What Heads of Global Mobility Want for Christmas This Year

Matthew MacLachlan

7 Dec 2016

As the year comes to a close and the festive season fast approaches, it’s time to close our eyes, make a wish and hope that what we ask for will be under the Christmas tree come Christmas Day morning. So let’s take a light-hearted look at what Heads of Global Mobility want for Christmas this year!

My Letter to Santa: What Heads of Global Mobility Want for Christmas This Year

Heads of Global Mobility Want

 

Dear Santa

Is Your Passport Up-to-date?

If you visit every single country in the world, I don’t believe it’s possible for you to have the correct visas for each one. You appear to be ignoring all immigration and foreign travel policies, exposing yourself and your organisation to some serious risk.

Anti-Corruption?

Additionally, gift-giving as we now know is a big “no-no” with the latest anti-bribery laws. You are more than likely breaking anti-bribery and corruption laws across the globe (if you go over the £50 per gift threshold)?

Are Your Expenses In Order?

And finally, I’m not sure who is authorising your travel expenses, but you are aware, I hope, that most companies need paper receipts or at least scans. Reindeer food is rarely covered by the IRS or HMRC!

You Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours!

2016 saw life get a bit complicated for Heads of Global Mobility with Brexit, Trump and all that, so I was wondering if we could come to a small arrangement? I promise to turn a blind eye to some of your misdemeanours that I have highlighted above if you can grant me some of the wishes below.

1. Safety Blanket

2016 has been a hard year for us all. The attacks in Paris, Brussels and Nice, have reminded everyone in Global Mobility that we are here to provide a duty of care to assignees. So, this year, I want all assignees to:

  • be aware of our emergency policies
  • keep us up-to-date on where they are
  • let us know when their phone numbers change

We are here to look after our international assignees and their safety and wellbeing come first for us.

2. A Smaller World 

Globalisation and the internet were supposed to bring us all closer together. But it seems that countries are insisting on their own local rules and laws more fervently and with it the use of local languages for official documents.

So I would like some nice easy tools to help the assignees adapt quickly to living abroad and realise that they are not Divas

Santa, this year I want to be able to understand my counterparts abroad, and I want them to understand me. I need an easy way to get them to learn about my priorities and timescales, and I need to understand what drives and motivates them. Can you help with that?

3. Fewer “Divas”

I bet not many people ask you for less of something at Christmas! Santa, I would like to ask you for a way to reduce the stress that some assignees produce when they arrive in a new country. We all know that a new environment is difficult and challenging. We are here to help them through the process after all.

It seems, for some reason, that I sometimes feel like a concierge responsible for arranging a babysitter for them so they can go out for a birthday dinner – and at the very same time, I will be in the office on another conference call with the US office, rather than being with my family.

So I would like some nice easy tools to help the assignees adapt quickly to living abroad and realise that they are not Divas and we are all in it to work together.

4. A Voice

I need you to grant me the voice to be heard and be part of those strategic meetings where Talent policies are decided and expansion plans are reviewed

My life would be so much easier if we sent the right people to the right places first time. I’m constantly under pressure to reduce the costs of assignments, and then they tell me that they have already agreed to send someone who is plainly not ready or completely inappropriate to live and work overseas.

I need to be involved in those talent and recruitment conversations at a strategic level – after all, that is what I’ve been doing: working with assignees across the globe and managing so many elements of a complicated process and supply chain.

I know what qualities are needed, I can foresee many of the issues, and I have some useful tools to help with the selection process. But I need you to grant me the voice to be heard and be part of those strategic meetings where Talent policies are decided and expansion plans are reviewed.

5. A Veto

I need an exception veto – the ability to undo a vague promise made by a non-specialist to a potential assignee

We have a series of comprehensive policies that cover every possible combination of assignee and assignment. And yet I’m continually asked to make an exception for one particular person. Or five or six people.

Eventually, the exceptions will outnumber the regular ones. Many of the exceptions are agreed by senior managers who have no idea of the ramifications of promising that a Malaysian colleague can bring his grandmother and his maid with him on assignment to the UK.

It may be a simple case of getting a visa – but that is huge amounts of work for me, especially when our Indian, Singaporean, and Brazilian colleagues hear that there is a precedent.

To solve this issue, I need an exception veto – the ability to undo a vague promise made by a non-specialist to a potential assignee.

Not only will it save me time, but getting rid of the exceptions will save the company a huge amount of money – surely that is a Christmas present worthy of a full thank you letter? That’s it Santa (for this year). I think I have captured the main things what some heads of Global Mobility want this year for Christmas.

Thank you and Merry Christmas!



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