An international mobility program is more complex than moving employees within the same company. It involved managing more services, details, tax implications, legal, and compliance issues. The needs of an employee relocating internationally vary by scenario, but working from a global mobility policy template will expedite urgent decisions when the need to send an employee abroad arises.
In this article, we will outline what to include in an international mobility policy and provide the global mobility policy examples that the relocation consultants at NRI Relocation present to our clients when they begin planning their global mobility program.
The Importance of a Global Mobility Program
While global mobility requires a lot of resources, the cost is low in comparison to the expense of an unsuccessful international assignment. The company risks losing a valuable employee, the trust of a disgruntled department or client, and time to complete the assignment’s task. A failed client assignment can put an entire project or client relationship in jeopardy.
Extensive global mobility program planning and detailed policies can help avoid these risks.
Types of International Assignments & Global Mobility Policy Tiers
Extended Business Travel Global Mobility Policy
In this scenario, the talent usually remains employed in their home country. The main global mobility services they would need would be transportation and corporate housing accommodations.
Short-Term International Relocation Global Mobility Policy
Long-Term International Relocation Global Mobility Policy
The company must provide extensive services, resources, and care for employees moving abroad temporarily for work. These services include more complex tax and immigration assistance, destination resources and cultural training, significant moving services, extensive travel, support for the employee’s family, housing for the duration of the assignment, and repatriation.
Permanent International Corporate Relocation Global Mobility Policy
The company will provide tax, immigration, relocation, and destination services for a successful relocation. However, after the initial arrival period, the global mobility policy will usually guide changes in compensation and benefits and leave the employee to arrange their new life in the country, including housing and arrangements for their family.
The Process of Creating a Global Mobility Program Strategy
Employee International Relocation Needs Assessment
NRI Relocation begins any international relocation process with a needs assessment. This helps companies understand the unique costs, challenges, and scenarios of their employees’ relocations, allowing them to plan better for success. Compared to domestic relocation, a more extensive needs assessment is required for global mobility.
The company should carefully choose the employee best suited for the assignment, considering whether they will succeed and thrive in the host country.
An analysis determines the employee’s unique needs for a global mobility package and associated costs, including cost-of-living and tax implications. The needs assessment is individualized for each assignment, and one should be performed for each employee possibly moving abroad.
Once the company is confident, they should approach the employee with the opportunity and provide all the information necessary for the employee to make an informed decision for themselves and their family. The letter of assignment will detail the international relocation package, including all employee compensation and benefits for the duration of the assignment. This includes costs for the move and benefits for daily life, such as salary, vacation, and medical coverage.
Pre-Assignment Global Mobility Benefits & Support
If both the employee and the company are ready to proceed, the first step in the pre-assignment phase is to initiate the corporate visa and immigration process. This process determines the timeline for relocation.
Once the timing for the relocation is set in motion, the employee prepares for departure by undergoing medical exams and language and cultural training, as required. They will also make a pre-departure visit to the host country to plan their housing and life during their assignment.
Preparations are made for the employee’s departure, including their travel, moving of household goods, and arrangement of destination services.
On-Assignment Global Mobility Benefits & Support
Additionally, there may be other benefits, compensation changes, and cost of living adjustments for the employee during their time abroad.
International Employee Repatriation
Using a Corporate Relocation Company to Manage a Global Mobility Program
Now that you understand a global mobility program process better, it may seem overwhelming. That’s why most companies hire a corporate relocation company to manage their international mobility program from top to bottom.
A global mobility management company’s expertise sets up assignments for success during pre-assignment planning. A relocation company has the knowledge to craft global mobility policies, assignment budget analyses, and letters of assignment that meet both employees’ needs and companies’ goals.
Global mobility consultants then work one-on-one with employees to coordinate all pre- and on-assignment international relocation services, including immigration, tax, housing, household goods move, destination services, and any other service required for a smooth assignment. This proactive management ensures quality relocation services and gives employees the attention they need during an overwhelming transition.
Managing global mobility is a complex job with many details and high stakes for the company, the employee, and the employee’s family. NRI Relocation’s global consultants work overtime to connect with employees in every time zone and find solutions for their needs.
The risks of a failed global mobility assignment are high, so the role of a corporate relocation company is to ensure its success.
Typical Global Mobility Program Services & Benefits
Global Mobility Management
The corporate relocation company manages the entire global mobility policy. They guide the company in planning and budgeting the policies and assignments. Then, the global consultants coordinate all the employees’ international relocation services.
Global Tax Consultation
Global mobility complicates tax. When an employee moves abroad, they may need to pay taxes in both the home and host countries.
The global tax consultant works with both the company and employee to track spending, maintain tax compliance, and determine the most adventurous tax strategy.
Global Compensation Analysis
When an employee lives or works abroad, it raises questions about salary, compensation, payroll, and cost of living. The relocation company creates a policy to solve these uncertainties and helps manage employee compensation and payroll for the duration of their assignments.
Visa & Immigration
An employee cannot relocate internationally without the proper Visa or immigration. The relocation management company coordinates the legal assistance for Visa sponsorship, immigration process, and managing all renewals and compliance.
Household Goods Relocation
For short-term, long-term, and permanent international relocations, the company provides household goods moving. This global mobility service usually includes air and container shipments for the employee and family’s personal belongings.
In some cases, storage may be required in the home country while the family is abroad.
Some employees may prefer furnished housing or a furniture allowance in place of a household goods move benefit.
Housing is a complex aspect of global mobility services and benefits, as it can take various forms. Companies may provide international corporate housing for the duration of the assignment, or they may offer other compensation or assistance to help employees rent their own residence in the host country.
Some companies also assist employees with their residence in their home country while they are away, which may include compensation for canceling their lease, paying for long-term storage of their belongings, or helping to coordinate a home lease or sale.
Corporate housing is less common for permanent international relocations, in which case the company will restructure compensation and provide guidance for renting or buying a home in the new country.
Language & Cultural Training
Employers offer language and cultural training to help employees and their families adapt to a new country. These benefits include language classes, cultural adaptation, and cross-cultural communication training.
Education & Family Support
The happiness of an employee’s family can significantly impact their decision to continue with a work assignment. Global mobility benefits for the employee’s family can be provided to ensure the assignment’s success.
In some cases, the company may cover the cost of the employee’s children’s education in an international school while they are living abroad. This helps minimize the disruption to the children’s development, even though they live in a foreign country where they may not speak the language.
Additionally, some employers offer spousal support to enable the employee’s partner to continue pursuing their career in a different country.
Destination & Settle-In Services
Destination services provide benefits that help employees and their families adjust to life in a new country. These settling-in services can include finding medical care, setting up bank accounts, getting help with utilities, identifying schools, purchasing vehicles, and more. These services are particularly important for international relocations where the employee will be living in the host country for a year or more.
Miscellaneous Allowances & Benefits
International Relocation Package Costs
Length of the Assignment
The longer the assignment, the bigger the global mobility benefits package. The exception is a permanent international relocation because it incurs fewer ongoing costs.
Household Goods Move
Executive relocations often require more services at higher price points to entice high-value talent.
Global Mobility Policy Example
The document outlines a sample executive relocation package for the four global assignment tiers: extended business travel, short-term assignment, long-term assignment, and permanent relocation.