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Reward Strategy. Incoporating Payroll World.

How COVID-19 is affecting global mobility

As businesses look to expand and seek new opportunities across the globe, Reward Strategy finds out why payroll has a key part to play in successfully relocating employees.

'Payroll is at the heart of a successful relocation programme'
'Payroll is at the heart of a successful relocation programme'

Reward Strategy caught up with Ashley Phillips, head of account management UK for Western Union Business Solutions, and Geoff Davison, director of the Hessel Group, to find out how the global mobility industry has been impacted by COVID-19.


Reward Strategy (RS): What are some the biggest challenges global mobility professionals are currently facing?

Ashley Phillips (AP): “One of the biggest challenges is ensuring mobility managers and assignees remain connected at times like this, with clear visible planning and communication.


“COVID-19 has highlighted the sheer complexity of the global mobility function and therefore, the importance to digitize platforms and programmes to allow for better visibility.


Geoff Davison (GD): “Due to the rapid progression of the situation, one of the biggest challenges for companies has been employees being in the wrong place – creating issues with immigration, visas, tax and payroll.”


RS: Together with Hessel, what does Western Union Business Solutions offer the global mobility market?

AP: “Through our strategic alliance, we have a key focus on expense management and supporting businesses with global programmes to navigate international payments. Together we provide an end-to-end service for our clients.”


RS: Where would you say payroll sits in a successful employee relocation program?

AP: “Payroll, as with domestic employees, is arguably at the heart of a successful relocation programme. From research we know that a key driver for employee happiness is pay, so ensuring assignees are paid on-time and in full is vital for a positive assignee experience.”


GD: “When it comes to payroll, a big trend we are starting to see is more agile organisations looking at global payroll as a single event rather than a series of local events. This shift affects relocation programmes. Before technologies and processes change to accommodate this trend, a clear strategy for global payroll governance is needed so that in-country payrolls have proper guidance to ensure payments are made.”


RS: What does the future hold for global mobility and the movement of assignees?

AP: “In the current climate, there will no doubt be continuous change in what the future may hold. In the short-term, I believe we may see an increase in shorter/medium-term assignment programmes. There will also be an increased focus on existing programmes and the assignee experience, to continue to safeguard the individual.”


GD: “I believe there will be more focus on cost, compliance and data. COVID-19 has raised the profile of mobility within organisations, as more clarity has been cast on the complexities of relocation programmes. There could also be a rise in virtual assignments, meaning a shift in working hours rather than physically relocating an employee.”

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