The Secret Diary of a Global Mobility Manager: Topless Acquisitions

by Gina Tonic

Expat Academy The Secret Diary of a Global Mobility Manager: Topless Acquisitions

Dear Diary,

I’m beginning to feel that my list of learnings as a Global Mobility Manager is becoming so long that this diary is quickly becoming an anthology. I’d love to add some of the stories to my dinner party repartee but as the consummate professional I don’t dare… can you imagine if people really knew everything that went on in our world?

I’ll keep it short and sweet today, but I have just got to get this off my chest!

A little addition to the workload

In addition to my day job, I’ve been asked to join a team of specialist HR professionals, put together to manage a recent acquisition. The company we have acquired has an existing assignee population of eight (the A team) and they need a Global Mobility specialist to review their policies and help facilitate their transition onto HQ assignment terms and conditions. Sounds simple enough.

Shortly after, I arrived at work to find that my whole day had been hijacked by a day long acquisition project team meeting. We walked through in laborious detail how the project would be managed and I was assigned the “international assignments” workstream.

I listened to hours of information on streamlining terms and conditions before I was given my 20 minutes of airtime to update the group on how I proposed we managed the transition of assignment packages. The legacy policy and our GM policy really weren’t significantly different so I didn’t anticipate huge pushback on the changes, provided we communicated effectively. Everyone nodded and the “international assignments” workstream got a tick from the project manager.

Surprisingly lovely bunch

Over the next week, I met with all the assignees from the acquired company and talked them through the changes to their terms and I must say they were a lovely bunch. They were very friendly and relaxed and seemed genuinely relieved that they would remain employed following the acquisition. The big loss to them was moving from six home leave flights a year to one, but they didn’t grumble. They recognised that this was over generous, and they were rather chuffed that their housing allowances would be increased significantly as a result of the acquisition.  So, all in all I had done a great job. Well done me.

Spoke too soon

Well …until last Thursday. I had just returned to my desk with a spot of lunch when I saw my dreaded voicemail light flashing. I took a gulp of diet coke and hit play.  “We have an issue with the A team and we think this may have been caused by an oversight by the international assignments workstream (me), please can you come to my office urgently to discuss”. The tone of the HRD made my heart sink and, as I could no longer stomach my Peking duck wrap, off I went…

• Had I miscalculated their new allowances for payroll?
• Had I missed one of them off the tax services authorisation list I had just completed?
• Maybe one of them had complained about my service?
• Or were the legal department unhappy with our new assignment terms amendment

Nope, none of the above. Apparently it was my fault that the small friendly A team were displaying naked ladies as their workstation screensavers when the HRD happened to swing past their desks. Seemingly I ought to have asked our intercultural training provider to include in their training that it is not acceptable in the UK to have a large pair of knockers looking at you from your work PC!

Seriously, give me strength! I practiced my very concerned outraged face and commented that the blending of company cultures can be sensitive at times. However as this HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH GLOBAL MOBILITY, and more to do with professional code of conduct, then it might be a jolly good idea in the future, when acquiring new companies or merging practices, to have a “making sure they do not behave like morons” workstream too!

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