending on the nature of the business, the company culture, and the type of work an employee does. Global mobility programs allow companies to expand their reach outside of their home countries to:
- Create a more diverse workforce.
- Branch out to new locations.
- Maintain business partnerships.
Global mobility includes employees who are on short- or long-term assignments, commute to another country regularly, or travel to various countries often. Achieving true global mobility means a company can more efficiently navigate the critical aspects of international workforce management.
Why is global mobility important?
Establishing a global mobility strategy ensures you maximize the potential within your workforce. By placing the right people in the right jobs and locations, you can help everyone perform at their best and exceed customer expectations. Since digital transformation and the demand for global growth are on the rise, your company may need to send out teams to different locations to grow and succeed.
Today, companies are no longer competing locally or nationally. Instead, organizational leaders fight for market share with competitors all over the world. For this reason, increasing your workforce’s productivity and effectiveness can help drive a critical advantage.
By implementing a global mobility program, your company can efficiently manage international talent as you scale worldwide. This growth can help you build a future-oriented plan for your organization. Global mobility will also empower your company to deploy your international workforce:
- Compliantly: Global mobility means ensuring you comply with local regulations in your target country.
- Efficiently: Global mobility helps you locate and transfer employees to another country with minimum friction and within a short timeline.
- Consistently: Each individual employee’s deployment will follow a similar, seamless process.
If your organization wants to stay ahead of the competition and earn more revenue, global mobility is key. Such a program can empower you to expand your limits and build a forward-thinking company culture, which can help you attract more employees. Studies show that employees value remote job flexibility because it allows for a lower likelihood of job stress and higher job satisfaction, increasing employee retention.
In the past, companies generally had to establish a new office in another country to access the workforce there. Now, with a strong global mobility program to manage your team members internationally, you can let employees work remotely.
What is a global mobility strategy?
Global mobility encompasses various scenarios that apply to different types of organizations. A global mobility strategy, however, is a unique plan for a specific company. Implementing these strategies helps businesses seamlessly transition employees who live in other countries or travel often. Global mobility strategies offer a robust structure and comprehensive guidance for employee mobilization across borders. You should closely align this strategy with your business plan, workplace values, and corporate vision.
No two global mobility strategies will be the same, so you can’t pick a template and apply it to your organization. When creating your own unique mobilization strategy, include these elements to ensure your plan is successful:
- Make sure all relevant global mobility consultants and team leaders are consistently involved in the planning process.
- Review all key considerations for each employee.
- Develop meticulously detailed workflows.
Because global employee mobility strategies contain many complex elements, keep in mind that developing and growing internationally takes time. Still, it’s worth the benefits in the end.
The benefits of a global mobility strategy
The combined cost, effort, and implementation it takes to build a robust global mobility strategy can be intimidating for some organizations. Though your company may have unique challenges and pain points, you can develop a program that meets your budget and enables growth. With the right assistance, your company can design and implement a successful global mobility strategy that benefits your employees and the organization as a whole. Here are the top benefits of a clear global mobility strategy.
1. Enables cost control
One of the biggest concerns when implementing a new program is how to manage the expenses. Proper planning can save your company significant money and help you avoid running into additional compliance and administration costs.
When it comes to international transfers, planning is critical. Understanding the key rules ahead of time can help you avoid unnecessary expenses and keep your program aligned with your company budget.
2. Empowers flexibility
Global mobility benefits you and your employees because it promotes work flexibility. Even internationally, virtual and remote work options can boost productivity and creativity. Research indicates that those who work in flexible job positions have an improved work-life balance and are able to meet deadlines efficiently. By providing global mobility opportunities, you empower your entire organization to embrace the future and adapt to new working trends.
3. Allows organizations to enhance their existing talent
International employee retention is one of the top goals for many organizations. After all, high employee turnover can be costly. Your company may also struggle to grow if your team members are quitting often. Global mobility strategies can help your existing employees develop their skills and provide them with new growth and learning opportunities. These incentives can make them feel more satisfied with their jobs and more likely to stay with your company.
4. Provides valuable data and insights
In the age of technology, organizations are finding new ways to gain, store, share, and use important data. Global mobility strategy planning allows you to implement the appropriate technology and platforms that help you watch for trends, predict future results, and budget according to your employees’ needs.
Global mobility programs are highly supported by different technologies that can help you compile and interpret data about your international employees. This data can make it easier to set the stage for more successful outcomes in the future.
The challenges of global mobility
When developing your global mobility strategy, keep in mind that there are both pros and cons of relocating employees internationally. Covering the following topics can help you avoid global mobility problems down the line and streamline processes for your HR team, administration leaders, and employees.
Every country has different immigration policies, and some can be very complex. Your company must review and understand the policies for granting remote work visas and requirements for living temporarily or permanently in another country.
Remember that immigration policies constantly evolve. You must check them regularly and determine whether anything has changed. Keep a list of your employees, their locations, and each country’s work and residency requirements. Determine what your organization and employees are individually responsible for regarding the relocation and immigration process.
2. Tax requirements and compliance
When operating with employees internationally, you must understand the employment obligations of the home and destination countries. One of these major obligations includes relocation tax. Your employees working in another country, or your company itself, may have legal responsibilities for paying income tax. These taxes vary by country. You will also need to review:
- Social security regulations
- Payroll compliance
- Reporting requirements
- International pension arrangements
- Residency requirements
Determine how your organization will pay employees living internationally and how it will differ from your local employees. You’ll need to consider:
- Exchange rates
- Salary adjustments for relocation
- Relocation bonuses
- Compensation packages
- Cost of living differences
Ensure your employees know what to expect when it comes to income to help them feel more comfortable and prepared for their move.
4. Employee retention
Though employees will feel excited about their new international career opportunities, moving is still a stressful experience. The stress can be even greater for employees with spouses and children. When it’s time for them to move, your HR team should make the transition as smooth as possible by introducing flexible options to ensure employee retention.
After all, it can be expensive to relocate an employee only for them to quit when they get to the new location. A strong global mobility strategy that includes employee acclimation services can help your employees and their families adjust to their surroundings.
How to create a global mobility strategy
When you’re ready to design your global mobility program, follow these steps to implement an efficient and seamless transition.
1. Determine your reason for building a global mobility program.
The first step to creating a global mobility strategy is identifying the program’s purpose, goals, and needs. Consider your key objectives, the problems you want to solve, and how the program will benefit your organization and employees. When you figure out the “why,” you can determine the “how.” This first step will help you properly allocate your funds, resources, time, and teams.
2. Outline your strategy design.
Once you’ve outlined the purpose behind your global mobility program, you can start designing it. Consider the following aspects:
- Talent pool growth goals
- Target countries or markets for growth
- Employee benefits, compensation, and healthcare
- Travel and residential logistics
- Mobility policies
- Family support
- Professional development
- Training needs
- Pricing and budget
- Relocation incentives
After you’ve listed the elements you need to plan, get feedback from your leadership team and adjust your policies as needed.
3. Assemble your ideal team.
Create your dream team to implement a successful, efficient global mobility program. To build an effective global team, determine which team members are experts in their fields. Include any high-level stakeholders who you should involve in the international growth process.
Clearly communicate the roles and responsibilities of each team member. Assess their needs and the needs of your mobile workforce. For instance, if you want to grow in 10 different countries, ensure you hire in-country HR and administrative experts to help create a seamless experience.
4. Include employee wellbeing in the program design.
A top priority in any organization is employee wellbeing. Success is more probable when your employees feel appreciated, supported, and well-equipped to take on their new roles in your global mobility program. By embedding employee wellness into your global mobility policies, you can enhance the experience for them and their families, reduce the stress of relocating, and help ensure the long-term success of your program.
5. Consider employee support systems.
Because your global mobility program brings about significant life changes for employees, consider what type of additional support you can offer them. These global mobility services could include anything that may help them be more productive, creative, and resilient, even when in a different part of the world. Establishing certain offerings can show your employees that you empathize with the change they’re taking on and set them up for success. Here are some global employee support services you may want to invest in to make their transition easier:
- Health insurance
- Emotional wellness services
- Global banking
- Relocation travel assistance
- Household goods transport
- Cross-cultural and language training
- School search assistance for dependents
- Airport transfers
- Reconciling forms and extension filings
Hiring your global mobility team
Once your company begins to develop its global mobility strategy, it’s important to build a team that includes all potential stakeholders. This team should include the following:
1. Legal teams
First and foremost, you should always include your legal team when creating a new program that involves international travel or relocation. Your legal counsel can help you by providing general advice regarding compliance, taxes, and other critical international legislation regulations when determining your global mobility strategy.
2. A global mobility consultant
Having someone on your team to serve as a single source of knowledge for everything you need to know about global mobility is essential. Your global mobility consultant can improve your strategy by:
- Providing details about work visas and certifications.
- Helping your company connect with embassies or consulates.
- Formulating global deployment procedures.
- Crafting policy benchmarks.
- Giving ongoing support to relocating employees.
3. Administrative leadership
At some point in your global mobility strategy planning process, you should involve your administrative teams. These teams can ensure all the necessary team members are on the same page with the program. It can be helpful to have administrators in the room when discussing specific policies or the management of day-to-day global mobility operations, such as documentation workflow.
4. HR leadership
As with administrative leadership, you should also involve your HR teams because they manage certain strategy implementations and coordinate employee needs. It’s important for your HR team members to give their advice about employee-related processes because they can provide valuable insight on talent retention and development strategies, as well as help mitigate potential problems.
5. Executives or thought leaders
Finally, you’ll want to include any other high-level executives or important organizational leaders who can help you link your global mobility strategy to your company’s vision. These team members can include anyone who can provide forward-thinking ideas to drive your company’s growth internationally and help you scale in the upcoming years.
Enhance your global mobility program with G-P.
When planning company growth and developing an international program, consider working with a global growth expert to guide you along the way and help you overcome the common challenges of scaling a remote workforce.
Our #1 Global Growth Platform™ makes it fast and easy to find, hire, and manage employees and independent contractors in 180+ countries. We empower companies to support employees at all stages throughout the employee lifecycle while maintaining compliance with local labor laws, giving you more time to focus on your daily operations.
Contact us or request a proposal to learn more about our platform.