How software can help to streamline global relocation

Younger workers are especially keen for global roles.

Instances of global relocation are on the rise, and organisations struggle to contain costs. A cloud-based system could help managers plan tasks and expenditure better, finds Cath Everett.

Brynne Herbert decided to set up her company Move Guides as a result of her personal experience.

Although originally from the US, she worked as an investment banker in Hong Kong, Singapore, India and finally the UK but found that “every time I moved, it was cumbersome and frustrating”.

So in 2011, she channelled this frustration and set up a company to automate the processes involved in global relocation.

“So the idea was born and I started looking at how to deal with the challenges for individuals moving around the world, and found that it’s an equally or greater challenge for HR to manage the process and for finance to pay for it,” Herbert said.

Employers around the world currently spend around $150 billion per year on global relocation – and the number of people on the move is expected to rise over the next few years.

A recent report by PWC found that three in five organisations felt they needed to improve the way that they managed staff relocation, while three-quarters of companies surveyed thought that their numbers of relocations would rise.

The report also predicted that while global relocation levels have increased by 25% over the last decade, they will jump a further 50% by 2020.

Containing costs

A survey for Move Guides traced similar issues, with the top problem being costs. Other challenges included dealing with compliance risks, reporting issues and managing complex workflows.

Herbert notes that there are three main reasons for increases in relocation, saying: “the first is employee demographics and the fact that millennials are very keen to get experience elsewhere, so projects in other offices, time in other countries and so on.

“The second is that doing business has become an increasingly global affair, which means that staff are being exported to different territories to help companies meet their business objectives.

“The third thing is raw talent shortages,” she adds. “So organisations are increasingly recruiting outside of their home market as they often cannot find the necessary talent to drive international expansion or hit headcount goals and so they look to move people for either short or long periods.”

Move Guides’ cloud-based system enables HR professionals to establish the costs of any given move based on established policies, then to authorise the relocation and select from a group of suitable vendors ranging from shipping and car rental companies to estate agents and coordinate their activity, before finally reporting on outcomes.

Herbert claims that admin costs for the average customer are reduced by about 30% in terms of the time and headcount involved in supporting global relocation.

“It’s a big objective among HR departments these days to make global mobility a more strategic part of the function, and to do that, you simply have to automate the business processes around admin,” she concludes.

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