Policy reviews don’t tend to come as a complete surprise. As many Global Mobility professionals know the need for a review starts with a gentle murmur from the assignees and / or the business and the noise builds over time. Whilst the most comprehensive, detailed and expertly benchmarked policy review may have been undertaken just a couple of years ago, organisations and assignee expectations change.
The murmurs can start as a result of:
- changes in business strategy
- changes in type of business
- the organisation focussing on new markets
- a recent acquisition
- increased exceptions
So, you decide to block out some time to review the policies but where should you start?
Where the murmurings originated will determine where’s best to start. However, it is important to consult with all the stakeholders within your organisation during the policy review. These may include the HR Business Partners, Business Stream Line Managers, Talent Management, Finance (both from a payroll and accounts payable perspective), Reward, the GM team and, if you’re feeling brave enough, the assignees themselves! It is also important to review your recent exception list because if there are constant exceptions in one area, then it may be clear that a particular part of the policy is no longer fit for purpose.
During discussions at the recent Huddles there seems to be a growing understanding that one policy no longer fits all. For instance, there is a vast difference between the Baby Boomers and Millennials. The policies that have been more suited to the Baby Boomer generation with its traditional family structures may no longer be fit for purpose for the Millennial generation that are expecting a global career and look to change jobs more frequently. This could mean that any changes to policy will need to incorporate an increased number of career development or volunteer assignments.
Not only is the employee expectation changing but so is the contractual base, with an increase in the gig economy leading to more self-employed contractors within organisations. Careful consideration is needed when looking at a scaled down assignment policy for development, volunteers and contractor assignments. While there can be cost savings, there needs to be enough included in the policy to ensure enough support is given and the assignee and the organisation remain compliant. There should always be a set of core elements that address contractual elements as well as tax and immigration compliance.
In addition, some of the policy murmuring may have come about because of a lack of clear definitions. Therefore, the assignee or the business may have misinterpreted the policy. Clear definitions around dependents, spouse or partner, home country, host country, unaccompanied assignments etc are useful to have either at the start of the policy documents or as an appendix. Each policy element should also be clearly defined, as well as detailing any specifics that would not be included in that element (e.g. excluding antiques or wine collections in a shipping entitlement).
Finally, it is important that the policies are in line with the corporate culture, language and values.
Need inspiration and don’t want to feel like you’re reinventing the wheel? Why not check out the assignment policy templates on the Vault? Click here. Not a member yet? Why not speak to Tony to find out more about the Vault and all the other benefits Expat Academy membership has to offer.