Global Mobility Trends in Asia | Part three: Personalised, tailored, & cost-efficient programmes

In this final post of our series on Asian mobility trends, we will explore how companies endeavour to balance costs with delivering employees with a personalised relocation experience to maximise their engagement and connection with their next career journey.

Mobilising employees and their family unit internationally will often require investment in financial support to facilitate uplifting their lives in one country and establish roots in another. From our own annual Santa Fe Global Mobility Survey[i] and local Asian experience, we observe more use of one-way relocations, permanent transfers, foreign local hires and local plus packages, as organisations become more selective in their use of ‘full package’ international assignments. This reflects a strong business focus on Return on Investment (ROI) from their international people investment and with the current economic background, we expect this trend to continue.

To fully determine ROI, requests for mobility cost estimates are becoming increasingly popular and yet based on our own client interactions, are often challenging to deliver and rather time consuming to manage internally. HR professionals have the flexibility to explore cost estimates as an activity done in-company or to collaborate with their external mobility provider to provide valuable data on forecast cost estimates versus actual costs or as part of an integrated mobility programme.  In an integrated mobility programme, HR teams’ can be to ensure the see the whole investment picture (cost versus goals and objectives achievement) to be able to validate with business owners that are obtaining real value from the mobility investment and critically, to audit projected cost versus actual, where they have empowered local markets to manage mobility processes.

Generally, both growth mode and mature organisations seek to constantly test their market competitiveness to ensure they offer the right level of benefits and allowances to relocating employees, or simply want to benchmark what others do and know where they stand – are they giving attractive benefits? Are they being too generous? Global Relocation Companies can deliver benchmarking projects, which can be scaled to the scope and scale of the organisation’s requirements.  Whilst pro-active Account Service Managers at Relocation companies can share informal market practices amongst their client portfolio, business leadership are more likely agree to recommended policy revisions (and likely more financial investment) where HR or Mobility have undertaken a formal, fee-based project with documented findings and high-level report.

Within Asia, those requests are frequently becoming commonplace; covering benefits and policies, overall programme design, total programme cost analysis and advice on technology options in conjunction with future looking service delivery models. Consultancy firms and relocation companies with Consultancy capability can provide useful insights to understand what is happening overall and make sure the right decisions are taken.

In Asia specifically, select global relocation providers (including Santa Fe Relocation) have regional Global Mobility centres of expertise (CoEs) which enables organisations to understand their Asian mobility marketplace and where applicable, tap into their knowledge in their other regional service centres in EMEA and The Americas. For Asian headquartered organisations who are increasingly becoming exporters of Asian talent into new markets across the globe, this global, regional, local knowledge platform is hugely valuable in protecting their investment in sending their best people to protect their interests on foreign soil.

Equally, as Asian multinationals evolve their programmes, the use of cash-based lump sum programmes and leaving the employee to loosely make their own arrangements is likely to become less agile, especially for long-term assignments. Money becomes a secondary factor, and where employees or their families fail to adjust to life in a new culture, the ROI diminishes, and the cost of talent acquisition and retention exceeds the investment into a well-managed mobility programme.

The key factor, whether it is a lump-sum programme or managed benefits programme is to have sufficient flexibility to tailor the mobility support to each employee’s needs. In some circumstances, especially for savvy, seasoned international workers, employers can empower internationally mobile employees via lump sum/self-service type programmes. It enables organisations to have a clear financial investment budget and through use of nominated supply-chain, they remain in control, compliant, while at the same time, allowing employees to choose non-mandatory that are most important for them, contributing to their satisfaction and ultimately, retention. Happy and productive employees, happy employers, everybody wins.

Discover this series: 


Related resources:

Santa Fe Global Mobility Survey 2019; REVISION: Mobility through the looking glass – a survey of 703 global mobility professionals, 53 business leaders and interviews with Global HR Directors between January and February 2019

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