We spoke to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a global media firm to identify the key criteria he’d want met before throwing his weight behind any Global Mobility plan.
1. Demonstrate strategic alignment
Foremost, your programme needs to align with your company’s strategic goals and financial objectives. It must support the company’s long-term vision, so that when it comes under your CFO’s scrutiny, the financial viability and potential return on investment of each assignment is clear.
This requires that all internal parties (home-country manager, HR, host-country manager, and last but not least, the assignee) have a clear understanding of how the assignment contributes to the organisation’s growth, market expansion, and financial or operational efficiency. This may sound trivial, but most assignments that fail at an early stage do so because of unclear targets or different motivations between the parties.
2. Emphasise financial analysis and cost management
Make sure your policy includes guidelines for budgeting, expense tracking, and cost allocation. This ensures that any international assignments are financially viable and aligned with the company’s overall financial goals.
Include a comprehensive financial analysis of your expat assignment programme, covering the costs associated with relocation, compensation, benefits, and tax implications. As assignments typically last over longer periods, effective cost management strategies must be applied for the duration to control expenses and maximize the programme’s overall value.
At the end of each assignment, use the cost analysis as part of a continuous improvement cycle to foster further improvements.
A common cost-management mistake is a too-narrow perspective on the direct cost of service providers as these costs are directly trackable in an ERP-system. Well-designed assignment programmes must include a cost definition that considers the efficiency of the assignee to get started with their work in the host country.
Many expats and their families struggle to settle in the host country where undue pressure is placed on service providers in pursuit of cost savings. The cost definition must also consider retention and successful reintegration of the assignee in the home country.
3. Measure ROI across multiple metrics
This could include tracking the impact on revenue growth, cost savings, employee performance, and customer satisfaction. A robust ROI analysis demonstrates the programme’s financial value and provide insights for continuous improvement.
4. Include guidelines for managing risk
Operating in different countries exposes your company to various legal, tax, compliance, and safety and security risks. To minimise any financial and legal liabilities, your global mobility policy should address these risks by providing guidelines for complying with local laws, managing tax obligations, and ensuring the safety and security of employees.
You should also carry out a comprehensive risk assessment that addresses regulatory compliance, geopolitical factors, and other potential challenges. The programme should have contingency plans in place, foresee appropriate insurance coverage and ensure legal compliance to protect the organisation’s financial interests.
5. Factor in the post assignment retention rate
The reality is that many companies fail to retain their top talent post assignment, and your CFO will be concerned about the ex-assignee retention rate. Retention is crucial for maximising your organisation’s ROI and leveraging the knowledge and experience gained during the assignment.
Your programme should, therefore, include measures and support mechanisms to enhance employee engagement, satisfaction, and career development, thereby increasing the likelihood of employees remaining with the company once the assignment is done.
6. Stress compliance and governance
It is crucial your policy ensures compliance with relevant laws and ethical standards. These include adherence to immigration requirements, labour laws, and data privacy regulations. Devise strong governance mechanisms to monitor and manage compliance risks effectively.
7. Communicate clearly and transparently
Employees should understand the benefits, obligations, and expectations associated with international assignments. Your policy should outline the selection criteria, assignment duration, compensation, benefits, and support services provided to ensure transparency and fairness.
8. Build in flexibility
Design your policy to be adaptable to different assignment types, durations, and locations. It should consider the needs and preferences of employees while aligning with business objectives. This flexibility will allow your company to respond to changing market dynamics and optimise its talent deployment.
Of course, a successful global mobility programme is more than just a checklist of considerations. It coordinates each aspect – from strategic alignment to risk management – to work together effectively. Each part is important, and when well-managed, can propel your company’s growth on a global scale. Ultimately, this is what your CFO wants to see.
With over 49 years of experience in global mobility, AGS Relocation can craft a Global Mobility programme that not only wins your CFO’s approval but also guarantees the satisfaction and success of your assignees. Reach out to us today. No obligations, no strings attached. Just a straightforward discussion about how we can help you achieve your global mobility goals.