Written by: Beth Bowen
The world is getting smaller. It’s more common than ever to relocate elements of your workforce around the world to execute projects, train international talent or simply move expertise where it’s needed. However, the world is still big enough to create challenges when you try to do so. That’s what global mobility services are for.
This broad category of services can be daunting if you don’t know what you’re looking for. For example, what should you be thinking about when putting together a relocation plan?
To help clear things up, here’s Airswift’s Global Mobility checklist: your guide to making the most of mobilisation.
First though, what exactly is global mobility? You might have an idea that it’s about helping companies move their workforce (individuals or teams) around the world to where they’re needed. You’d be right, but global mobility is so much more than bulk booking flights and sending some taxis to the airport.
Global mobility is about managing and optimising every possible aspect of the move. From navigating (sometimes labyrinthine) immigration and visa systems, to airport pickups. From arranging accommodation, to finding schools and leisure facilities for family members. From handling local taxation and payroll to optimising employment structures. From guaranteeing compliance and comfort, to reassuring on safety and security.
It stretches to every aspect of the move. It smooths the process for the employer and the employee(s) relocating for work.
If you’re going to trust a third party with something as important as the safety and security of your workforce though, you need to choose wisely. Here are four things to think about when choosing a global mobility provider.
Full compliance with employment and tax laws within one country is complicated. Ensuring everything is done the right way across multiple geographies is another matter entirely. When contracting a global mobility consultant, consider whether they really do know how to relocate workforces compliantly to everywhere they say they can.
Some can even go a step further, providing global employment outsourcing, taking on the whole burden to ensure quick and efficient movement of teams. Global talent acquisition services can also help expand them.
Transparency is also important. In many cases a global mobility consultant will be contracting third parties to provide services on the ground. That’s all well and good, but are they clear about their mark-up? Are there any hidden fees? Can you be sure there aren’t sweetener deals at play and, if there are, are you confident the supplier has been chosen on merit? A transparent vendor management policy is a must.
It’s been said so many times it feels like a cliché, but it’s true: a company’s most valuable resource is its people. When you move those people out of the safety and security of their home country, you need to be sure they are safe and secure in the new one, and they need to feel it too.
Some countries are more dangerous than others. This could be as simple as a safety briefing before mobilisation, or a fully-fledged security team. Make sure you’re confident your provider is a safe pair of hands.
The same also applies to data and information. Ensuring this is kept secure throughout dealings with third-parties across the world is easier said than done, but vital to protect both your people and commercial interests.
In today’s connected world, it’s possible in theory to do this all remotely from an office in Houston or London. In practice though, there’s no beating genuine, on-the-ground local knowledge.
A mobility specialist steeped in the local culture and environment will likely have a better handle on local laws and regulations, will know how to operate safely (having lived there themselves) and know which third-party services to contract if necessary.
And a local presence adds a human element too. Someone to meet the assignee at the airport. Someone who can advise the family on good schools or where to shop because they’ve used the same facilities themselves. Someone in the same place and time-zone to go to with any needs or concerns: to provide a human touch.
At Airswift, we have a growing network of more than 60 global offices to provide exactly that.
It’s no good putting in all that work to move people safely, securely and comfortably to a far-flung corner of the globe and just leave them stranded there though. Sooner or later, most of them will want to return home or move on again. But demobilisation isn’t always as simple as hopping on a plane and packing some boxes.
There are often financial matters to account for, ensuring tax affairs are fully settled, for example. Personal goods need to be shipped back with care. Accommodation sold or rental contracts concluded. In short, make sure your global mobility provider doesn’t consider the job done until the assignment is complete.
Whether moving a handful of individuals, operations or even entire company relocation, international relocation is a major undertaking. Keep those considerations in mind, and you’ll ensure that global mobility works for you and your workforce.
At Airswift, we go further: our global mobility services move organisations and teams safely, compliantly and comfortably. From immigration, to accommodation, to demobilisation, Airswift’s network of over 60 global locations ensures a trusted partner is there every step of the way.