Does This Org Chart Make My Global Mobility Program Look Big? 07.8.2021 | Laura Levenson

workforce mobility team

The uncertainty of conducting business in a Post-COVID world has led to a flurry of inquiries from our clients on issues that impact their companies’ bottom lines. Everything from best practices in remote work policies to cost of living subsidy thresholds to the right amount for a lump sum.

One rather courageous question to emerge in these times is: “What’s the right number of people on my internal team to support our Global Mobility program?” As you can imagine, it’s not only a difficult question to answer, but also one potentially loaded with significant impact on an organization’s human resources.

Like determining the right amount for a lump sum, there are a host of factors to be considered in formulating a response, such as move volume, number of policies, company industry, geographic scope, company structure, company culture, benefits offered…

Okay, you get the picture.

This is why, when pressed for an on-the-spot response, the general answer typically starts with “Well, that depends.” Still, our Advisory Services team loves a good research project, so we analyzed the mobility programs and corporate profiles of a healthy cross section of our client base. While the results did validate our general (non-) answer above, we also found some interesting correlations, like:

Fully outsourced programs require significantly fewer corporate resources than partially outsourced or in-house ones. Yes, this reads like an ad for Relocation Management Companies, and while it has long been a selling point for our industry’s services, it still rings true. Economies of scale allow us to provide support more efficiently, obtain preferred terms and rates, and develop deep expertise that our client can leverage. The added benefit of risk reduction through instant scalability has made outsourcing even more appealing during the human capital turbulence created by COVID-19.

Centrally structured programs, those with central ownership for Global Mobility AND centralized billing and payroll structure, tend to require fewer resources than decentralized ones. Even though the number of employees moved may be the same, companies with decentralized Global Mobility administration often have redundant positions across the various teams and/or centers of excellence which make leveraging economies of scale a challenge. Furthermore, areas like billing, for example, often require more resources to resolve internal accounting issues and questions. The old adage “practice makes perfect” applies here. If an Accounting team only receives one or two mobility related invoices a year, they are more likely to have issues processing payments than a centralized group that handles them regularly, simply due to lack of practice. Same goes for global payroll!

The services you decide to retain in-house can have a significant impact on the amount of staff you’ll need to support them. While there may be sound reasons to keep tax and compensation work in-house, be prepared to dedicate a LOT of resources to not only doing the work, but to keeping up with the training required to do it accurately and in compliance with tax and legal regulations. And, retaining any service that comes with supply chain management duties, like household goods moving and storage, is also typically resource-intensive to administer in-house. Plus, you could be inadvertently denying your company volume-based price breaks by contracting directly with suppliers.

Still not sure if your team is the right size to both support your program and align with your company’s cost objectives? Think you might be ready to make some changes? Weichert’s award winning experts are ready to help you evaluate your program from end-to-end to find and implement the solutions that are right for your company.

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Written by Laura Levenson


Laura Levenson is a Practice Leader in Weichert Workforce Mobility’s Advisory Services group. She has worked in management capacities for workforce mobility and Big Four firms, and is well-versed in bringing clarity to the most pressing global talent deployment challenges. She brings over 25 years of experience to her role and is a frequent speaker on the mobility conference circuit.

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