Posted on November 09, 2011
Incorporating global mobility assessment and selection tools into an organization’s talent management strategy is a productivity, retention, and cost savings measure that should not be overlooked. A recent session at Worldwide ERC’s Global Symposium, highlighted how talent management can be impacted dramatically by management and cultural differences.
Participants in the session learned from industry experts why assessment and selection tools are important for the ROI of international assignments and more. However, a survey of session participants revealed the use of candidate assessment and selection tools was spotty among corporate attendees. As may be expected, cultural differences will play heavily when considering the approach taken in various global regions. The session presenters provided a framework for managing employee populations, particularly when cultural differences come into play.
RELO Direct® sees many organizations struggling striking a balance between the equally important components of candidate, location, and timing. Furthermore, an understanding of the need to have qualified candidates rather than simply “filling a spot” is critical to assignment success. The cost of sending the wrong candidate on assignment can be substantial for any organization, in terms of both losses of revenue and employee productivity. Additionally, when an assignment fails, the resulting failed business initiatives and the costs of sending the assignee home are also substantial. The careful assessment and selection of the proper candidate up-front are critical steps in any global assignment program to avoiding these costs.
RELO Direct® supports a holistic approach to candidate selection, and carefully evaluating each applicant to assess if it is the right time in their career development for the assignment. Other factors also need to be considered such as their family, situation communication skills, and ability to adapt to a new culture. Keep in mind, the attribute of being a strong leader in one culture may not be an asset in the host culture. By carefully assessing all of these variables, corporations increase the opportunity for an assignment’s success.
Is the evaluation and selection of candidates for global assignments part of your responsibilities? If it is, and you are using instruments to measure adaptability and suitability for international assignments, please visit our comments section to share what tools and programs you are having success with.
Posted by: Mary Dougherty
Posted on October 19, 2011
During Worldwide ERC’s recent fall conference, a session comparing approaches to short-term assignments illustrated the importance of accurately assessing the overall goal of the assignment and realistically projecting the time needed to attain it. Doing so at the front-end can be just as critical of a component as assessing the right candidate, helping eliminate the need to extend assignments and avoid the costs associated with those extensions.
The companies represented on the panel approached short term assignments largely based on the company’s line of business.
One company, a construction and engineering firm, used short term assignments when needed to meet construction contract requirements. This means that assignments are well defined up-front with cost estimates completed for every move. Project profitability is critical, so managing costs is extremely important. The company does not assess candidates from a cultural adaptation, language, or even family support perspective. The only criteria for assignments are a candidate’s skill set. Metrics for the success of the assignment are measured against the successful completion of the project and the profitability of the project.
Representatives from the other companies (a large pharmaceutical firm and a consumer products company) offered the same reasons for assignments (e.g.: developmental, project based, skill sets or leadership development). However, the emphasis on what was required in terms of preparation of candidates, ongoing support, and repatriation services varied. The consumer products company noted that assignees’ families were invited to go on the assignment, whereas the pharmaceutical company allows assignees to take their families, but they were not “invited” to go. Softer services such as language and cultural training were viewed as higher priorities for these firms, compared to the engineering firm. For all three organizations, cost control was a critical component, and one important downside was the impact that extending an assignment has on the overall cost of the assignment.
While each company offers assignments based on their business needs and internal culture, all shared a common view that short term assignments were important to their overall corporate mission, and — if managed effectively— they were considered a successful investment.
Justas these firms are using corporate objectives to set relocation policy and benefits, RELO Direct® recommends that our clients look at the big picture when setting policy objectives and clearly outline the goals and budget implications of a short term assignment. This analysis is critical not only at the corporate level, but also at the divisional/business unit level. It is our opinion that doing so will give business units a better view into the costs of extensions, and assist them in better managing the overall assignment.
Posted by: Roger Atchinson
Posted on December 15, 2010
An article in the December issue of Mobility magazine examines the continued trend by corporations to use price as the differentiator when evaluating service providers. In a marketplace where the differences between providers are not always immediately evident, price often becomes a deciding factor. But is it really the biggest difference, and should it be, especially in the global move arena?
Some may believe that the services provided by all relocation management companies are essentially the same, with price being the only differentiator. This viewpoint is often held by those in procurement roles, whose main focus is purchasing and who rarely interact with service providers or transferees once the sales cycle is complete. However, the author rightly outlines that the “services of a successful and knowledgeable service provider can go a long way towards the success or failure of an assignment”.
While on paper two global moves may look the same, the details of each will necessitate vastly different services and handling. Corporations would do well to engage with a service provider who understands the complexities of global assignments, and can skillfully manage each assignee’s move. Partnering with a company who offers services at a lower price, but that does not understand the particular nuances of global assignments can ultimately end up increasing costs to the corporate client more, both in exceptions to policy and in failed assignments.
Ultimately, relocation management companies must clearly differentiate themselves and the advantages they provide while corporate customers must balance their thinking between price and service expertise.
Posted by: Mary Dougherty
Posted on October 06, 2010
The Financial reported on an interesting survey concerning the growing trend of tax compliance issues for expatriates and business travelers. This issue is garnering significant attention by taxing authorities, and corporations would be wise to take notice. It has also become a hot topic discussed at relocation trade associations, such as The New England Relocation Association, and was recently covered at the Relocation Taxes – 23rd Annual Conference held in San Francisco.
The general consensus is that we will continue to see increased regulatory pressures and audits by countries looking to capture income from expatriates. Additionally, within the US states are becoming more diligent about capturing the tax on income earned by employees working in their state – even on a temporary basis. This is a huge corporate tax compliance issue and can be a big financial problem for the employee. The first step ensure the proper reporting of expatriates income is to identify the party responsible for tracking movement of all employees – who may be working in different countries or states and then to develop a mechanism to track where expats are working, for how long, and what corporate entity is benefiting from the work.
The next step is to make sure that your suppliers are in sync with your company’s global relocation and business travel policies relative to tax compliance. As within our organization, suppliers are taking steps to raise the level of understanding with clients, but it important for internal stakeholders within the corporation to do the same.
Posted by: Bob Portale
Posted on November 01, 2008
have employees who are U.S. citizens working abroad, advise them now
to ensure they can vote in the November 4 election. Many expats,
especially first-timers, don't realize there are no provisions for
in-person voting or on-site registration at U.S. embassies or
consulates in foreign countries. U.S. embassy and consular officials
can, however, assist U.S. citizens in completing the Voter
Registration/Absentee Ballot Request form or other election
materials and provide other absentee voting information. Expats may mail election materials from U.S.
embassies and consulates. It is important to remember that all
election material must be postmarked according to their state's
requirements. For example, if the expat's last state of legal
residence was New York he/she must:
- Register by October 10 (postmarked at least 25
days before election day)
- Request ballot by October 28
- Return ballot by November 11 (postmarked by
To help your expats ensure their votes are counted,
share these useful tips from the Federal Voting Assistance Program:
- Pick the state in which you last lived before
moving outside the U.S.
- Request Voter Registration/Absentee Ballot.
Complete the Registration/Absentee Ballot Request
form, and send it to your Election Official. Sign and date all
election materials as directed.
- Election Official approves your
Registration/Request and mails your ballot.
- Complete the absentee ballot, and return it to
your Election Official.
Fulfill your state's witness/notary requirements
Make sure that your Registration/Absentee Ballot
Request and voted ballots are postmarked.
- Use the Back-up Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot
if your requested state absentee ballot has not arrived in time to
ensure delivery by your state's deadline.
Additional resources on absentee voting
Frequently Asked Questions/Answers
Federal Voting Assistance Program Toll-Free
International Phone Numbers