Workia Knowhow

Selecting a global mobility vendor: 5 key considerations

Choosing the right global mobility vendor is a crucial decision that can greatly impact the success of your team. Here are five essential factors to consider when selecting a global mobility vendor.

1. Cultural connectivity 


Every business is unique and global mobility programs are tailored to align with the specific needs and goals of their organisation. So it's important that your vendors are also selected to suit your organization.  Some are great at volume, some specialise in high-touch, some like to enforce process, others do not.

Assess the vendor's cultural fit for your company and employees.  Cultural connectivity between you and your vendor – that is, that they really understand how your business operates, the sort of people who work for you, and what you are trying to achieve in the global mobility space - is very important. 

2. Network, Quality and Fit 

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For most businesses, size isn’t everything when it comes to global mobility. Not all organisations require a vendor with a vast network, global reach and multi-disciplinary skills in out of the way places. Selecting the vendor that is strongest in the locations you need them is key.  Sometimes a more regionally focussed vendor can provide a service which better meets your needs for the bulk of your population.

Also important is ensuring that your key points of contact are in practical timezones for your vendor managers, helping to facilitate working together. 


• Bigger isn’t always better

3. Expertise


You are unlikely to have strong specialist needs for every service type, but you will for some. Here are some prompts:

Immigration - do you have a particularly tricky location that will drive your selection?  Or do you have a location with very high volume leading you to seek the vendor with the best price for that locale.

Tax - are you looking for simple transactional work, or do you need a vendor with experience and tools to handle complex cross-border equity calculations?  A vendor who is willing to provide you with a high degree of central coordination and benefits like global billing is going to charge differently to one who will expect you to interact with local teams directly.

Move management - are you looking for white glove service, or high volume?  Do you need a vendor who is cutthroat with their shipping costs, or are you more interested in their range and flexibility of destination services? 

That you should choose a Global Mobility provider with the expertise you need is almost stating the obvious, but it’s very easy to assume that all providers are the same. 


• Do they have clients with similar needs, can they provide a reference?
• Do they have experience to direct you to the questions you should have asked, rather than simply answering the ones you did ask?

4. Technology


A provider with a good suite of tech solutions will invariably demonstrate a smoothly run mobility process, with instant access to data and a high degree of self service. Take time to reflect on whether your business wants, needs or will use tech.  Vendor tech is great to help vendors do their jobs, but it is not always essential for how you do yours.  For example, working with a vendor to deliver a white glove service is less likely to require cutting edge tech.  Whereas a high volume transactional program would definitely benefit from end to end integration and automation.      


Try before you buy.  Most tech demos well, but it is not always the same when you use it.  So ask for trial access and spend 30 minutes clicking around.  The demo may have showed running a report, but can you run more reports, do they have what you need? Can you access everything you expect when you are taking the time to have a look.

5. Value


Value is, of course, not the same as cost. While procurement functions will invariably try to push supplier prices down, it is imperative that global mobility functions play a pivotal role in vendor selection. While it is essential to choose a vendor that provides transparent pricing and clear visibility into the costs associated with their services, the quality of these services, and whether they are what the business really needs, should ultimately be the determining factor. The intangibles of a provider’s service – their responsiveness, their cultural fit, their understanding of your business and your moves – are what will drive the success or failure of the engagement with them.  

So, while selecting a global mobility vendor involves a thorough evaluation of the real financial costs, it is a strategic decision that requires careful consideration of compliance, breadth and fit, and technology and culture. Above all, vendor selection should include an element of ‘feel’ – will it develop into a deep relationship with a trusted business advisor.  


• If fee quotes look too good to be true, they probably are!

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and may not reflect the opinions or views of Workia. Always seek professional advice based on actual circumstances before acting.

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