Sue has just arrived in ExpatCountry and is excited about her international assignment. Sue expects the assignment will last for 3 months. She is not sure what is expected of her during the assignment period but decided to go on assignment anyway as she has always loved to travel. Five weeks into her assignment, Sue needs to return to HomeCountry for personal reasons. Whilst she packs she realises her purse in which she had kept her passport has been stolen. Sue is not sure who to contact and what her next steps should be. In addition, who would pay for her to fly to HomeCountry? She is in ExpatCountry on company business – surely her employer should pay? She hasn’t paid any taxes as no arrangements have been made. She doesn’t know where to start as she is an engineer by trade and knows very little about taxes especially in ExpatCountry. She has heard of other expatriates getting detained due to not paying taxes.
More and more organisations are realising the benefits of an international assignment. This is an arrangement where an employee is temporarily transferred across national borders. There are various reasons an organisation would allow its employees to not contribute to the bottom line for a period of time. The most prevalent is probably to acquire information, knowledge and skills which would benefit the organisation in the long run. It could also be for project work or setting up operations in another country.
Whatever the reason, as with everything, an organisation requires a robust plan to ensure that objectives are met and that the process to achieve those objectives is as smooth as possible.
A global mobility programme is designed to facilitate the movement of employees across the globe. It is a programme that is aligned to the organisation’s overall philosophy, culture and strategic objectives. It is integrated and aligned to the organisation’s talent management philosophy and processes; provides a framework for assignee selection and provides objectives for each assignment as well as the tools to measure whether objectives are met.
A global mobility programme’s effectiveness can be measured with reference to ongoing communication between the key parties, clearly defined roles and responsibilities and flexibility ie ability to adapt to the different economic, global and political changes. For every global mobility programme a global mobility policy is required – the “how” for the “what” contained in the global mobility programme.
A global mobility policy is operational in nature. It sets out procedures to guide decisions and achieve outcomes in accordance with the intention of the organisation per the global mobility programme.
Due to globalisation it is becoming more apparent and sometimes necessary for organisations to move employees to various corners of the globe. It is vital that such an organisation have a global mobility programme and policy in place to ensure that their employees don’t end up like Sue but that there is a clear plan for every eventuality and requirement.
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