Expansion is the next logical step for any company focused on growth. Expansion of this nature can often take businesses across international borders, offering the chance to tap into foreign markets, ripe with opportunity and promise. In this article, we’ll ask “what are global mobility services?” and explore some of the ways that they can aid friction-free international expansion.

The establishment of a ‘global village’ is more pertinent than ever – with an increasing number of businesses becoming digitalized, and international expansion being a focal point in the growth plans of many companies.

That being said, there is no doubt that managing international teams and employee relocation comes with considerable challenges, costs and effort, which can be difficult for companies to manage without professional assistance.

Caliber of employees acquired and retained is a significant component in any business’s ongoing success. With the international marketplace becoming increasingly competitive, companies clear access to a pipeline of top talent, more than ever before. 

To unlock maximum potential, the strategic relocation of talent into new territories ensures the most effective deployment of skilled workers – the right person, in the right place, at the right time. Global mobility services provide the expert assistance required for successful and compliant international deployments of this nature.

In this article, we’ll explore the way in which global mobility services can support and enhance this ambition.

Global Mobility Defined

Global mobility is best characterized as the ability to move a workforce seamlessly and efficiently across borders. The primary goal of the relocation process is to streamline the process of international expansion, and to make what can be a tumultuous time as frictionless as possible for all concerned. Global mobility services encompass all processes and activities that make relocation possible, in the most uncomplicated and efficient manner.

Relocation can consist of a variety of forms, depending on the specific circumstances and needs of the company. Whereas some employees might need to be permanently transferred abroad, others may relocate more temporarily for contracts of a certain duration. 

Some relocation activities may even be required for extended business trips, which can also see the need for certain visas, permits and acclimatization assistance being offered. However, no matter the duration of the deployment, it can be a stressful time for the employee that also carries a lot of additional admin for the company – both of which can be drastically reduced by partnering with global mobility experts.

Given the fact that the international mobility needs of every company will be unique, a dedicated strategy will need to be formulated to accommodate all of the specific requirements. Once the architecture of this strategy has been completed, the range of services offered will be clear, and this will form the basis of the company’s global mobility program. In essence, the program will be developed with careful consideration for the most efficient and streamlined method of relocating employees abroad.

Global Mobility is Key to Global Expansion

There is a good reason for global expansion factoring so prominently in the trajectories of so many major companies. Global expansion is the most widely used, dependable and popular growth strategy. As the next logical step in the growth plan of many companies, global expansion holds plenty of promise and possibility, not only via gaining access to new markets but also by increasing visibility to new investors and getting a foothold in the region before competitors arrive.

It is important to note that when preparing for global expansion, existing staff may well represent the most valuable assets to deploy. Staff that already work for the company already have extensive experience, training, and knowledge in regard to the company’s business plans, procedures, culture, and expansion goals. Therefore, it makes the most sense to expand the company across borders with the relocation of experienced employees who have the best interest of the company at heart. 

Not only is global mobility beneficial for a company looking to extend its footprint internationally, it is also an attractive drawcard for many employees, who see it as a way to grow professionally and forge a better future for themselves and their families.

A Solution For Any Duration

Establishing a global mobility program that is overseen by a global mobility specialist takes the pain out of planning and executing foreign deployments, no matter the duration. For example, if organizing a team member for a six-month contract previously seemed like more “pain than gain” for the company in terms of internal resources required and the risk of non-compliance, a different, and perhaps less effective alternative would have been found. With the support of a global mobility service solution, barriers and obstacles are removed, with relocations of any duration becoming simpler and more efficiently conducted. 

The flexibility regarding relocations is welcome, as there are many reasons why employees might need to be moved abroad – and as previously mentioned, for various durations. 

However, relocations can generally be categorized into three main categories. Permanent off-site relocation refers to employees who relocate overseas for longer than 12 months. Temporary off-site or on-site relocation refers to the relocation of employees for less than 12 months and depending on the nature of the work, the move can be on or off-site.  Then, an employee-in-place relocation means more of a local relocation, such as when an employee moves perhaps to a newer segment while offices are under construction.

A Closer Look at Global Mobility Strategy

Considering what is at stake, with staff being the key contributors to company success, their well-being is paramount. Because of this, there is considerable weight placed on having a solid global mobility strategy in place, as it can certainly be the “make or break” point of a cross-border transition. With a properly conceived strategy plan on hand, the move for the valuable employee will be as stress-free and comfortable as possible, which is a much sought-after result – especially when considering the importance of talent retention.  

It is also important to note that the best strategies typically evolve over time – and often through a fair bit of trial and error. A global mobility strategy needs to be periodically realigned with company needs and corrected where necessary, all with the purpose to forge onward more efficiently than before. It is also highly beneficial to keep the strategy up to date in relation to the offerings of competitors. 

Taking everything into account, it is important to understand what a good global mobility strategy fundamentally involves. Typically a strategy will revolve around the following key elements:

  • A carefully formulated triad of methodologies, policies, and procedures that can be applied globally – and also adaptable for any country, region, or location in which the employee will be placed.
  • A plan that is in close correlation to the company vision, values, and growth plan.
  • Detailing regarding workflows, relocation, and destination support, also involving what support looks like and consists of. 

The range of services that the global mobility program ultimately offers is defined by the key objectives of the strategy. Then, the mobility program and associated services are overseen and guided by a GMS (Global Mobility Specialist) – who can best be defined as a person responsible for overseeing all duties outlined in the global mobility program. 

A solid global mobility strategy also needs to be built taking into consideration all the legal complexities that occur when managing an international workforce. In this regard, there are various external solutions to consider to lighten the load, while also assisting with keeping overheads low. Outsourced global human resource agencies have a variety of expert services to consider, and for many companies, they are fast becoming indispensable partners when it comes to managing a global workforce. 

For example, a company can decide if partnering with a PEO (Professional Employment Organisation) might be the best solution for it in managing an international team, as a PEO can hire an employee in that country on behalf of the company, which also means the company can avoid the heavy costs and time involved in creating their own legal entity abroad. 

Similarly, an EOR (Employer of Record) presents an excellent option for simplifying international employment by hiring and paying an employee on behalf of another company while also taking responsibility for all formal employment tasks. 

But ultimately, as every company is fundamentally unique in structure, business plan, ethos, and workflow, the services a global mobility program will offer will be customized to meet individual requirements – and to achieve the most effective result. 

What Are Global Mobility Services?

So, what do global mobility services typically consist of? There are a number of services that are frequently offered on a global mobility program – and that can be accessed based on the global mobility strategy.

Global mobility services commonly address and provide solutions for these various areas of concern: 

  • Employee Travel Arrangements
    Travel arrangements encompass everything relating to a smooth passage for the employee and their family as the admin associated with foreign travel alone can be stressful when undertaken without support. Travel arrangements can include the initial travel booking, passport and visa applications, to security assessments, and pre-move counseling. 
  • Local Compliance and Assistance
    There are a number of complex compliance-related tasks to complete to legally be able to work in a foreign country. Global mobility services streamline the process by assisting with all the necessary paperwork, from work permits to tax and insurance registrations – ensuring that the company and foreign deployment will not run into problems.
  • Destination Support
    Global mobility services also relate to destination support. For example, this support can include local language and culture familiarization, the organizing of healthcare, accommodation, transport, and schooling.

The Solution for any Company Serious About a Strong International Workforce

There is little doubt that global expansion can encounter many pitfalls, especially when not approached correctly. The process of international relocation is also a highly complex one, with many factors and moving parts to consider. Whether relocating experienced employees into new territories to strengthen the international workforce, or to fulfill an important function temporarily, expansion and relocation is a vital strategic move toward company success.

However, effective solutions are at hand, with many companies realizing that their internal resources are best used elsewhere, and therefore opting to outsource these necessary services to experts. By using a global mobility specialist to oversee the relocation process, the risk of the operation encountering problems is significantly reduced. And when the well-being of the very staff the company is set on retaining and placing into new international roles is at stake, mediocrity and substandard processes are simply not an option.

Explore the benefits of global human resource management in more detail. Read more here on How to Unlock the Key Advantages of Global Human Resource Management.