Welcome to IPM Global, where our team of experts prides itself on understanding and meeting your Global Mobility needs. Each day presents unique challenges, so we’ve assembled a team of highly skilled professionals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to take on any task. We’re adept at analysing any potential situation involving cross-border moves to identify required information, anticipate potential implications, and developing a roadmap to success. Whether starting from scratch or refining an existing plan, we’re committed to delivering the best results. In this blog series, we’ll explore some of the critical offerings we provide to our clients and address some of the most common questions along the way:
- Our typical assignment lifecycle
- IPM’s Process for New Leads: How We Help Companies Navigate Global Assignments
- Outsourcing your Global Mobility Program
- Managing your assignees, even after they are gone
- Why Cultural Training is Vital for Successful International Assignments
Our typical assignment lifecycle
Relocating an employee to another country can be a stressful experience both for the employee and the HR team, with many facets to consider. From immigration and tax implications to finding a place to live and coordinating a move, it can be complex and time-consuming. As a result, we have designed our typical assignment lifecycle to ensure that every aspect of the relocation is carefully planned and executed, from the initial data review to the final delivery of destination services.
The first stage of our assignment lifecycle involves reviewing the data we receive from our clients to ensure it makes sense, and whether it raises any “red flags”. These could be for instance, an issue of home country tax residence not being broken, as can happen if the family do not accompany, which has a potential impact on costs or common-law spouse recognition in the destination country for immigration which may impact a partner being able to join on assignment. Once we have confirmed the data is correct, and any “red flags” discussed and resolved, we will provide a full assignment costing to cover the duration of the assignment and send it back to you for approval.
And that’s all we need to move on to the next stage! Once we receive your approval on the assignment, we will then prepare salary calculations and draft the necessary assignment documentation. We then hold a briefing session with your assignee to ensure they understand the terms and conditions of their relocation and explain what happens next in the relocation process.
The final and most substantial stage of the assignment lifecycle is getting the assignee from point A to point B. This phase involves coordinating with our network of agents to arrange necessary services such as work permits, tax briefings, removals, and destination services such as home searches. We monitor all of the different stages of this process closely to ensure everything is on track and schedule.
Throughout the assignment lifecycle, we constantly keep in communication with HR to ensure we deliver the highest quality service to our clients. Managing a relocation can be draining, so we aim to provide a seamless and stress-free experience for our clients and their assignees.
Our comprehensive assignment lifecycle ensures that every aspect of the relocation process is carefully planned and executed From the initial data review to the final delivery of destination services, we are committed to delivering the highest quality service to our clients. We would be delighted to support you if you are planning a relocation.
IPM’s Process for New Leads: How We Help Companies Navigate Global Assignments
At IPM Global, we understand that complex global assignments can be daunting. That’s why we specialise in helping companies navigate the international assignment process, providing a comprehensive and end-to-end experience.
The first step in our new lead process is to coordinate an initial team call to determine your needs and assess how we can help. Each client we work with has unique requirements, and it’s crucial for us to gauge the scope of the issues you have, or what you want to achieve, to provide tailored solutions. Whilst this may look different for each client, certain core principles will prevail with all For example, we always discuss the need for documentation, policy, and process for our clients, taking a holistic approach, to ensure equity of treatment.
During this introductory call, if this is the first assignment your company has undertaken we’ll also discuss the assignment length and the country you are moving your employee to. These factors are crucial as they help determine the parameters of the relocation, including immigration requirements and tax and social security obligations. Managing tax and tax compliance, cost containment, and managing exceptions remain the three principal challenges in long-term assignment management, according to a 2020 Mercer report.
It’s important to note that frequent business travel can cause issues with immigration if there are cumulative trips to one location that are stacking up. To avoid complications, we’ll delve into the immigration situation, the visa requirements, and potential timelines for getting approval for the relevant documentation. We understand that obtaining the necessary paperwork can be tedious, and we’re committed to supporting you every step of the way.
Lastly, if considering permanent relocation, we’ll discuss permanent residency options, which can vary depending on the country and nationality of your employee. Countries typically require a work permit before applying for permanent residency, but exceptions exist. Again, our expert team will guide the best course of action to ensure a smooth and successful transition!
Outsourcing your Global Mobility Program
Outsourcing your Global Mobility program can be a significant decision for any organisation, and we understand the apprehension that comes with it. However, partnering with a specialised global mobility service provider like us can bring many benefits, including improved efficiency, reduced costs, and access to technical expertise. According to LearnLight, “The expense of a three-year international assignment can cost millions, yet many organisations fail to get it right. Despite their significant investments in international assignments, companies still report a 42 percent failure rate in these assignments”.
When you approach us, we begin by understanding your pain points and why you want to outsource. We will then work with the person in charge of the program within your organisation, whether it’s an HR manager or a global mobility manager, to determine how we can help you. If you already have an existing vendor, we want to know what problems need addressing and how these can be improved.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to outsourcing, so we tailor our process to your specific needs. We recognise that the level of expertise within your own organisation and the size of your program will determine the extent to which you want to delegate tasks to us. So, we work with you to understand your comfort level and determine the level of involvement that works best for you.
If you have existing assignments, we will ensure a seamless transition by taking these over and performing a compliance audit to ensure everything is on track. We are also accustomed to working with multiple people in different regions, and we are up to the challenge of navigating the added layers of complexity that this may entail.
We aim to work with you as a partner, not just as a service provider. We want to understand your needs, answer your questions, and design custom solutions to address your unique challenges. In a recent article, Ernest and Young state, “68% of mobility functions juggle both strategy and operations”. The article continues, “freeing up the in-house team to focus on their core initiatives and operationalise strategy is how you take mobility to the next level”. By outsourcing your global mobility program to us, you can focus on your core business objectives while we handle the complexities of global mobility.
Managing your Assignees, even After they are Gone
As we well know, the work doesn’t end as soon as your assignee reaches their new location. There is still much to do behind the scenes, and we understand the importance of managing individuals even after the physical relocation For example there are numerous critical dates to be monitored, such as social security certificates, work permits, and tenancy agreements. It can be a complex task for any company. This article will delve into our process for managing assignees and the challenges we frequently face.
We need to monitor critical dates and recognise any imminent dates proactively before expiration.. For instance, some countries issue work permits only annually; as a result, this detail can be overlooked when surveying the entire assignment timeline. Similarly, tenancy agreements tend to last one or two years, so carefully managing other timeframes during the assignment duration is necessary. As a result, we create a custom action plan and work with your and your assignee’s timeline. We strive to act as an additional layer of protection for companies even if they have their own internal safeguards on certain dates, thus enabling us the opportunity to capture issues others may miss.
Our team also monitors existing assignees as part of their daily duties. According to an article published by Harvard Business Review, staying “in frequent contact throughout the assignment” is one of the five most crucial factors for “managing successful overseas assignments”. IPM’s experts ensure that everything is in line with the original assignment’s duration and identify potential issues, such as tax concessions expiring after a certain period. Additionally, we can draft extension letters for assignees where you wish to extend their assignment,, informing HR of any changes and costs that may arise, due to, for example, differing tax or social security treatment. By ensuring you don’t sweat the small stuff, we help create bandwidth within your organisation to check in with your assignee and offer support where needed.
Finally, we are on hand to help with salary reviews, ensuring that your assignees receive fair compensation based on tax rates, exchange rates, and cost of living indices. Determining the cost of living index can be challenging, especially when countries experience different inflation levels. The exchange rates between countries can also significantly affect the assignee’s ability to purchase goods and services. To ease your mind, our team periodically recalculate salaries with the latest information to confirm your assignees receive adequate compensation.
Our robust process for managing assignees extends past the physical relocation. We understand the importance of monitoring critical dates, identifying potential issues, and recalculating salaries to ensure fair compensation. Assignees and businesses alike can rely on IPM Global to remain a safety net, especially when dealing with complex scenarios. IPM’s experience in Global Mobility services has helped many companies manage their assignees efficiently and effectively over many years.
International business assignments are becoming increasingly common in our globalised economy. While these opportunities provide individuals with exciting prospects for professional growth and personal development, they also present challenges that can significantly impact the relocation’s success. One of the most critical challenges is navigating cultural differences. Therefore, to ensure the success of international projects, we recommend companies invest in cultural training for their employees.
At IPM, we understand the importance of cultural training and have developed a process that considers both the home and host cultures. Our process involves working with various suppliers and utilising online tools to provide customised training for each assignment. This training includes an overview of the host culture’s customs, traditions, etiquette, communication styles, and business practices. With this knowledge, employees can navigate their new environment more effectively, build relationships, and avoid misunderstandings.
The importance of cultural training is more than just anecdotal. Numerous studies support its necessity. For instance, a study conducted by Harvard Business Review found that “between 10% and 20% of all U.S. managers sent abroad returned early because of job dissatisfaction or difficulties in adjusting to a foreign country”. Further, a HubSpot report states, “the vast majority of respondents said it was extremely or very important that their companies invest in training employees to work effectively across cultures (74% of all respondents) and to provide continuous learning for that purpose (82%)”.
Another factor to consider is the impact of cultural training on the assignee’s family. Employees uproot themselves and their families from their support network when they relocate. According to a 2020 Mercer report, “difficulty adjusting to the host country, poor candidate selection, and spouse or partner’s unhappiness are the top three reasons international assignments fail”. Cultural training can ease this transition by providing family members with an understanding of the host culture and customs, ahead of their relocation. This knowledge can help them integrate into the new environment and avoid feelings of isolation and culture shock.
In conclusion, cultural training is a critical component of successful international assignments. It is not just a nice-to-have but a must-have investment for any company that values the success of its employees and the retention of top talent. At IPM, we understand the importance of cultural training and have developed a comprehensive process that considers both the assignees and their family’s needs. With our customised training, employees can thrive in their new environment, build relationships, and make meaningful contributions to their organisations.
Integrated Mobility Solutions from IPM Global
At IPM Global, we understand the importance of maintaining a human touch in global mobility programs, even as technology advances. Our highly experienced mobility consultants have supported companies through recessions and world crises. We understand the speed and urgency needed when companies adapt. Juggling your assignee population while maintaining organisational compliance is a challenging feat. That is why we rely on more than our previous experience. Our team stays current on shifts and trends in global mobility, from changes in business traveller regulations to political turmoil. This commitment lets us strategically advise clients and help them achieve their commercial objectives. So if your company is considering implementing or expanding a global mobility program, contact us today for a friendly, no-obligation discussion.