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  • 12 Aug 2021 7:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Submitted by Global Tax Network

    The Future of Work: Why the C-Suite Needs To Align With HR on Employee Mobility Issues

    A landslide of remote work requests is crashing into businesses, and it’s revealing alarming holes in the way corporations are managing employee mobility. Chances are, remote work is already bogging down your HR department, and if you don’t act soon, your company and employees could be exposed to global tax compliance and employee incentive problems.

    Most C-suite executives know the remote work revolution is coming, but not all see the pressing reasons to align with HR on employee mobility issues right now. I’ve picked out some of the most important reasons alignment is needed and how C-suite executives can successfully plan for an increasingly mobile workforce.

    Remote Work and Tax Enforcement Agencies are on a Collision Course

    Most C-suite executives are seeing a massive workforce shift toward remote work and global employees. In fact, remote work has skyrocketed during the pandemic, with 44% of employees spending at least five days per week working in a mobile setting. What’s more, it looks as though the number of remote workers will continue to climb in the future. According to a recent Gartner survey, more than 80% of corporate leaders plan to let employees work remotely at least part time after the pandemic subsides.

    For C-suite executives, a move toward more flexible work appears to be inevitable, and it presents new opportunities to lower operational costs and dip into a wider talent pool. However, some leaders don’t realize how lenient tax officials and regulatory bodies have been up to this point, and even fewer see the potential compliance violations mounting on the horizon.

    As employees flock to new locations and their companies lack the resources to track their whereabouts, governments are increasing their ability to monitor who is working within what borders. More and more regulatory agencies now have the technology to monitor employee activity, and immigration offices are linking up across the globe to coordinate their tracking efforts. With a growing number of employees clamoring for remote work and few companies actively mapping out a compliance plan, companies could face heavy consequences in the near future.

    Why Do C-Suite Executives Need to Align with HR on Mobility Tax?

    As employees begin to work across state and country borders, their employers (often unknowingly) also become responsible for reporting wages and withholding taxes according to the specific obligations of the jurisdictions in which the employees are working. With so many different tax rules tagged to different areas, keeping track of mobility tax alone becomes extremely complicated. If C-suite executives and HR aren’t aligned, these complications can escalate into company-wide problems.

    Here are a few of the most immediate potential consequences that could soon hit company leaders:

    • Tax and compliance penalties: With the confusion of COVID-19 throwing off processes, many regulatory agencies gave non-compliant businesses a pass in 2020. That’s a trend that’s likely to change in the near future. Unfortunately, if companies don’t have a way to track where employees are and ensure tax compliance, they may risk damaging their reputation or incurring penalties, fines or even jail time.
    • An overwhelmed HR team: Remote work is popular among employees. In fact, according to a recent Buffer survey, 97.6% of employees want to work remotely at least part time for the rest of their careers. So, it’s no wonder that C-suite executives are often quick to promise flexible work opportunities for employees. Unfortunately, if there aren’t policies backing up those promises, they can overwhelm the HR team and impact a company’s culture. As requests flood in, HR professionals will need to know where employees can work, for how long, and how to manage tax compliance in different scenarios to avoid an overwhelming workload of one-off requests.
    • Discouraged employees: Without a clear remote work policy, employees can become frustrated and even leave for other opportunities. If they don’t have clear answers and direction about where they can work and how long they can work there, it can sour the entire company’s culture.

    What Critical Actions Should the C-Suite Take?

    Adjusting to the mobile work onslaught may seem overwhelming, but there are some clear-cut actions C-suite executives can take with their HR teams to properly manage their global teams:

    1. Let Your Company’s Priorities Guide Your Efforts

    Companies generally have three broad priorities fueling their policies: employee experience, cost reduction, and corporate compliance. By determining your company’s biggest concerns and setting priorities accordingly, you narrow the scope of responsibilities—making it easier to drive remote work policies that promote your company’s goals.

    2. Designate a Remote Worker Project Manager

    To lay out expectations for employees and push mobile work policies forward, it’s important to assign a single remote worker project manager. As remote work requests ramp up and employees come up with inevitable questions, your project manager will spearhead new initiatives and help identify what processes your employees need.

    3. Give Your Remote Worker Project Manager Support

    It doesn’t matter how capable your remote worker project manager is—they’ll need support going forward. Addressing remote work requests on a case-by-case basis creates a bottleneck in HR. To properly manage mobility tax issues arising from remote work, your project manager and HR leaders may need to consider everything from immigration, corporate tax, employment tax, retirement benefits and other areas outside their expertise. That’s why it’s a good idea to empower your project manager to build a cross functional internal team that can address all remote work compliance work issues. Additionally, it is critical to give them the budget they need to bring in external vendors to address the complex mobility tax issues that come with remote workers.

    C-Suite and HR Alignment is the Recipe for Better Work in the Future

    As the workforce changes, C-suite executives have an opportunity to stay ahead of trends, keep HR employees happy and safely manage the tax complications that are inherent to remote work. To achieve this, it just takes stellar communication and policies that align C-suite executives and HR. By bracing for changes early, corporations can fight off the tax hazards that are on the way and propel work forward in this new employee landscape.


    Brett Sipes has more than 20 years of experience in providing international tax services. He joined Global Tax Network in 2006 and currently serves as Managing Director for GTN's Pacific region. He is responsible for providing global mobility tax compliance and consulting to mobile employees and their employers. Prior to joining GTN, Brett worked in the global mobility area and in international executive services with Big 4 accounting firms. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern College and is a CPA.

    Originally featured in Future of Sourcing:

  • 22 Nov 2019 6:43 AM | Anonymous

    Submitted by:  Avalon Transportation Company

    Global Workforce Mobility Trends in the Bay Area - a Personal Experience

    The word trend in this article’s title is somewhat misleading. This is because in today’s large market cap economy, the dispatchment of global workforce personnel is much more than a trend. In fact, for companies ranging from mid-to-large cap size, this is becoming a dominating business management process. In the 2013 Weichert Workforce Mobility (WWM) survey, a staggering 92% of surveyed companies indicated that workforce mobility was a crucial business policy that had a direct impact on their profit margins, and volumes of people moving and the number of companies expecting to see ‘the same or more’ gets larger every year.

    To understand the importance of workforce mobility, we must consider the facts. Today, an increasing number of companies are transitioning to a Multinational Corporation (MNC) designation. This means that their workforce employs people in multiple countries and also that those people are mobile between countries. The expectation is that personnel can and will interface seamlessly with one another through the advent of high-speed collaboration technology such as Cloud Computing and Gig Speed Fiber Optics internet connections. Not only are companies hiring outside of their home country, a large portion of the company’s management structure is comprised of expatriates.

    There are numerous benefits to a highly mobile global workforce. As companies expand their horizons over their domestic borders, they are able to access a plethora of diverse talent and varying skill sets. Due to differences in purchasing power parity and average incomes, global workforce mobility helps reduce operating costs. Additionally, a global workforce allows an improvement in productivity and access to resources.

    While the benefits seem enticing, workforce mobility can prove to be challenging. Firstly, there are tax and legal restrictions when a company wants to hire or transfer employees overseas. Visas, tax compliance,  and other measures need to be in place to ensure proper workforce mobility transition. Another major challenge is that of relocation costs. A company’s expatriate employees need housing and transportation during their business travel. These costs, and tax equalization,  are the most expensive aspect of having a globally mobile workforce.

    In the case of the San Jose-San Francisco Bay area, global workforce mobility is a critical business component of companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Google that employ personnel and conduct product manufacturing in countries such as India, China, Mexico and elsewhere. While the tech giants have optimized their global mobility practices, many mid-cap companies often struggle to properly accommodate their mobile workforce. We have noticed that a significant portion of their management structure comprised of expatriates who would manage resources in foreign countries and then travel internationally to the home base in the Bay Area. Oftentimes, such employees require transportation and their companies compensate them for car rentals. However, the rental costs from most car rental companies tend to be very high over a multi-month  period.  I myself rented an intermediate size vehicle for 3 months and found the cost to be very high when compared to a monthly car lease over the same period.   On average, a customer can save 10-15% with a short-term car lease vs. a long-term rental.  The ‘short term’ lease concept is gaining ground in the US as an option, particularly in large and active markets; the concept is less common outside the US, in Europe for example, where well established and easy to use commuter transportation is a more viable option.

    About Avalon:

    Avalon is a premier, independent  car rental and leasing company based in San Jose, CA and Austin,TX, with a fleet of over 300 vehicles. Avalon provides affordable short- and long-term rental options for companies or individuals doing business or travelling to these locations. Options include a variety of vehicle types from midsize up to full size minivans and luxury cars to suit diverse business needs. Avalon provides short-term leasing and long-term rental  and chauffeured airport service to businesses and individuals alike.


    1.     Global Workforce Mobility: The Latest Trends. March 11, 2013. IESE Business School.

    2.     Avalon Transportation - Your Monthly Car Rental Solution. 2019. Avalon Transportation Service.

  • 15 Jul 2019 9:01 AM | Anonymous

    Supply Chain, A Critical Link 

    When sourcing relocation services, many companies underestimate the importance of the supply chain in the RFP evaluation process. In this post I will explore why the supply chain is so important and how it may impact pricing, reporting, service delivery and corporate risk exposure.

    To use or not to use, all or some of the RMC’s Supply Chain

    This is a common question that companies should ask as they enter into an RFP. The Relocation Management Company (RMC) will have a professionally sourced and managed supply chain in place at the time of the RFP.  In today’s environment of connected ecosystems, a sophisticated RMC will also have API connections with their key supply chain partners. These connections enable two-way, real time reporting and data exchange including service updates, transaction and response speed, data privacy and integrity. Also, the RMC can leverage their purchasing power with their key suppliers to achieve pricing advantages and performance guarantees that a solo corporate contract may not be able to achieve. So there are benefits to be realized by using the RMC’s supply chain; however, there is also value for the corporation to maintain some of their own relationships. Corporations that maintain some of their preferred supplier relationships have a perception of better service results and value-added services from those engagements. They also cite consistency of supplier services in the event the core RMC supplier is changed.  With benefits to each approach, what should a corporate buyer consider in taking their relocation management contract out to bid?

    • 1.       What relationships do we already have in place? Asking the corporate mobility team which suppliers they are already using is the first step. Most commonly, a company will have a standing relationship with an immigration firm and one or more tax partners. These relationships remain in place regardless of the RMC selected because they have broader implications to the company beyond the mobility program. But what about moving/removal companies, temporary housing firms, destination services providers, estate agents and real estate professionals? Do these relationships exist and should they be retained?
    • 2.       How is the relationship structured? Does the company have a contract in place with the supplier or is this more of a hand-shake agreement? Oftentimes we find a company may have “directed suppliers” where the mobility team has asked or directed their RMC to use a specific supplier for a specific service category in a specific location; in these instances, a formal supplier contract may or may not be in place.  Many RMC’s have a multi-tier performance management policy in such an engagement, and they often do not vet the client-directed supplier at all and pass all responsibility back to the client. In such an instance, it is unclear who should be responsible for vetting the directed supplier, the RMC or the company.
    • 3.       Will utilizing our own suppliers increase costs? Possibly. It’s still common practice in the industry that most RMC’s will take a commission or mark-up from any supplier service they touch. There are pros and cons to this approach which are explored below. But this should be decided and explicitly disclosed in the RFP process otherwise it may trigger a renegotiation later.
    • 4.       What will we lose if we direct our own suppliers? As mentioned above, the increasing use of API’s connects the supply chain with the RMC closer and closer every day. While API’s make it easy to plug and play, some smaller service providers may be using older technology tools that lack this capability. What is this loss of connectivity worth to the organization?

    Supply Chain Commissions, Mark-ups and Referral Fees

    Over the past 30 years, the relocation management industry has been squeezed on management fees as companies look for ways to lower their costs. As an example, in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s a homeowner relocation would likely have had a service/management fee of $4,000-$5,000. Today those fees are likely close to zero. Considering that companies will pay $3,000 or more for a 2-day cultural orientation, there is a real imbalance when they are paying an RMC significantly less for an international assignment where the service delivery window is much longer.

    The relocation industry took a cue from other industries and started looking for ways to earn revenues legally from the supply chain through commissions, referral fees and mark-ups. The theory/benefit behind this approach is that the commissions paid from the supply chain allowed the RMC to reduce their service fees while still earning a respectable profit margin. It has the added benefit of self-adjusting the revenue earned based on the complexity of the relocation or assignment – the more complex the relocation or assignment, the more supply chain services are generally involved and therefore the more revenue is collected from supply chain commissions. This model aligned the revenue recognized with the work expended by the RMC and enabled RMC’s to solve another client complaint – nickel and dime pricing schedules. With this approach, the RMC could move to a more fee pricing model. However, in getting what they asked for (lower management fees), client corporations also lost transparency.

    Cost Considerations

    When the RMC receives a commission from the supply chain, the cost of the supplier’s service goes up. With the exception of real estate commissions which have operated with broker-to-broker referrals since the 1970’s, every other service purchased by an RMC will go up to reflect the requirement for the to pay the RMC a commission. The RMC will argue, and rightly so, that their volume enables them to negotiate pricing that, even with the commission factored in, is lower than the company could get on their own. This argument has merit and based on the size of the program and the value of the client to the supplier in their market this may or may not be true.

    In addition, and often not mentioned, the increased cost is also likely to be taxable for U.S. residents so tax gross-up and equalization costs will increase because of that commission. Consider this example: many RMC’s will collect between $8-$18 per day as a commission from a temporary housing provider. If the base rate of a furnished apartment offered by the temporary housing firm is $200 per day in Santa Clara, California ($6,000 per month), and the RMC requires a $10/day commission, the rate is now $210 per day or $6,300 per month. Temporary housing is a taxable benefit in the U.S. and since it’s being paid in California with a high state income tax, the tax gross-up on that $6,300 doubles the cost. So that commission cost the company an additional $600 for that 30-day stay and the RMC only received $300. The other $300 was wasted on taxes. From a cost standpoint, it would be better to pay the RMC an additional non-taxable service fee appropriate to the work they invested. This same example holds true for nearly all other supply chain costs including the transportation and storage of household goods.

    Comparing Costs

    Another challenge is comparing the supply chain cost for each RMC and then imposing governance to ensure those costs are maintained. I recently encountered an example in an RFP where a company asked for 10 relocation scenarios and requested accurate quotes on the supply chain services for each scenario. One of the bidders had transportation of household goods quotes that were much lower than all the other bidders across the board.  The procurement representative tried to understand the difference in the quotes but could not reconcile them. They engaged an outside expert in transportation pricing who was able to determine that the bidder in question did not quote full door-to-door costs. Since the company asked for “transportation costs” in each scenario, that bidder only included the transportation costs and excluded the packing, packing materials, loading, fuel surcharge, unpacking and other ancillary costs that should have been included in a door-to-door move quote. When confronted, the bidder explained they had excluded those costs because they were not specifically requested.

    As a result, while move scenarios are still a very good way to compare supply chain costs and service fees, they have to be very detailed and you must allow the bidders to ask ample questions to present an accurate estimate of costs. To do a move scenario, we recommend using actual moves that your company has experienced. Then as questions come up you can refer to your real-life scenario to answer the questions. Note that some costs will vary such as airfares, lodging and temporary housing since they are based on supply and demand at the time of the exact move, so providing the timeframe is important. For example, to quote a 30-day stay in furnished housing the RFP should state:  30 days beginning June 1st (it should be within 30-45 days of the RFP release since firm temp housing rates cannot be accurately quoted much over 30 days in the future), in a 1 bedroom unit with once-per-week maid service within a 5-mile radius of location X. When it comes to ultimately contracting for services, locking down the rates and language on commissions from the supply chain will provide additional assurance.


    Transparency is another huge frustration that corporations are experiencing with their RMC’s today. Contract agreements with RMC’s do not always stipulate supply chain pricing. If rates or commissions are not specified in the contract, RMC’s can arbitrarily increase their commissions. For example, if an RMC priced an engagement assuming a 5% commission on the transportation of household goods but that client was not meeting their expected margin and there was nothing in the contract to stipulate the commission or discount level, the RMC could arbitrarily change the commission rate to 6% or 7%. In most cases, the client does not notice or comment. In addition, some RMC’s go through great lengths to hide these commissions. Some RMC’s are known to re-issue a new invoice for a supplier service on their own letterhead so there’s no easy way to trace back the charges. As a result, if you agree to allow supply chain commissions because the lower fee and simplified pricing provides better optics for your organization, then the contract should disclose and lock these commissions down.

    Risk Exposure

    As mentioned earlier, RMC’s have different standards of service when a corporate client utilizes their own suppliers. For contracted suppliers such as tax and immigration firms, there is generally little risk exposure to the RMC and the client since the client would have done their own vetting and contracting process and would hold the RMC harmless from errors, omissions and negligence from those suppliers. The real issue is when the client has done no due diligence but still wants to use a specified supplier.

    For example, let’s say ABC Company is a company that uses Best Relo for their outsourced relocation management administration. ABC asks Best Relo to use A-OK Corporate Housing in a particular area where ABC has a high volume of relocation activity. Best Relo, like many RMC’s, may feel like they have protected themselves in their contract with ABC. Since A-OK is a directed supplier, many RMC’s do absolutely no vetting of the supplier and rest on the fact that they were instructed by their client to use them. ABC, conversely, feels protected because Best Relo is the one ordering, managing, and paying for the service. Assume then there is a CO2 leak in one of the units and it causes long term medical issues for one of ABC’s employee’s children who was staying in the A-OK apartment as part of the company-sponsored relocation. ABC, Best Relo and A-OK may all be at risk for compensatory and punitive damages. All will likely have exposure because basic commercial duty of care and supplier vetting was not completed on A-OK. Best Relo will point to ABC because ABC instructed them to use that supplier and the deeper pockets are the ones typically hit hardest.

    Companies need to carefully consider the value of their supplier relationships. If you feel maintaining that relationship is important, you must either complete the vetting and contracting process with that supplier or insist that your RMC complete a full vetting and supplier assessment themselves. If that supplier does not pass the supplier assessment, or deficiencies are found, then the company can make an informed decision on how to move forward.


    The supply chain is a significant part of an outsourced or co-sourced global relocation management engagement.  Between 50%-75% of the total costs of the mobility program will likely be paid toward supply chain services and those costs must be considered in a comprehensive RFP evaluation. Time should be spent upfront to determine the supply chain approach that best fits the organization. Identifying company policy and practice about directed suppliers, supplier commissions and risk should all be defined and agreed to prior to issuing the RFP. Too many times corporations enter an RFP without firm decisions in this area and instead ask what options are available ‘with and without’ and ‘if this or that’, without fully considering the cost, impact on service delivery, technology loss and risk exposure to the organization.

    For specific examples of some core supply chain categories including real estate commissions, shipment of household goods, temporary living, destination services and more, please send me an email me request for the full article.

    Chris Furlotte

    VP, Client Development - BGRS


  • 27 Jun 2019 10:52 AM | Anonymous

    One vital factor that can lead to the success of an employee working on a global assignment is the personal feeling of his or her temporary housing accommodations; after all it’s their home away from home. Whether on a short or long-term assignment, traveling solo or with family, today’s global assignees expect a sanctuary where they can unwind, relax and breathe easy. This is the reason why every hospitality and housing accommodation unit designed for tourists, visitors, business travelers and long-term expatriates is now introducing a bit of the personal into their design. Luxurious amenities, high-tech features, and an upgraded look will bring a sense of privilege as a reward for work well done while away from the comforts of home. A touch of ownership through personalized elements and amenities helps a high-value, high-contributing employee reconnect and recharge. 

    Today’s business travelers, project workers and assignees are not just ‘company people’ doing a job for their employer, they see themselves as informed and engaged global professionals, who bring their high-expectation consumer habits with them on the road. Some hotels offering short-term stays for expatriate executives and project specialists are tailoring their features to make the accommodations feel like private homes. The interior designs can reflect the tenant’s cultural leanings like Oriental rugs, minimalist Japanese windows, or the bright colors of a Latin American visual. The functionality of the room or suite can also be adapted to the tenant’s lifestyle and habits; a mini-gym can be built for the sports buff while a space can be converted into a small library for the studious. These small efforts make the assignee feel that she is a welcome resident, and not just a nameless visitor to her destination, no matter how long the stay.

    The more innovative corporate housing companies have gone even further to make the assignee feel truly welcome and integrated into his surroundings. At California Corporate Housing we start with the amenities. Every apartment has its own Amazon Echo which plays music, news reports, and stock tips at the tenant’s command. Those focused on healthy well-being and natural care are in for a naturopathic treat with firstclass aromatherapeutic skin care products stocked in the bathroom. Commitment to understanding the customer and creating a memorable experience means flexibility in design and the use of the property. Picture using furniture, wall paint, and other accessories to create a ‘courtside at Wimbledon apartment for the assignee who is a devoted fan of the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament. With assignees wanting to be both connected to what and who they love and looking to enjoy life and be productive in their new community, more personalized accommodations will become increasingly popular. The war for talent impacts every aspect of the employee experience so it wouldn’t be surprising if assignees and other key contributors start asking their employers for service partners who can turn a standard, comfortable unit into a living space that reflects their best selves.

    Article submitted by Ray Madronio, California Corporate Housing

  • 24 Jun 2019 2:33 PM | Anonymous

    An effective relocation policy can be an important tool to protect your company from liability over damaged goods and to protect your employees from a bad moving experience. In these high volume summer months, it’s a  good time to remember that relocation is all about effective support of the transfer of high-value talent and their valued goods . Here are five elements to a helpful and workable policy for when your employees need to be relocated:

    1. Add Automobile Relocation Services

    With many American families owning more than one vehicle, most companies will agree to transport an automobile when the relocation is over a certain distance. A typical relocation service includes moving one to two automobiles. In case of emergency, you should make certain your company has acceptable valuation limits in the event of a claim.

    1. Include a Payback Clause

    Relocating employees will have a financial impact on your company, and payback clauses are essential to protect your return on investment. Inclusion of a payback clause is becoming more common, as they add an extra level of security by ensuring that the employee has fully thought through the new assignment prior to accepting. Payback clauses differ by company, but many find that graduated payback is a good option as, for example, an employee might be required to return up to 50% of their relocation package if they leave your company within two years and 100% if they leave within one year.

    1. Provide Storage Solutions

    A family will need storage solutions throughout the process of its move. With fluctuating schedules, a flexible storage policy is needed to keep your employee happy and secure.  Offering storage of household goods is an important benefit, one that becomes essential when the employee’s new home is not yet ready for move-in. Most companies today allow 30-60 days storage in transit.

    1. Value All Items

    To protect your company and your employees, make certain that household goods are protected with full value protection. Most reputable interstate van lines offer this coverage at no additional charge. If your employee believes their possessions are worth more than the maximum coverage level, excess valuation can be purchased from the mover for a nominal fee.

    1. Hire Professional Packing Services

    Packing can be stressful, and the quality of packing materials and methods can safeguard or shatter your employees’ valuables. While transport services are a given,  most relocating employees expect their household goods to be professionally packed as well. Professional packing services not only reduce risk for your company, they also enable your employees to focus on transitioning into their new role rather than stress over the often-hectic moving process.

    Robust relocation policies can protect your company from unforeseen costs such as vehicle claims, employee turnover, a storage emergency, loss of valued goods, and damage due to packing quality. Employees are any company’s greatest asset, and strong relocation programs give them confidence in their move and pave the way for an efficient, happy work life.

    Submitted by Scott O'Neill, Suddath Relocation Systems

  • 21 Jun 2019 7:02 AM | Anonymous

    By Billy Ho on June 21, 2019
    Talent Mobility Manager, Global Tax & Americas Mobility at Electronic Arts (EA)

    A few months ago, I switched roles from a mobility tax service provider to an in-house mobility generalist. The switch was out of curiosity and the desire to learn more about the mobility universe – where the different worlds represent the many different roles within mobility. The switch came with many uncertainties (and spawned some internal fear), especially having been  comfortable in my previous role for almost a decade, but the desire to learn pushed me past the boundary of fear.  

    Now that I have been in my new role for a few months, I wanted to share some reflections and tips for those who might be curious about the difference between the two worlds. Hopefully, this blog will help anyone sharing a similar desire and nervousness about change. I know it would have made my decision process much smoother (and minimized the debates between my angel & devil) to have had this perspective shared beforehand. I am also referring to a sphere – the comfort zone* – that I’ve  used as my guiding principle.

    Get past your comfort zone.

    We all strive for the feeling of “comfort” – which is very different from person to person – but an occasional peek outside the zone (to nurture your curiosity), followed by a well-informed and intentional venture outside of that boundary often leads to a greater reward – in the form of improvement or career development. I found the following steps contributed greatly in preparing myself for the decision I made:  

    • o   Overcome your fear: The most common setback is the feeling of uncertainty. It often comes from the lack of control and self-confidence, but taking steps to research and understand the purpose and meaning behind the opportunity, in my case, the different mobility roles can help alleviate that feeling of unease. Part of my research was to gather others’ opinion on their day-to-day challenges. The purpose was to understand the different roles and whether any one of these new ‘worlds’ would fulfill my curiosity and desire to learn. I reminded myself that this information was only for reference rather than being persuasive. Since everybody’s experience is different,  this internal  reminder helped to minimize the bias in my research.
    • o   Identify your goals: As the next step, I organized the information and evaluated whether the new role would help to achieve my primary goal: – to broaden my knowledge of mobility. In this change management process, it helps to make a list of goals that are achievable and measurable. For instance, I wanted challenging problems that could help me acquire new skills/perspectives; an opportunity to partner with the business and make an impact; and to expand my professional network. I was able to see these opportunities in the new role.
    • o   Ready, get set, go: It came down to making the decision, but at this point, I was well prepared to choose a path. The one tip here is knowing the outcome will never be as perfect as you may have planned. It is what you do intentionally that drives alignment between the outcome and your goals – and even so – goals may change (or be redefined) from time-to-time.

    Managing the change in environments.


    The two worlds may seem very different, but the beauty of mobility is the roles are interconnected and they have similarity in many ways once you start to explore the new role. Even with that said, change management is a very important part of the journey. It applied to both the new team as well as me personally, the new member of the team.  Here are my observations about this transition:

    • o   A problem solver vs. an advisor: The mobility universe is constantly changing to adapt to the latest workforce trends - as humans we tend to be very creative. Human creativity, flexibility and innovation lead to unique scenarios and restrictions that challenge the business to implement a win-win solution on a one-to-one basis. This is where Talent Mobility comes in as a problem solver (as opposed to an advisor in my previous role). The main difference is identifying a solution that is within the restriction of the business while serving the need of the individual. This requires a good understanding of the impacted business group(s) within the company – information that wasn’t always available in my previous role. As an advisor, I had always provided a variety of solutions to choose from in hope that the business picked the best one that fits its needs.  As a problem solver, I’m part of that process, engaging with the people who are looking for solutions.
    • o   Investment focus vs. revenue driven: A very specific difference between the two worlds is the decision driver. Talent Mobility has been seen more and more as  supporting  the Talent Acquisition function, just as I am doing in my new role. The conscious driver here is intentional investment to win/develop talent. This focus gives me the opportunity to structure programs that support specific talent initiatives and make them impactful. In my previous role, the decision driver was to generate revenue and to meet targets. This often led to an adrenaline-fueled answer to act as quickly as possible to my clients’ questions in order to earn revenue and minimize time and cost in the process. In my new situation, the focus is  to provide research that explores far beyond the immediate question in order to cover all the possible scenarios. This represents a difference in the culture of these two worlds.
    • o   Availability of Resources: The resource and team in my previous role at the tax firm were much more readily available as compared to my new role. Namely, I had access to the research data, the internal expertise, and the various tools/technologies of the firm. This difference in resource availability between past and present roles left me feeling a little helpless at times. Luckily, the solution to the ‘resource gap’  can be found through the professional community, such as BAMM or Worldwide ERC, where people are very willing to share insights; or by partnering with the experts providing mobility services. Overall, the mobility universe is full of people who are willing to help and contribute to the greater success of the industry.

    Recognize the beauty of the Mobility Universe

    Mobility is truly a unique industry – from the various business groups that have a vested interest in mobility success to the many different roles that provide services. While we partner with common service providers and leverage insights from similar mobility topics, there is always the uniqueness in each of the programs to tie back to the individual company’s culture. I want to wrap up my reflection with a few tips:

    • o   Not starting over: The mobility universe is very interconnected, so my skill and knowledge were easily carried over to the new role. At the same time, the new role gives me the opportunity to grow by learning about the relocation and immigration aspects of mobility. All this knowledge contributes to  a well-rounded mobility professional or a mobility generalist.
    • o   Not alone: I feel the mobility universe takes pride in its community, where sharing and collaboration are encouraged. The professional network you build, whether in the previous role or the new role, will become part of your ongoing support structure  to achieve your goals. People are always willing to help or share experiences and insights.
    • o   Not always a win-lose situation: There is such possibility for win-win situations in the mobility universe. In today’s world, data collaboration is the key to success. This concept was very welcomed and adopted by many in the industry. It typically involves all who are connected by a mobility program to come together to share data and processes in creating an ecosystem. I strongly encourage this way of working to be considered.

    Overall, there are many changes to be considered when switching between mobility worlds, but in my experience, it has been a purposeful and rewarding adventure. I look forward to learning much more within the mobility universe in which we all live. I hope by sharing my story, it enables others to think about the value of the different mobility worlds – whether within the same world or across the galaxy.

  • 10 May 2019 9:54 AM | Joshua Hyatt (Administrator)

    When visiting with my clients recently I hear a common refrain,

    "We are so busy.  We are trying to provide policy options and flexibility to meet business needs but are also trying to improve the mobility experience for the employee by providing high touch service and need-aligned packages.  The combination requires a lot of time consulting with the employee and business, which limits our capacity to work on strategic goals."

    Mobility departments are struggling to keep up with a transformed world in which customized, on demand service is expected.  Uber/Lyft pick you up at your door in a moment's notice; a quick Google search can answer almost any question; social media feeds are based on user interests and activities; customized services, from impact investing to personal shopping, all provide tailored services to meet unique individual needs.  It's no wonder that Mobility's stakeholders now expect this type of on-demand, customized service.  

    Some companies are making progress by working smart and providing guided, self-service information.  A number of organizations have built interactive decision guides targeted at  human resources business partners (HRBPs)and the business.  Managers use these self-service tools by answering a few questions about an individual move and then they can see what policy options are available, understand expected costs and move/immigration timelines, and determine if a move is actually feasible.  This helps mobility departments screen cases where mobility isn't a realistic option thus lessening the mobility case load.  And in situations where mobility is a realistic option, it helps prime the conversation between mobility and the business which helps reduce the time spent consulting.  

    Other organizations have found efficiencies through automation.  Some have invested in technology systems to manage the mobility function, but for many companies those systems are out of budget.  As such, smaller programs have had to be creative about where they can utilize automation to reduce time and expense.  Several of my clients have streamlined administration by utilizing lump sums for home leave, home finding, or the entire move.  Others have automated COLA updates which saved one client roughly 15 days of work each year.  Other clients have automated their cost projections which reduced turnaround time from 1 week to about 10 minutes. 

    Finding small wins like some of the items above, can help free up time in your day.  That time can be used to invest in projects to deliver on long term goals and create big wins.  All it takes is a fresh look at your processes, a creative mind, a willingness to try something new, and sometimes a partner to help make it happen. 

    I encourage you to reevaluate your current processes and ask, "How could this be done better?"  You might find some easy wins that are within your reach. 

    by Jordan Blue, AIRINC

  • 08 Apr 2019 10:18 AM | Joshua Hyatt (Administrator)

    BAMM is working on ways to bring our members additional value and reasons to come to our website. As part of this initiative, BAMM is pleased to announce our first shared Webcast with the New Jersey Relocation Council (NJRC). The session is on:

    Block Chain, Cryptoassets and the Future of the Human Resources Industry

    Presenter: Ron Quaranta, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Wall Street Blockchain Alliance

    For several years now, blockchain technology and cryptoassets have dominated headlines with both hype and promise. Industries around the world have been struggling to understand what it all means for their future. In this session, attendees will be able to cut through this noise and learn:

    • What blockchain really is, and what the technology is designed to do.
    • What cryptoassets are, and how to understand both their impact as well as risks.
    • The progress of blockchain in global markets, particular focus on HR industry: data integrity, recruitment,payroll and more; current industry solutions, prototypes and more.
    • How your firm can develop a strategy for a blockchain future.

    WHEN: Tuesday, April 9, 2019

    TIME:  2:15 pm Eastern, 11:15am Pacific


    CLICK ON THE LINK TO - Register

    After your request has been approved, you'll receive instructions for joining the meeting.

  • 01 Mar 2019 9:31 AM | Joshua Hyatt (Administrator)

    BAMM is committed to supporting our local community through charitable causes, and we are pleased to announce that we made the following donations on behalf of all BAMM members to:

    • $600 to– Fund for Camp Fire Victims
    • $11,500 to Not Impossible.  This is for 2018 money raised.
    • $11,500 to BAWCC.  This is for 2018 money raised.
    • $2,500 to WERC Foundation

    We look forward to continuing to support our community in 2019.

  • 12 Jan 2019 10:58 PM | Joshua Hyatt (Administrator)

    Spring Cactus Conference
    March 21st, 2019

    Registration opens Jan 2019

    An afternoon of Baseball, Food, Fun and Education

    Spend the day with ARA on Thursday, March 21st.

    Education in the morning followed by Spring Training in the afternoon at the Cubs vs. Giants baseball game! 

    Learn from several top-level speakers, earn CRP and GMS credits, and have tons of fun at one of Arizona's hottest guest attractions. - More detail to follow. 

    Sponsorship opportunities available! Please contact Christina Mills or Mary

    Head to the desert and hit your mobility program out of the park!

    Date: Thursday, March 21st, 2019


    • Sheraton Mesa Hotel at Wrigleyville West for morning education
    • Sloan Park, Mesa for afternoon ballgame - Chicago Cubs vs.  SF Giants

    CLICK HERE to register


    There will be both CRP and GMS credits awards - Amount TBD..


    ***Are you Interested in sponsoring events like this? - Please contact Mary LaRocca, or Christina Mills, to plan for our next events.

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