How Changes in the Modern Workforce Impact Mobility Programs
The priorities, values, and needs of the modern workforce have changed dramatically in the last 5-10 years along with a rapid change in technology and globalization of business. Accelerated by the pandemic and shifting perspectives in when and how companies do business, HR leaders are faced with new challenges and opportunities when it comes to shaping programs and implementing policy for their company’s current and prospective employees.
In order to shift with the needs of the workforce, mobility practitioners need to consider these trends and make key changes when implementing new mobility programs or aligning with other departments.
Remote work AKA “work from anywhere”
Though it may seem a practice motivated by a global health crisis, remote working was on the rise and poised to become a dominant mode of work before Covid-19 accelerated its progress. Technology advancements which were more widely adopted at the same time have influenced a new perspective in how the modern workforce can and may prefer to conduct business.
Not just considered “work from home” or “remote work” anymore, the modern workforce now expects to be able to “work from anywhere” so that even travel and a different flexibility of life can coexist with a work schedule. Even though many companies also have more flexibility with this model, there are many challenges to consider.
There was a time when mobility pros knew that domestic transfers were comparatively easy to track from a tax compliance perspective, but with remote and hybrid arrangements, working from different regions creates ambiguity around taxes owed and other regulations that must be adhered to, even more so in cross-border situations where immigration law comes into play. This lack of clarity on where people are can trigger corporate and income tax liabilities a mobility program might want to shy away from.
A successful mobility program will need to consider all the factors of working from “anywhere” as it relates to an employee’s compensation and a company’s tax and policy obligations. While this can potentially be an administrative nightmare, the right tech tools can help track where employees are and make sure everyone is compliant. That way your company has assurance that your widespread workforce isn’t a liability and those employees can be satisfied with their arrangements.
Working from anywhere is not without complications for the entire family on the move, as well. Considerations for supporting the partner of a transferee or assignee is also frequently discussed in mobility programs to address workforce demands. Traditionally known as the “trailing spouse,” the support of a partner and family of your employee has as much bearing on the overall success of a placement as the benefits package offered to the transferee or assignee themselves. In fact, the acceptance rate of an assignment will greatly hinge on the overall transaction making sense for both partners.
This goes beyond the cultural adjustments and considerations for a family of the past. Today’s workforce often expects both partners to find good work and receive quality benefits and transitional support in order to accept and succeed in a placement. Studies even show managing this partner support well can have a bearing on the retention of the assignees after they return from assignment.
As you well know, core-flex benefits are an ever-evolving piece of mobility programs that enable prospective hires or transferees/assignees the ability to decide what package works best for them and put the choice in the hands of the candidate. Core benefits are traditional benefits which are established by your organization and are fixed. Flex benefits, however, are a set of options which are customized to suit the individual, their assignment, and their unique situation and family life.
Flexible benefits have recently become more critical to candidates in the modern workforce as they value different things. Core-flex benefits could include options like a cash payment, lease cancellation, a home finding trip, and more. Flex benefits typically allow individuals to choose from a selection separate and distinct from “Core”, then allocated among each benefit within an established policy threshold to allow customization to their unique work and/or personal situation.
Though valuable from a candidate-attraction and employee retention perspective, core-flex programs can be difficult to track and administer. Some companies use complicated points systems to enable core-flex benefits selection, while others draft individual policies for each transferee or assignee, leading to jumbled documentation and a lack of confidence in value and compliance. However, a tool like Ineo’s TechSuite enables an HR director or mobility professional to support a core-flex model with ease, lightening the administrative burden of the program by seamlessly tracking all requirements and value based on the benefits selected and location of assignment.
Branding and talent recruitment
From a corporate branding perspective, mobility programs geared toward a modern workforce can help with talent acquisition. If you want your mobility policies to appeal to a diverse workforce, build tiered policy programs around different demographics.
For example, entry-level employees are often focused on career development and may prioritize international experience over money. An executive making a move, however, will need a different approach to providing the best balance of comfort and family support when going on assignment.
Developing mobility policy from the perspective of many divisions of your organization – human resources, talent acquisition, DEI, or legal – is a challenge and mobility as a team is just one piece of a much larger puzzle. To make a successful program top talent of the modern workforce will be drawn to, mobility practitioners should work with these teams often to make sure their strategies and programs are connected and aligned with the same goals.
As the modern workforce expands and considers transfers and assignments with new perspective following the Covid-19 pandemic, mobility programs should keep in mind their desire for a “work from anywhere” model, comprehensive support for their partner, core-flex benefits to suit them uniquely, and an integrated organizational model to make what’s offered in mobility be an enticing reflection of how the whole company operates in support of a candidate.
Without the right technology solution to make administering such a complex mobility program feasible, what can be a necessity for a modern candidate is an intimidating challenge for a mobility pro and HR director. At Ineo, we pride ourselves in providing robust technology to make the right moves for your organization seamlessly and transparently for both the practitioner and the candidate so your mobility program can adapt along with the modern workforce and into the new standards for mobility success.