The importance of the corporate "duty of care" around the safety and security of employees on international assignment remains a major concern to organisations, and technology has a large part to play in assisting Global Mobility (GM) teams effectively manage risk and take early action should a critical incident occur.
Many respondents to recent global mobility surveys cited the increased level of activity seen in GM teams, allied with the continued focus on cost cutting within Global Mobility, as resulting in a higher risk of errors. For instance, over half of respondents to the latest Santa Fe Global Mobility Survey reported experiencing a critical risk within their Global Mobility programme, and 1 in 5 had experienced a critical incident within the previous 12 months.
Global Mobility remains a vibrant sector with a fast pace of change, with a variety of technology solutions targeted at the customer end-users – assignees and in-house GM teams – to streamline process, improve connectivity between departments and deliver cost or efficiency savings.
Today, the technology supporting in-house GM teams has been focused on the management of risk from an immigration and tax compliance standpoint, and products from companies such as Equus and Polaris address these areas very effectively, as well as providing the key assignment lifecycle, cost estimate and compensation functionality essential for GM departments to operate effectively.
However, the elevation of the human risk to assignees back onto the agenda for most GM teams (with the exception of the Oil & Gas, Manufacturing and Engineering sectors which have always operated with a high-awareness of critical risks) brings different challenges.
For instance, most systems designed for in-house GM use do not provide the “traveler tracking” functionality needed when a critical incident occurs, relying instead on specialist partners such as International SOS, or relocation management companies, to provide data on where assignees are staying during a critical incident, so appropriate actions can be taken.
The challenge is for these solutions to be easy to navigate, scalable for use globally, address the requirements of both Global Mobility and the assignee, and to be able to connect with other technology platforms (i.e. to track ROI and risk). Not an easy brief to satisfy, particularly when the brief changes regularly as our industry continues to evolve.