Fixing the inefficiencies in global mobility operations

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Organising an international move is so complicated, but it doesn’t need to be

Within the next decade global mobility will be one of the most strategic areas of human resources. Even today the capability to attract and deploy talent around the globe is a strong competitive advantage.

Global mobility programmes are an excellent way to foster a leadership pipeline, attract and engage employees, and fill global skills gaps. But if you pull back the operational layers of moving an employee from point A to point B (and then back again if on assignment), the associated risks, costs, frustrations and inefficiencies are staggering.

MOVE Guides and the RES Forum recently surveyed more than 80 multinational companies and found that only 18% of global mobility professionals are satisfied with their current programmes. The survey also revealed that talent mobility is widely regarded as one of the most complicated aspects of HR.

When explaining the level of complexity, I often say that mobility today is like ordering an Uber but having to call the driver, dispatch, car dealership, credit card provider and insurance company. There are too many points of contact, no communication between the moving parts, dissatisfied customers and no easy way to track the status of the car.

Often referred to as a last mile business process, talent mobility is perhaps better categorised as a hard-to-automate business process for managing a disparate workforce.

Traditional relocation management companies are reluctant to change their complex and opaque business models. Traditional HCM vendors are also absent from this sector of HR tech because they lack the global mobility knowledge in payments and tax, supply chain management, and employee move support.

All these factors point to an ideal opportunity for technology disruption to transform the complex into the easy to use.

Delivering a successful global mobility programme requires co-ordinating HR processes, helping employees organise their individual move, sourcing and managing a chain of global suppliers (shipping, immigration, etc.), and facilitating payments to these vendors. Building a successful enterprise application requires mapping this complexity into a data model, bringing together these components, and building simple and elegant experiences for the different users.

Add to this the complexity of building scalable configuration and permissions for different global mobility programmes and policies, and building integrations with a supply chain that has many categories and virtually no APIs or integration experience. Then blend this technology solution with global mobility expertise and offline support for the escalations that invariably happen in an international move.

I often refer to this as bringing together Lego blocks to build a single mobility structure. These Lego blocks represent the different pieces of a global mobility programme. There are independent systems to do HR processes, such as estimating the cost of a move; the many suppliers who perform services for employees and hold data about it; numerous different places where an employee consumes information while planning a move; and the various payment gateways, payroll systems and cost of living information.

To make an elegant global mobility system for companies, employees and service providers we must put all of these global mobility Legos together — one by one — into a single technology solution.

MOVE Guides’ Talent Mobility Cloud platform offers a replacement for incumbent outsources for the first time and drives much better satisfaction for companies, employees and partners. Global mobility can now be managed by a beautiful and elegant Lego structure and no longer has to be regarded as a last mile business process.

Brynne Herbert is CEO and founder of MOVE Guides. Find out more about MOVE Guides’ Talent Mobility Cloud

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