Making Global Workforce Mobility Work For You

In today’s global economy, business conditions change fast. Opportunities to enter new markets arise quickly, competition is fierce, and getting products and services into new geographies can be essential to a business’ success. Companies need to be able to capitalize on first movers advantages. Leveraging the opportunities of the international market often means reallocating resources and moving key people to new locations. Global mobility has become a strategic advantage. Yet in a new report, 70% of executives said their company’s global mobility capability is “underperforming.”


Indeed, in Deloitte’s Strategic Moves 2012: The Global Mobility Island report, respondents identified global mobility as a critical tool for addressing the top three strategic business issues:

Emerging markets

  • Emerging markets
  • Increasing globalization
  • Increasing competition

At the same time, the survey found that in spite of this awareness:

  • 2% describe their organization’s global mobility practice as “world-class.”
  • 70% of the respondents report their organization’s global mobility is underperforming or requires significant improvement.

Establishing, maintaining and managing employees in multiple jurisdictions can be demanding. Sending employees to work in foreign countries can involve immigration, compensation, taxation and reporting issues, among many others. Employees may also need housing for themselves and their families, transportation, education and support associated with moving into a new culture.

Security concerns have made countries far more diligent about enforcing immigration regulations than they have been in the past. Securing the proper visa and work permits is essential. While in earlier times, some companies may have sent workers across borders as “long-term tourists”, doing so now can be very risky. We have seen criminal cases brought against companies or their suppliers.

In the past, these kinds of concerns would be limited to large, Global 100 companies. Smaller firms lacked the resources to establish a foreign presence. The fact is, once you have established operations in a foreign market, whether as a wholly owned subsidiary, branch office, or any other structure, you have entered the world of the global workforce. It can happen quickly, with something as simple as hiring a salesperson in another country.

Any company that has international expansion in its business plan should prepare in advance for a global workforce. The more prepared you are, the more quickly you will be able to seize opportunities as they arrive, and get the right resources to the right place at the right time.

Global Upside can help you meet these challenges. We’ve been helping international companies since we started, and we are now active in more than 150 countries.

Moving fast to enable your people to be productive as quickly as possible is essential. Rules and regulations are there for a reason, but if not anticipated, they can slow expansion to a crawl. If not done properly, they can come back and bite you years later. Preparing for a global workforce should begin day one for any company planning to operate in multiple jurisdictions.