As a guest blogger, Emma Holder, Expat Academy Director, shares her thoughts on reducing costs in talent mobility.
Global mobility in a 21st century organisation involves significant investment in human capital so it is no surprise many organisations are putting global mobility costs in the spotlight. So, how can you make this an opportunity for your global mobility function to shine? Let’s start with the obvious one, but one that is too frequently overlooked. Is your talent and global mobility strategy aligned? Assignments are expensive, so make sure that those on international assignments really justify the cost. Does your organisation have a talent mobility matrix? Do you know where your current assignees sit within the matrix? Are they high performing, high potential employees that your company sees as the future and worth the investment? Link up with Talent and start planning ahead for future assignment investment.
What else can you do? Implement a Governance process. Ensure you have strict governance on the criteria for any assignment. This might include the rationale for the assignment, what the output of the assignment will be and who is sponsoring the assignment. Ideally include an accurate cost estimate for the assignment and ask a senior business or HR leader to authorise all moves. You are likely to get push back on this from the business as it slows the process down but where else in the business are functions allowed to progress with a potential $1million+ cost without a business case and senior level sign off?
Next, consider introducing more cost effective policies. Many are still using traditional home based tax equalised policies for all moves over 12 months. If you are one of these organisations, you are missing a trick! We are seeing an upward trend of driver determined policies in 21st century organisations, for example; with millennials flooding the job market most expect to work overseas as part of their career development, so why incentivise these employees if they are ready and willing? Why not consider introducing a Career Development Policy? In general terms this is a host based package where the assignee pays their own taxes and they receive a relocation contribution (notice this is no longer called an allowance!) to assist with their initial move to the host country and repatriation at the end of the assignment. Food for thought?!
Lastly the big one ROI! Make sure your employees don’t leave your organisation and take the international experience you have invested in to a competitor! How can you do this? First rewind to the pre assignment planning, at this stage the business needs to have a career development plan for the assignee and clear assignment objectives, have agreed key performance indicators to measure the success of the assignment. Also consider the repatriation process. Is it effective in managing the assignees expectations? Is the assignee provided with a home country mentor upon their return? Does the assignee have a clear role with defined objectives? Who monitors the retention rates of your returning assignees?
Want to find out more about cost containment for a 21st century organisation? Check out Gemma’s 6 Steps to Measuring the ROI of your Assignments at www.expat-academy.com
Emma Holder, Director, Expat Academy
Emma specialises in organisation effectiveness and expatriate management and has spent over 17 years working in Global Mobility as both a specialist consultant and in-house corporate manager.
Emma started her career in international tax at Arthur Andersen, moved into International HR with PwC and then moved in-house to work for Goldman Sachs and Diageo plc. Emma has also worked as an independent international HR consultant advising companies of best practice and trends in the marketplace.
Emma became a Director of Expat Academy in October 2010 and invested much time and energy in designing the Expat Academy Training courses and online library ‘The Vault’.