Creating Inclusive and Compliant Mobility Programs

Creating Inclusive and Compliant Mobility Programs

For many Talent Mobility leaders, keeping up with compliance and its cost to the bottom line while remaining fluid and responsive to the business has become a balancing act.

The mobility landscape is becoming ever more complex, with changing mobility patterns combining with evolving local regulations to make compliance issues a moving target. At the same time, talent mobility leaders are also expected to develop and manage cost effective mobility programs which meet their customers’ demands while demonstrating their value to the business.  We define several factors for consideration in order to successfully achieve balance among these sometimes-competing priorities.

Micro Populations Affecting Mobility Compliance

There are two important mobile populations that are influencing the mobility compliance landscape.

Extended Business Travelers

Extended Business Travel (EBT) includes both:

  • Frequent business travelers: employees who travel to different countries on a frequent basis
  • Extended business travelers: employees who travel to another country for an extended period.

EBT can be a creative way to respond to business opportunities and needs that arise in other countries. However, companies generally do not have robust enough programs and processes in place to assure full compliance with the various rules and regulations that govern different countries.

Advancements in technology have made it easier for countries to enforce their laws. Immigration systems at the border are often directly linked to local taxing authorities. So, tax authorities are more informed and can track movement and activities of travelers coming into their country, identifying compliance and tax withholding obligations. Understandably, there is an increased urgency to manage the unique risks associated with the EBT population and companies need to ensure they have a strategy for mitigation. Also, EBT solutions can contain a GPS travel tracking component. As companies partner with their suppliers to integrate further and pass data back and forth, they will be able to monitor all types of employee and mobility program data ensuring they have a holistic picture into all types of mobile employees.

Approaching this topic can be challenging because of the complexity of the problem or because new controls may be perceived by the business as hampering their ability to send talent on necessary assignments. Working with a provider to set up an extended business traveler compliance program can help talent mobility leaders assess their current risk, develop a program in accordance with their assessment and adheres to their risk tolerance.

Contractors, Freelancers and Temporary Workers

The gig economy offers flexible work arrangements, instead of traditional, in-office, full-time jobs with a single company, and it will continue to expand in the coming years, especially in specific industries. A study conducted by Intuit expects that by 2020, 43 percent of the workforce will be freelancers, contractors, and temporary workers.

Companies are dipping into this workforce to fill interim positions, as budget constraints and hiring freezes continue across industry sectors. Talent mobility leaders need to define how mobility programs will include or exclude this growing population, and this needs to tie directly to the company’s overall talent acquisition strategy.

Naturally, leveraging these employees overall may also cause an uptick in their candidacy for short term assignments or EBT. In these cases, talent mobility leaders will need to partner closely with employment law, tax and immigration experts to define compliance for this emerging group of mobile employees. However, over complicating the process to include this population as candidates for mobility may be detrimental to the business; leaders are challenged to ensure compliance without deterring the employment of this competitive talent population.

Creating Compliance and Being Responsive

To stay compliant, talent mobility leaders should assess their policies and programs annually against volume changes across the business. Ask the following critical questions:

  • Is there a new or emerging type of mobile employee we need to be concerned about ?
    • E.g. commuters, extended business travelers
  • Which department is, or should be, monitoring mobile employees such as extended business travelers, commuters or contractors? Who owns managing the associated risks?
  • What is the business telling us about how easy (or difficult) it is to engage with talent mobility? How does that impact any new or changes to existing programs?
  • Do our existing programs, policies and processes address the major areas of mobility risk?
    • Immigration
    • Tax
    • Duty of care
    • Data and Information Security
    • Risk Management
    • Benefits
    • Expenses and payroll

Mobility policies and programs need to balance being customizable while still providing clear guidance. They need to mitigate risk as much as possible; yet, they also need to provide the business with a level of flexibility to meet their needs.  Most importantly, regularly assess mobility programs and stay attuned to the mobility landscape. This information will support mobility leaders and ensure mobility programs are compliant and adaptable to companies’ business needs.