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What Global Mobility Can Learn From Trends in Compensation and Benefits

Just like Compensation and Benefits, Global Mobility is part of the larger Human Resources universe. They are interdependent and still, they can learn something from each other. This article places global mobility in the role of student: What can global mobility learn from the trends and developments in compensation and benefits? Which pieces of a good compensation and benefits policy lay a solid foundation for successful mobility practices?


Recent research has shown one trend to be clear in compensation and benefits: Employees are placing more and more value on their wellbeing in the workplace and they pay a lot of attention to it. Employees appreciate when the employer takes an active and accountable role in promoting their mental and physical wellbeing. This involves more than just the work place. Compensation and benefit trends are moving toward global mobility where people, by definition, are seen as whole and the employer’s duty of care in international situations automatically goes beyond the expat’s working role.

With benefits like pension, health insurance, cars and sports facilities, people need freedom of choice more than ever. They expect their employer to offer benefits according to their personal situation. They want customization that suits their life and age, region and county. The need for benefits in specific sectors can also vary greatly. We know from recent research that freedom of choice can help employees to achieve their life goals. When the employer also offers help and guidance in making those choices, then loyalty and commitment to the company can also be deepened.

How do you translate the general need for freedom of choice into benefits for employees who fall under the global mobility umbrella? One obvious solution seems to be a “lump sum”; the employer sets an amount which the expat can use towards benefits as he wishes. This seems like a great starting point for both parties; the employer knows exactly what the costs will be and the employee gets to choose freely.

But in an international application, complete freedom of choice can lead to unexpected consequences and risk. Every Global Mobility department must be aware of the practical and legal sanctions and restrictions of sending an employee out. There are much less familiar to the expat. Anyone who makes choices about benefits in a different environment will, consciously or unconsciously, rely on experiences from their home country. What is very clear in your own country can often lead to unexpected and undesirable results in an international context. Getting familiar with the oftentimes immense amount of possibilities can also lead to a long-term selection process that affects both the expat and the employee. Regardless of how much global mobility ties in with the trends in compensation and benefits, the welfare of the expat and their family will require extra help: Help to make the right choices with the support of a “friendly voice” out of their own organization that also understands the international context.