What a great buzz from our first Bite Size Briefing of 2020. We had a packed agenda to keep to time and so, with short sharp introductions, the day kicked off with a tax update from Andy Kelly and Purni Makh from BDO to dispel some common myths and issues that they’ve seen amongst their clients. As always, there were some really useful takeaways right up to the topical tip on how BDO expect HMRC to treat those that have additional days in the UK, because they had to travel home due to the Corona virus, and how that could affect their residence status.
Simon Thompson from UnitedHealthcare Group then highlighted some great key areas to focus on to effectively manage an International Medical plan. With medical inflation still staying in double digits there were some great pointers around reviewing the assignee population and using that data effectively to manage exposure, risk and cost.
A quick coffee provided fuel for some more top tips on how Global Mobility can help the business during mergers and acquisitions. Divinia Sood-Blasse from Publicis Groupe gave some great insights into the, often painful, lessons learned from the 5 mergers and acquisitions she has been a part of in the 2 and a half years she’s been at Publicis, including the ‘discovery’ of 2,000 assignees in one particularly tough acquisition!
Ava Norris and Andy Conduit-Turner from Cartus rounded off the morning with a look at core-flex policies, how organisations are beginning to use it to attract and retain top talent and some great client examples of the many variations of core-flex that they have seen. They showed us the differences between business driven and employee driven core-flex as well as the way it might differ between organisations that are looking to contain costs versus those that are looking to save costs.
The noise of networking over lunch showed there were some great conversations and one of our members who was attending their first event with us said to me, as we were strolling back to the room for the afternoon session, that the generosity and willingness to share from the people she had met was something she hadn’t come across in previous HR roles she’d had. That’s what I love about what we do and our industry. Global Mobility professionals know how tough the day to day can be and are often more than happy to help ease the burden for others.
With a quick brain tease to make sure that no-one dozed off after a tasty lunch provided by BDO, David Curran from Edson Tiger and Janice Wass, Head of Global Mobility, Leonardo gave us a fascinating insight into managing global risk in a complex world. Given the global events to date, (and we’re only in March) this certainly provided some food for thought. It was useful though to be reminded to keep these global events in perspective to ensure we don’t lose sight of everyday threats.
Des McKell from Net Expat provided some top highlights from Net Expat’s Relocating Partner Survey (full report can be requested here). Whilst it was great to see such a high percentage of organisations offering some sort of support to relocating partners it was fascinating to see the difference between whether Global Mobility felt their organisation was paying enough attention to partner support and whether the employee felt the organisation was paying enough attention! Des then invited Gill Gordon, UK HR Director from Schlaumberger, to talk about her programme and how they’ve embedded relocating partner support.
After tea, Gill Gordon put on her ‘other hat’ as Chair of the Permits Foundation and provided us an insight into the great work that the Permits Foundation do campaigning globally to improve work permit regulations to make it easier for partners of expatriate staff to gain employment during an international assignment. It was great to hear about the increasing number of countries recognising not only spouses, but partners and same-sex marriage couples too.
The day was rounded off with an immigration update from Ben Sheldrick from Magrath Sheldrick LLP looking at the positives and negatives of the new immigration system along with a great explanation as to why the changes being introduced are not the same as the Australia points-based system!
I saw many of those attending taking notes during the day and from speaking to a few attendees throughout the day I know there were plenty of valuable takeaways for our members.
Couldn’t make this one? Then why not sign up to the next one here. We would love you to join us to learn, connect and share.