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Moving an employee internationally will involve, on average, about a dozen vendors, including shipping companies, travel companies and real estate firms, experts say. One move of an employee and his or her family may involve payments to 15 different organizations or people, according to MOVE Guides, a cloud platform for talent mobility that conducted a study on this topic.
The process also will typically involve 10 people from a host of different departments within the relocated employee’s company, including finance, human resources and legal.
Experts say trying to keep track of everything can be a nightmare for HR professionals.
But using technology to organize it all may offer a solution.
Nearly 60 percent of companies in the MOVE Guides survey said their employee relocation programs could be more efficient if technology was used to manage them.
That’s because at most companies, many of the steps required to facilitate an employee’s relocation are fragmented among departments, making the process highly inefficient.
48th Annual Atlas Corporate Relocation Survey, the results of which were released earlier this year, nearly half (49 percent) of companies surveyed said employee relocation volumes increased in 2014. Atlas Van Lines is the flagship company of Atlas World Group, the second-largest carrier of household goods in the U.S.
What’s more, nearly 9 in 10 companies plan to increase the number of employees they relocate for work this year and next, according to
Moving People with Purpose, a 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey report of 193 U.S. and international companies. Yet, 31 percent of those companies said they didn’t know how many of their employees worked internationally each year, only 8 percent said they could accurately quantify the total costs of their mobility programs and only 8 percent said they had a sophisticated global mobility program, the PwC survey found.
The MOVE Guides survey of nearly two dozen companies—65 percent of which had more than 10,000 employees—indicated that more than 60 percent of the firms are currently reviewing their mobility programs or policies.
Technology can help improve mobility programs—a $150 billion industry—by
improving administration and workflow, compliance, and reporting as well. That means streamlining the process by reducing paperwork, eliminating or reducing approvals, supplying cost estimates and comparisons for shipping and housing, and providing a list of the best moving companies in each city.
Technology could also improve vendor management, the companies indicated.
Containing costs is the No. 1 issue for the firms, the MOVE Guides survey results indicated. Almost 65 percent of those surveyed said they struggle to estimate the costs to relocate employees.
“Relocating talent by leveraging the power of technology will be ever more crucial as the demand for mobility as a benefit continues to grow with a younger generation of workers,” said Brynne Herbert, CEO of MOVE Guides. Herbert said the company’s data also revealed that 9 in 10 Millennials expect to live and work abroad at some point in their lives.
“Attracting and deploying talent on a global scale will be critical to the 21st century company,” Herbert said. “The best talent is more committed than ever to take chances to broaden their life and work experiences.”
The MOVE Guides study included companies from the U.S. as well as Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Recently released, it was completed at the end of 2014. No margin of error was available, a spokesman said.
Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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