Tag Archives: International Assignments

Dear colleague,

Since 1999 I have worked in the Global Mobility / international HR area and there is not one day where I do not learn anything new!

In the year 2000 I sat in the last row of a very expensive Global Mobility seminar in Berlin. I was about three months into a role that was at least one shoe size to big for my experience but I must have made a big impression in the interview (and my future boss was probably desperate) so I landed my dream job which was to be the “HR International Advisor for Asia Pacific responsible for around 80 assignees and representatives of a large global bank. The seminar was a waste of money on me. It was far too specific and detailed. The cases were more the exceptions than the general rule and I am happy that at least I remembered when to apply the “183-day-rule* in a case of double taxation and when not even to bother.

Globe

We are NOT relocation professionals even though we often engage them

Later in my Human Resources career I noticed that there is really not a lot of good advice out there for international HR professionals PLUS if you say you work in Global Mobility a lot of people think you are doing relocation. When talking to other HR Professionals and senior managers they often underestimate the complexity of Global Mobility and one of the remarks that still makes me angry is when Global Mobility Professionals are called “ADMIN” because what we do requires an enormous knowledge and skill set.

If you are one of my colleagues you probably share my view that Global Mobility Professional have to be

  • Highly analytical (you are a comp and cost expert).
  • Highly technical (you are an expert on tax, social security, immigration, employment law).
  • Highly experiential (you have to have moved 200 expats to know your job).
  • Highly sensitive (you work with talents and their families in a phase of high stress).
  • Highly intercultural (you speak at least four languages and deal with numerous cultures).

There is no formal Global Mobility education and profession.

We need to build up our own professional standard and education while we need to learn to work more in line with the businesses and clients we serve. We need to step up and become real consultants.

If you want to know how –>> sign up  for our updates on “The Global Mobility Workbook – A Step-by-Step Guide for managing international Assignments” in the pink box.

 

Kind regards

Angela Weinberger

Understand all risks involved in moving to another country

Due to the global financial crisis and cost constraints, many companies have had to revise their international assignment policies. One of the emerging trends is to offer potential assignees a kind of hybrid package that keeps costs low for the company, but still offers the assignee the opportunity to work abroad.

The Local Plus Package

The local plus package is typically a local market salary with basic relocation assistance to the host country. Assignees are usually offered assistance with finding a home, whether it’s temporary or long-term accommodations, and other standard “settling in” services.

Local plus packages typically do not include intercultural training or spouse career coaching. Without these kinds of support, it can make the decision to move aboard on one salary all the more difficult.

Assignments and Countries

If you are offered a local plus package, it is usually more benefiting for you than for your company. Chances are your company could find someone with a similar profile already living in the host country, however they are willing to invest in you and pay a little extra to assign you abroad.

Countries with stable currencies, good market salaries and a high standard of living make good relocation choices on a local plus package. In countries like Switzerland, the UAE or the USA the local market salary is often very comfortable compared to the cost of living.

Implications of the Local Plus Package

The local plus package may not be for everyone. Speak with a global mobility professional about the following before you make your choice.

1)     Consider where your long-term home location is and if you will lose out on pension or other social security benefits if you cut ties with the home location.

2)     Find out if your spouse/partner will face any social security or health insurance risks when leaving the home location.

3)     Confirm if the host health insurance system offers comparable security as in your home location.

4)     Ask if there are any severe risks in the host location if you have an accident or contact a long-term disease during the first year of assignment.

5)     Review any immigration or tax implications if you relocate under a local contract.

6)     Plan what to do if you are made redundant in the host location.

7)     Research all other the risks to accepting a local package, i.e. cost of living, where your children will attend school, cultural integration, etc.

It’s easy to forget such risks until the first issue arises. Remember that your global mobility professional and company want to ensure your trust and that you have a positive experience abroad.