Technology in the world of work
Technology is changing the way in which companies and workers operate. In the global mobility sphere, a host of innovative new tools promise to save time and cost and empower employers and employees.
See more features about technology in the Autumn 2016 issue of Relocate magazine on our Digital Issues page.
Impact on the retail sectorRetailers relocate their employees in a domestic context, and increasingly embrace global mobility as business expansion demands overseas travel for project work, career development or fact-finding short-term business trips.For companies from Tesco to Marks and Spencer and Amazon, being at the sharp end of technology is important as they respond to changing retail developments. Just as they deal with change in their own sector, they look to their suppliers to deliver cost savings and technology to support their people moves.
Technology enabling a more strategic approachMOVE Guides, the technology-based relocation management company, brings together the various aspects of global mobility onto one platform. This allows HR global mobility users to focus on the parts of the job they love most. It also frees up more time.The company’s Cost Estimate Tool is a prime example. A familiar problem in global mobility has been the manual third-party generation of cost estimates and the slow turnaround of cost estimates for relocations and assignments.The tool gives users the ability to make real-time changes and compare cost estimates with actual expenditure. It reduces time in estimating and managing mobility spend, and gives real visibility on the cost to the business, thanks to easy-to-access data. At the click of a button, the user has cost estimates in minutes, not days or weeks, the company claims.The thorny issue of exceptions – or deviations from relocation and assignment policy – is another area in which a technology platform can make a huge difference. By tracking and storing the data on a platform, global mobility teams can focus on the analysis and key trends, enabling them to make strategic decisions about their programmes. MOVE Guides also explains how this approach relates to the wider HR trend around improving the employee experience and “empowering employees to take ownership of their situation and trusting them to do the right thing”. Removing the layers of admin and time spent on manually managing the employee population enables companies to shift the focus to hiring the right people and providing a positive experience that will drive retention.
Apple in the headlinesApple has been in the headlines again recently, for controversial reasons as well as for the well-hyped launch of the iPhone 7. Longer battery life and a better camera will have kept some admirers happy, but the loss of the headphone jack infuriated others. This is seen as Apple’s move towards a future in which its sights will be set on the wireless audio market.Apple was also newsworthy because of the recent tax ruling against the Irish government. Liam Brennan, Going-there’s VP of client relations, highlights why the Apple tax ruling was important to global mobility. Referring to the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting reports (BEPS) that were presented to the G20 group of nations near the end of 2015, he explains this renewed initiative by governments to standardise the approach to taxing global corporates.The intention is to remove the possibility of companies playing off one jurisdiction against another and seeking to move profits from high-tax to low-tax locations. There is a strong wish from governments and the public to see global corporates pay their fair share of taxes. Liam Brennan points out that, while many of the guidelines are complex, Action 7 and Action 13 could have the biggest impact on global mobility and business travel.
The power of mobility insightsGraebel has launched a new tool, MQ Insights, designed to support mobility leaders in their quest to provide their business leaders with strategic insights and to demonstrate the importance of mobility and the excellence of their programmes.Tim O’Shea, VP of consulting services at Graebel, explained how HR leaders could utilise the tool to strengthen their mobility programmes. The objective is to go beyond benchmarking and give senior mobility and HR executives a 360-degree view of their mobility programmes.Mr O’Shea is confident this tool is relatively unique in the mobility industry. This refreshing approach should tease out the forward-thinking strategists who are hungry to prove their worth and bring real value to their organisation’s decision-making table. It is about ambition and having the courage to take on board invaluable feedback from your peers. With this stride comes the empowerment to make a difference and tailor your mobility programme to the real and immediate needs of the business – and, importantly, to shape the future.Surely this is a true partnership approach? For those new to mobility or embarking on global expansion with little in-house support, this tool could be a godsend, bringing on board the stakeholders in tax, immigration and benefits, together with external suppliers, to provide a meaningful roadmap for mobility.MQ Insight assesses a company's mobility programme across seven areas, including people and structure, process, risk and compliance, technology, supply chain, financial services and policy management. It then provides HR/mobility executives with actionable, tangible recommendations to improve and strengthen their company’s programme. The diagnostic process involves two parts. First a survey is sent to individuals throughout the company to assess the mobility programmme. Once data is tabulated, Graebel follows up with comprehensive findings that reveal areas of excellence and opportunity, along with recommendations and resources to enhance the programme.Tim O’Shea, having previously worked for Fidelity Investments in Boston as VP of human resource shared services, is all too aware of the pitfalls of becoming too transactional in a mobility role. He understands the need to think more strategically. “The job is so much more about workplace planning and talent management,” he explained. The tool offers real leverage for mobility, making a valuable contribution to the success of the company, he feels, as well as offering a more interesting role and something much more impactful. “It is all too easy to get stuck in the day to day,” he said, and – with real empathy – “this makes us smarter”.
Virtual homesearch – select a new home without leaving your deskCrown World Mobility has been investing in IT solutions to deliver home search at a reasonable cost that can be matched to policy type, saving time and effort all round. Needless to say, the solution is marketed as a perfect fit for short-term assignments and tech-savvy Millennials, who can view properties abroad without leaving their desks.Crown World Mobility’s regional director, Peter Sewell, says, “This is an exciting advance that aligns with the changes in the mobility sector. It is especially suitable for low-cost assignments, those who have challenges making physical viewings, and assignees who are time poor.”Depending on the option selected, those who choose Virtual Home Search will receive all the components of a traditional home-search programme, but without having to visit the destination.The assignee will be directed to a Crown World Mobility adviser to confirm and fine-tune their requirements before a destination specialist maps out the right solution for them. The assignee can choose to view this via a live stream or access the recording later.Peter Sewell adds, “These kind of technical solutions really appeal to Digital Natives and lower-budget career-development assignees, but we have also seen higher-level executives and their families take up this option rather than take a week out of work at a very stressful time in their lives. This saves the employee considerable time, while the company saves on flights and hotel costs.”
For more news and features about technology, visit our Technology section.
The following sections may also be of interest: Enterprise, Mobility Industry
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