5 common 'headaches' for international mobility managers
One of the biggest challenges that international mobility managers (IMM) face is complying with the regulations and laws of each country in which the company operates and to which employees are relocated. This can be complicated due to different regulations in each country that constantly change, so the IMM must have a deep understanding of the specific laws and regulations of each country where the company operates and where employees are relocated. In addition, fines for non-compliance can be very costly, so they must ensure that all aspects of the relocation comply with legal requirements.
Some of the most common issues that can arise regarding regulatory compliance are related to visas and work permits. In some countries, obtaining visas and work permits can be complicated and expensive. Furthermore there may be restrictions on the types of jobs that foreigners can perform. The IMM must ensure that all employees have the necessary visas and work permits before traveling to the destination country.
In addition, regulations and laws can also affect other aspects of relocation, such as the loading and transportation of personal belongings and equipment. IMM must ensure that all personal belongings and equipment are classified and packaged correctly, while complying with all customs and import and export regulations of the destination country.
Finally, they must also consider the tax and social security implications. Tax implications can vary significantly between countries and can be difficult to understand and manage, so they must work closely with the company's tax and legal departments to ensure that all tax issues are properly handled. They must also ensure that employees receive adequate support to comply with all social security regulations and laws of the destination country.
The cost management aspect is of crucial importance with regard to the management of international employee mobility. International relocation can be very expensive, especially when it comes to long-term relocation with families. The IMM must work to keep costs under control and ensure that the relocation is as efficient and cost-effective as possible, without compromising the quality of the relocation and employee satisfaction.
One of the main challenges in cost management is the balance between cost and quality. If costs are reduced at the expense of the quality of the relocation, this can have a negative impact on employee satisfaction and their ability to adapt to their new environment. On the other hand, if quality is prioritized without considering cost, this can have an impact on the company's profitability.
Another important challenge in cost management is monitoring and controlling costs throughout the relocation process. IMM must ensure that clear and realistic budgets are established for each relocation, and that costs are monitored and updated as they fluctuate. This can be particularly difficult in long-term relocation, where costs can be difficult to predict and control.
Cost management can also be affected by external factors such as exchange rate fluctuations or changes in immigration and visa policies. IMM must be aware of these changes and be able to adjust their budgets and strategies accordingly.
It is important to note that cost management not only involves planning and executing relocations, but also managing ongoing costs once the employee and their family have settled into their new home. This includes monitoring housing, transportation, healthcare, and other related expenses, and implementing cost control measures if necessary.
Culture management is one of the most complex challenges faced by Global Mobility Managers, as each country has its own unique culture and customs that may be very different from those of the employee's home country. This can lead to cultural adaptation problems, stress, and interpersonal conflicts among employees, which can negatively impact their job performance and job satisfaction.
It is important that employees feel comfortable and understand cultural differences in order to adapt to their new life and work in the destination country. IMMs should provide support and resources to help employees adapt and feel comfortable in their new environment. This may include intercultural training programs, cultural orientation, and counseling to help employees understand cultural differences and workplace expectations. It may also be beneficial to connect employees with local colleagues to help them build relationships and better understand the local culture.
It is important for IMMs to work toward creating an inclusive and respectful organizational culture that values and respects cultural differences. This can help employees feel comfortable in their new environment and reduce the possibility of interpersonal conflicts. They should also be prepared to address any intercultural issues or conflicts that arise, and work to find effective and equitable solutions for all parties involved.
Maintaining open communication, patience, and flexibility in both proactive planning and unexpected real-time changes is crucial to ensure that international relocation are effective. IMMs should communicate with employees, human resources teams, service providers, and other stakeholders to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that specific deadlines and requirements are met. Effective communication is also important to ensure that employees feel supported and understood throughout the relocation process.
Lack of communication or ineffective communication can lead to misunderstandings, delays, and ultimately, a failed relocation. Therefore, IMMs should ensure that they have a clear and effective communication plan that involves all stakeholders.
One of the main issues that can arise in communication is a lack of clarity in the roles and responsibilities of each person involved in the relocation process. This can cause confusion and delays in decision-making.
Another challenge in communication is the language and cultural barrier. If employees and stakeholders speak different languages or have different communication styles, there can be misunderstandings and confusion. IMMs should ensure that everyone involved understands specific terms and deadlines, and that information is conveyed clearly and effectively.
Lack of communication can also be a problem in emergency situations. If an employee becomes ill or has a problem during their relocation, it is important to have a clear and effective communication plan to ensure they receive the necessary care. If IMMs do not have an effective communication plan in place, there may be delays in healthcare or problems resolving the situation in a timely manner.
Each mobile employee has their own unique needs and challenges, and it is important for IMMs to understand them in order to provide effective support throughout the relocation process.
Some factors to consider when understanding the needs and challenges of mobile employees include, their marital status, age, family, level of experience, culture, and expectations of each employee. For example, a single employee without children may require different accommodations and expense allowances than a married employee with children.
In addition, IMMs should also consider the specific needs of employees, such as healthcare, education, security, and language barriers. An employee relocating to a country where they do not speak the local language may require language classes and translation assistance. On the other hand, an employee who requires specialized medical care must have access to appropriate medical services at their destination.
It is critical that IMMs work closely with mobile employees and human resources departments to identify and understand the specific needs of each employee. They should ensure that adequate support and necessary resources are provided to the employees, so that they can adapt and thrive in their new environment.
It is important for IMMs to have a personalized approach in supporting mobile employees, as personalized assistance can make a big difference for mobile employees and can contribute to their success in the new destination. IMMs should be available to listen to and address the concerns of mobile employees and provide personalized advice and guidance throughout the relocation process.
Source: Transpack Argentina