Global Work Glossary

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Table of Contents

What is global mobility?

Why are global mobility functions important?

What are the functions of a global mobility department?

Who is in charge of global mobility functions?

What are global mobility functions

Global mobility functions are the operations within a company that help it support a global workforce. 

The critical global mobility functions include:

Global mobility functions are usually part of a company’s broader global mobility strategy

What is global mobility?

Global mobility has evolved from relocating employees to different countries to serve company objectives to a company’s ability to support a global workforce with personal travel and relocation wants and needs. Global mobility can dramatically improve the employee experience.

Why are global mobility functions important?

Global mobility functions help to expand your company’s market reach, increase talent acquisition and retention, and diversify your talent pool.  

Large and small companies are increasingly expanding outside their home countries to capitalize on the international market, promote their development, reach customers worldwide, and collaborate with partners. 

Many of these activities involve having the right team members in the right places. Companies rely on permanently relocating employees and assignees to another country as an expatriate for long-term or short-term international assignments, frequent business travel, and regular commutes to another host country. Alternatively, companies can hire international employees or contractors to work remotely in a new country or location.

HR teams can’t orchestrate these cross-border movements alone. They require global mobility functions to support talent management. 

What are the functions of a global mobility department?

Companies require the following functions to support talent mobility

Visa and immigration support

One of the most essential global mobility functions is helping your workers acquire the proper visa and immigration documentation.

Each country has its immigration policies with various levels of complexity and hoops to jump through. These policies can change anytime, so businesses must stay up to speed.

Tax, payroll, and compliance

Whether hiring from a global talent pool, supporting an employee relocation request to relocate to another country, or arranging an international assignment, organizations must consider potential international tax and compliance issues.

Understanding the various tax laws and social security schemes for the countries you operate in is essential. Failing to comply with local employment laws can lead to significant financial repercussions.

Some of the most common global compliance issues involve the following:

  • Tax withholding and payroll compliance
  • Permanent establishment risk
  • Deferred compensation
  • Foreign pension arrangements
  • Deductions for stock-based compensation
  • Social security and residency issues
  • Acquisitions and dispositions of business interests

However, these challenges shouldn’t deter you from global expansion. An employer of record (EOR) can provide you with the support you need. 

Relocation logistics

Assisting your workforce with global movements isn’t always as easy as buying a plane ticket. Often, they have a family, mortgages, and other commitments to consider. 

Mobile workers may require the following assistance during the relocation process:

  • Visa and immigration services for the spouse and employee’s dependents
  • Travel arrangements
  • Housing
  • Schooling
  • Transportation of household goods
  • Language development
  • Cross-cultural training
  • Financial support with reconciling forms, extension filings, and potential differences in the cost of living

Developing global mobility functions ensures you can cater to employee needs and help prepare and support them so they have a successful employee experience. It also relieves HR professionals of these administrative tasks. 

Global benefits administration 

Depending on where you relocate or hire employees determines the benefits that they’re entitled to by law. Different countries require different mandatory employee benefits; for example, in most European countries, full-time employees get paid vacation time. In the US, full-time employees must receive health insurance.  

Check out our global hiring guide for any country’s specific requirements. 

Again, an EOR is an excellent way to guarantee compliance while ensuring your mobile employees receive the necessary benefits.

Who is in charge of global mobility functions?

The human resources (HR) department is often in charge of global mobility functions. However, sometimes companies create a dedicated global mobility team to identify mobility challenges and initiatives and develop global mobility programs and policies.  

EORs like Deel provide HR mobility solutions to support your global expansion goals.

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