The Secret Diary of a Global Mobility Manager – So many hats so little time….

Expat Academy The Secret Diary of a Global Mobility Manager - So many hats so little time.... Dear Diary,

As I get to the end of another full week, I pull up my outlook calendar for next week.  I am always astounded by how quickly it morphs from one week to the next, from lovely blank white pages to masses of blued out blocks. Wow…… there’s a block in there for 6 hours!! Is a 6-hour meeting really necessary to discuss the lessons learned from the new office we set up in a new location?

I guess so. Even though we had set up a process with a wonderful checklist (even if I do say so myself), ensuring that all the relevant “hat wearers” (aka stakeholders) were involved from the outset, it still ended up feeling like the GM team had to herd cats in order to get the right colleagues engaged in the process. I just loved the conversation with our Finance buddies as I tried to explain that having the foreign bank account up and running was an essential step to operating foreign payroll. No, we can’t just pay from the UK payroll as pay needs to be delivered from a local payroll in that country, and no, while our tax consultant can do the calculation they cannot physically pay our employees, and yes that may have been the process set up in country X but local legislation decides what we need to do in country Y … not the GM team!!

At least I learned a lot about the country’s labour laws…. wouldn’t call myself an expert just yet but still had hours of “fun” (still trying to convince myself that that is the appropriate “f” word to be used there……). I certainly had to have many hats for this project. Firstly, liaising with the local lawyer to get the local employee handbook in place, then editing local employment contracts, setting up the local payroll process and liaising with our UK IT department on how the local hires would receive their secure equipment (sadly no jolly for me to deliver it personally!!).

If there is anyone out there who still thinks that working in GM is just about preparing assignment letters and getting an assignee’s furniture in country in one piece…. well they only need take a look at my outlook calendar. Seriously, the number of different areas we get involved in to make the process happen. Yes, it can frequently be challenging, sometimes confusing (I admit to knowing very little about BEPs) but would I have it any other way? Most probably not. I get to wear so many different “hats” in one week and I do love fashion after all………….!


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