Expat Academy in Amsterdam!

Expat Academy Expat Academy in Amsterdam! Carmel opened our first Amsterdam Huddle with her warm Dutch ‘Welkom’.

Following on from the first Birmingham Network Huddle we were looking forward to addressing more of the hot topics on everyone’s minds in the Netherlands.

Robin Schalekamp and Kees De Graaf from BDO dived into the subject of tax residency in the Netherlands. So, when are you tax resident in the Netherlands? The answer is ‘it depends’! Kees then guided us through the various criteria. An impromptu laptop reboot led to Kees taking questions from the floor that opened up much discussion and queries on changes in the 30% tax resident ruling, with Robin also providing specific guidance. Kees highlighted the generous reduction in the top tax rate from 52% to 51.95%!

‘Doorfluisteren’ is how Graebel started their session (or Chinese whispers as it is also known)! The theme for their session was how messages can be interpreted differently and how important it is to get stakeholder communications right. Beverly King and Simon Mason differentiated between those with low power and low interest and those with high power and high interest. It was a useful insight into stakeholder management.

Following a chance to grab coffee and a Stroopwafel everyone was recharged and sat down to listen to Carlijn Van Rooijen from Heineken who provided an insight into how a technology infrastructure was being implemented at Heineken. This has led to increased efficiency within the GM team which has allowed the team to partner better with the business. They are shooting their first explainer videos for FAQs as we speak and their exciting journey continues.

Then it was time to introduce Expat Academy Huddles!! The first theme centred around policy. There was great discussion on flexible assignment types and policies for the next generation of expats, and how you manage talent when the CEO says ‘everyone is talented’! There was also discussion around reducing assignment packages. Some felt that certain packages were too lean and that there is a need for greater support to be reintroduced into the policy. The final question before lunch centred around compulsory medical pre-assignment checks. Whilst many in the room agreed it should be in place only a few confirmed it was compulsory across the board.

After a lovely lunch provided by BDO NL, Tony Butterworth from Ferguson Snell & Associates updated the room regarding Brexit and what it means from an immigration perspective for businesses both in the UK and across Europe.

Then it was back to Huddle time! Continuing on a policy theme the room discussed how to best look after those employees that are hosted by one country on their head count, but work in another. There were some interesting policies in place with a number referring to their commuter policy as a way to provide the necessary support with others reviewing them on a case by case basis. A huddle discussion wouldn’t be complete without the ongoing headache of STBV’s. This time we covered the topic both from a tracking and from the EU Posted Workers Directive perspective. The best solution discussed in the room was one that used a combination of data from the business travel provider, finance and staff pass logs to get a clear view of those that were high risk, medium risk or low risk.

Coffee and delicious cakes allowed us the opportunity to use our imagination as we took a look into the future! Simon Davies and Patrick Kenning from Crown Worldwide engaged the room with their live polls on how we could be working smarter using Artificial Intelligence (AI). They shared thoughts on how organisations will need to respond and adapt to the needs of Generation Z. From GPS tracking of shipping to blockchain data – it indicated just how much more information will be automated and could take the GM function away from some of the time-consuming administration it currently faces.

Vicki Marsh from Equus took us back to the present showing us how technology can deliver enhanced value to the business allowing the Global Mobility function to provide more strategic support to the business. She took us through the technology journey from the first IBM and Apple computers, through to iMacs, laptops and Palm Pilots and up to the present day where the Global Mobility function will be able to have an ecosystem using API’s (Application Processing Interface) that connects systems together thereby reducing the need for repetitive data entry.

A huge ‘Bedankt’ to all those that attended and made it such a great day of insightful updates, knowledge sharing and best practice discussions. We’ll be back……….

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