Global Mobility Technology

Imy Clarke - On behalf of Alchemy Recruitment, October 14, 2014

With technology augmenting nearly every area of our day-to-day lives, it’s no surprise that it’s having a big impact on the global mobility industry. Global mobility technology has been rapidly changing the way that corporations are able to send their employees all over the world, and we’ve been finding out how.

Very early HR and global mobility technology was unbending. HR policies and processes had to shape themselves to the software systems rather than it being the other way around. As a result, many systems were abandoned in favour of spreadsheets and manual processes. Even in a 2011/2012 survey from Mercer, 64% of companies involved in global mobility practices were still primarily using Word and Excel to manage their programmes. In 2014, however, there are so many advantages to specially designed global mobility technology that the thought of using only Word and Excel seems a little absurd.

The technology doesn’t, however, have to be specific to global mobility for it to be useful. A variety of mobile apps, as well as the GPS tracking featured in all mobile devices, allow location tracking – companies no longer need to rely on the expat manually logging their location on travel tracking systems. Similarly, HR departments can keep track of expats in their own country, especially any which may be under suspicion of tax and immigration authorities, avoiding bad publicity.

Social media is another useful asset. Nearly everyone makes use of some sort of social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Linked In or something else. Similarly, blogs, wikis and other collaborative technology are allowing people linked by interest, career or location to share useful information. Potentially this can take burden away from HR staff, as expats turn to each other for quick and easy help rather than the HR department every time.

But, the global mobility industry itself has more than its fair share of technology available, whether for HR departments or for expat assignees themselves. The biggest benefit of many of the global mobility database systems is that HR departments can have all of the CV and assignment details of current and prospective assignees in a single, easy to use environment. With abilities to match skills, qualifications and other details, assignments are more likely to be successful. Similarly, global mobility technology is helping HR departments to avoid hidden costs in employee relocation. Hypothetical taxes, cost of living differences, changes in exchange rates and even compensation policies can all be managed, useful when tax details and exchange rates can make very quick changes. Yet, the technology isn’t just used for crunching numbers – managing retirement plans and social security data is just as possible.

Expats themselves also have many opportunities to take advantage of global mobility technology. There is software available that can allow assignees to go through cross cultural training, explore their new location virtually and gather all information needed, find accommodation, keep track of any moving processes and even at the end of their assignment take part in repatriation coordination.

The beauty of this all? It’s accessible 24/7, not just during office hours.

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