Imagine you had a Fairy Godmother! Someone that you could go to, to help fix all your problems and remove all of those challenging issues. She would certainly make life a lot easier. Imagine with her help, all overseas business trips for all employees could be cancelled; there would be absolutely no cross-border working and while we’re at it let’s request that we go back to the good old days when we only allow international assignments to easy locations and the packages are so generous that nobody complains. And let’s go crazy and ask her to sprinkle some of her magic on the expat and their families to make them really happy and appreciative!
Perhaps I’m being overly greedy and just a tad unrealistic? Because let’s be honest, people aren’t going to stop travelling, we’ll always have a few cross-border issues and companies are becoming more global. Overlaid with the constant drive to reduce costs this inevitably leads to more policies and therefore more complexity, so perhaps having a Fairy Godmother won’t fix everything!
The great news is that due to this increased complexity, Global Mobility have a real opportunity to influence change and engage with senior stakeholders to give the business what they need. It seems from many of our members that flexible policies are very much in vogue. With significant improvement in technology solutions, the extra administration that comes with offering flexibility may also be more manageable and this time flexibility might work! Let’s hope so, but either way offering the right policies is a key element of the Global Mobility Function.
But what about Short Term Business Visitors (STBVs) and Cross-border issues? Are they also a key element of the GM Function’s role? Well that very much depends on who you ask….. We still have a few members who never ever ever ‘over their dead body’ plan on having anything to do with this population. For some, they are just starting to get to grip with the issues, whereas for others STBV’s now form a significant part of the role. One thing we know for sure is that our benchmarking service and recent Huddles show us that STBVs are still a really hot and challenging topic for our members. Indeed, I cannot recall a recent event where they didn’t come up as a discussion point.
Take comfort in the fact that not many (or perhaps any?) organisations have cracked it! There are certainly an increasing number of technology solutions out there that can help. But as fantastic as the technology is you still need people and processes to implement…..
‘We have undertaken a significant review of our STBV population and we now have a much better idea of the scale. The problem I now have is that we don’t have any resources to implement and I have no idea who will pay for it!’
Plus to manage this population effectively you will need senior level engagement to help drive this through…..
‘I have told the business that we have a real issue, but I don’t have the resources nor budget to address it so until that time I can’t do anything. The ball is in their court!’
And surely this isn’t something that should simply be dumped on the Global Mobility function?
‘We are part of a multi-functional team responsible for reviewing all cross-border issues. Corporate tax is a leading force due to the potential PE issues and in many instances the request for a cross-border work arrangement is being denied’
Whether you have a Fairy God Mother or not, one thing is for sure – you are not alone on your STBV journey – for those of you that are already part of the Expat Academy community you will know that our events are as much about therapy as they are technical learning – so my advice is that you get yourself along to our Bite Size Briefing on the 11th June. We have a packed agenda covering a number of different GM related issues and will end the day with a fantastic panel session where you can sit back and listen to a fantastic panel of in-house Global Mobility professionals as they share their trials and tribulations of trying to get a handle on this rapidly changing population. On the panel we have:
Lucy Gibson – Experian
Rachel James – Imperial Tobacco
Suzette Vidal- MDBA Systems
Steve Hawkins – AB Agri
Dominique Dee – Eversheds Sutherland
I can absolutely guarantee that you will leave the event feeling better informed about the challenges you are facing, and just knowing that you’re not the only ones struggling with STBV’s is very good for the soul!
If you are an Expat Academy member to book your place email email@example.com and if you’re not a member yet and haven’t attended an event before, you’re more than welcome to come along as our guest. We will go out of our way to make you feel welcome. If you’re interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the various events we run please click here.