Relocation. A concept as old as the hills. People have always moved for, or in search of work. But the new, connected, global corporate workplace today has necessitated the emergence of an HRTech category called Mobility Management. Here is how it works and why you probably need it (but don’t know it yet)!
Relocation. A concept as old as the hills. People have always moved for, or in search of work. But the new, connected, global corporate workplace today has necessitated the emergence of an HRTech category called Mobility Management (distinct from the IT-context of Mobility Management which is about managing distributed workforces with connected devices). Here is how it works and why you probably need it (but don’t know it yet)!
Wait, what’s so complicated about relocation anyway?
How many times have you, as a Talent Acquisition or Talent Management professional been saddled with the task of managing a senior executive’s relocation as part of the deal of bringing him or her on board? You end up not just doing the hiring and negotiations, but also get lumped with the task of immigration, arranging visa’s, helping with the relocation and perhaps even putting together a list of good schools in the area! All just so you don’t lose a perfectly good candidate just because of the stress associated with relocation. Or worse, you go through the entire drill and the talent quits anyway because they couldn’t settle into the new location. Sound familiar?
As we go into 2020, and the future of work becomes ever distributed and global, enterprise mobility as a concept is no longer just a logistical issue (or nightmare). It is very much a strategic tool to build a global workforce of the best possible talent . If the business demands that resources get to where they need to be – either at a new research or development facility or in a new or emerging strategic market – HR has to find a way to make it happen.
But HR’s job doesn’t end at identifying and recruiting the best talent- they also need to ensure that the talent relocates in a frictionless manner, and can get productive as soon as possible in the new location . Post-relocation attrition – especially of strategic talent – can be a very expensive affair for the company; and impacts all – the cost of talent acquisition, employee experience, and in many cases, the business outcomes.
That is why global mobility management – especially solutions that are technology-enabled – are entering the conversation in global organizations.
It is increasingly critical that not only is mobility and talent relocation approached and managed as a strategic HR tool, but also as a way to deliver exceptional employee experience.
Julie Knight-Ludvigson, CMO of Topia, tech-enabled global mobility management suite to move and manage global talent, spoke to HRTechnologist on the sidelines of the UNLEASH conference in Vegas in May 2018. We asked her about how the global relocation management industry is evolving as we get into the future of work with distributed workforces, the need for global talent at company-owned locations (two seemingly contradictory trends), and the challenges with strategic adoption of technology-enabled mobility solutions.
As companies go through ‘digital transformation’, HR professionals are starting to look for ways to do things more effectively and efficiently. Global mobility is one of the areas in the HR arena that is yet to be disrupted.
With a global workforce and the need for companies to be able to move their best people around anywhere that the business needs them, without any barriers or logistical/ legal hassles is paramount to the smooth running of the business, and often, its profitability. HR teams need the automated tools and data necessary to make smart strategic decisions across the relocation landscape.
Typical use cases of mobility management solutions
Do HR teams see mobility management as a tech issue, culture issue or an engagement opportunity? Julie says it is, in a way, “all of the above”. It is tech, but ultimately, HR is charged with ensuring that the employee experience is as it should be- helping them imagine and plan what their new life will be like. Let’s look at some of the applications of tech-enabled enterprise mobility solutions:
Scenario planning: This includes cost estimations, what payroll, tax etc. may look like in a foreign location and how it will impact the employee etc. either in case of new hires or existing executives being asked to relocate
Orchestration and assignment management: Checking the eligibility of the candidate to relocate, sorting through the immigration processes and expat processes, getting the visa etc. in place, even the search for the right neighborhood based on schools, work, commute, places of worship, etc. for example.
Talent acquisition: Younger talent coming into the workforce is another opportunity that can be tapped, in this context. This demographic wants to understand their career path, and modeling what mobility may look like over a career path is important to that equation. Technology can help do that, while also helping them understand what their compensation would look like in different parts of the world, what the implications would be on tax, on deliverables etc..
Managing new-age workplaces: Mobility management technology can play a role as companies become more agile, leveraging virtual teams, teams for project-based work or distributed teams .
Compliance and security: At a more operational level, integration of the current systems – often spreadsheets – used to manage relocation and talent movement is limited at best, completely disjointed at worst, and almost never secure. Compliance too is critical- dealing with sensitive data, immigration laws, and moving data around internally and externally.
Mobily impacts growth, considering it enables both – talent sourcing and assignment to strategic locations – more effectively. But challenges remain.
It is not so much about educating CHROs about the need for a technology solution to manage global mobility- it is more about making the case about the business impact of approaching mobility as a strategic tool.
As HR leaders rethink the role of mobility in the organization as more integral to the talent strategy, they are looking for new ways to do things; and even how to expand mobility so it becomes a benefit or even a recruitment enticement, all things considered and equal. With the technology, the platform, the information and data, and the service and experience elements all in place, a company can claim to have a unified mobility solution which is a beneficial experience for both- the company and the individual and their family.