The Rise of Global Mobility: 4 Things Businesses Need to Know

Ever since the pandemic, our world has increasingly become more connected. As the global workforce continues to expand and stretch across international borders, organizations need to implement a global mobility strategy. Why? Because the talent you need wants you to have it.

What is Global Mobility?

Where global mobility may have been focused on senior leaders and high-earning executives in the past, its implementation is now necessary across the business. That’s because global mobility allows employees to move from one location to another, preferably seamlessly.

Global mobility programs are typically run and facilitated by HR departments or a third-party relocation specialist. Although there are many benefits to global mobility, like culture inclusivity and flexibility, there are some aspects of this strategy that impair its growth in startups.

What Businesses Should Know About Global Mobility

Global mobility can develop existing talent and expand your business when done right. But before you can do that, you need to conquer the following program challenges.

1. Immigration Issues

Every country has its own set of immigration policies, some of which are challenging to navigate. One prominent example is Hong Kong, where visa requirements are bizarrely strict compared to the rest of China. To make matters worse, immigration policies are subject to change.

Since immigration is a necessary, albeit frustrating, part of relocation, companies should hire a dedicated HR or relocation specialist that focuses on screening candidates. Remember that something as trivial as medication could prevent your employee from entering a country.

2. Relocation Logistics

The logistics of relocating employees can be complicated, but considering 59% of your workforce is keen on traveling for employment, it’s worth the effort to:

• Facilitate relocation travel assistance
• Offer employees with children school search assistance
• Coordinate immigration and visa services
• Find a transportation service for household items
• Purchase or rent a home for your employee
• Create a cross-cultural and language training program
• Figure out airport transfers and global banking procedures
• Manage other needed expenses, like extension filings

To make all of this possible, you’ll need to hire a dream team. There are likely folks within your business that can handle certain aspects of relocation, but your team may not be up for the job. If you require outside help, consider hiring a relocation specialist or a third-party agency.

3. Tax and Compliances

The cost of relocation is the main reason why employers won’t facilitate these programs, but globalization is here to stay. If you want to remain competitive, you’ll have to navigate:

• Foreign pension arrangements and deferred compensation
• Withholding and payroll compliances (especially for US citizens)
• Deductions for dividends and stock-based compensation
• Taxes on permanent establishments or dwellings
• Information, tax, and payroll reporting requirements
• Social security, medicare, and other residency issues
• Acquisitions and dispositions of business interest

There’s no doubt that this list is intimidating for employers, but you can make it happen with the right people. It’s a good idea to build a global mobility program slowly; don’t get all your ducks in a row at the last minute. Get a plan in place, then search for candidates.

4. Benefits and Family Life

If you live in a country with socialized healthcare, adding a benefits plan to your relocation strategy is going to be quite expensive. Although add-ons like retirement plans and pensions can cost a pretty penny, nothing is more expensive than an employee flying home too soon.

For relocation to work, you need to embed employee well-being into the program design. Your employees are uprooting their family lives for an international opportunity, so if they aren’t supported during this change, they aren’t likely to stay during the length of the program.

Investing in mental health coaching is one of the best things you can do to ensure the success of your relocation program, but don’t forget to prepare your employees before the move.