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Lack of accurate data threatens to undermine performance of global business' talent and mobility programs

INTERNATIONAL. Inadequate data on workforce mobility is placing firms under increasing pressure as they struggle to deploy global human resource strategies, contain costs and comply with the demands of cross-border regulatory obligations. This is according to EY’s 2015-16 Global Mobility Effectiveness Survey, which provides insights from more than 200 professionals across 35 jurisdictions and 13 industry sectors.

The report finds that poor data capture and poor analytics is impacting firms’ ability to meet the challenges of an increasingly globalized marketplace, for which putting the right people in the right places at the right time is essential for operating effectively and profitably. More than half (52%) of survey respondents said they don’t have access to the data necessary to bring greater insight into their mobility programs.

Kevin Cornelius, EY’s EMEIA Mobility Services Leader, says: “Data and analytics can help businesses standardize processes, improve compliance, identify inefficiencies and manage the risks associated with workforce mobility. They are also essential to correlate mobility policy success with drivers for future planning. However, companies must address the gulf that exists between the data that’s available to them and their ability to mine the data that they actually need.”

Resourcing magnifies this issue for many businesses whose mobility responsibilities are handled alongside primary day-to-day tasks such as payroll, tax, remuneration or generalized human resources functions. Almost half (49%) of respondents felt that their workforce mobility functions were understaffed.

Successful mobility programs must flex with regulation

Recommendations under the OECD’s base erosion profit shifting (BEPS) initiative will require companies to be more transparent and provide more data about the mobile workforce.

With BEPS reporting at front of mind, those organizations that don’t have policies and procedures to mitigate short-term business traveler risk will be required to give this urgent attention. Seventy-six percent of respondents stated that they either have a formal policy in place to manage short-term business travelers or intend to implement one.

Poor tracking can inhibit the success of international assignments

The BEPS initiative has highlighted the notion of permanent establishment (PE) and business travelers operating outside formal expatriate assignment policies are increasingly at risk of creating unintended tax obligations. Additionally, BEPS will impact intangible business assets, such as intellectual property, which will prompt a range of potential impacts.

Analyzing and aggregating disparate data that connects risk factors in respect of taxation, social security and visa compliance can reveal important trends and patterns as well as aid businesses in addressing regulatory obligations. Despite this, 72% of respondents indicated that they are not tracking the success of their international assignments.

Cornelius says: “Mobility programs are under unprecedented levels of pressure to deliver value and they need to flex more than ever with the changing regulatory landscapes. Companies will need to upgrade mobility controls; establish and embed sustainable methodologies; source the right data; and up skill significantly.”

Photo Caption: Kevin Cornelius, EY’s EMEIA Mobility Services Leader

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for or clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

About EY’s People Advisory Services
As the world continues to be impacted by globalization, demographics, technology, innovation and regulation, organizations are under pressure to adapt quickly and build agile people cultures that respond to these disruptive forces. EY People Advisory Services believes a better working world is helping our clients harness their people agenda — the right people, with the right capabilities, in the right place, for the right cost, doing the right things.

We work globally and collaborate to bring you professional teams to address complex issues relating to organization transformation, end-to- end employee life cycles, effective talent deployment and mobility, gaining value from evolving and virtual workforces, and the changing role of HR in support of business strategy. Our EY professionals ask better questions and work with clients to create holistic, innovative answers that deliver quality results.

About the survey
EY’s Global Mobility Effectiveness Survey was conducted online between July 2015 and August 2015. Respondents included more than 200 representatives from organizations in 35 jurisdictions and more than 13 industry sectors.

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