Is Co-Sourcing the future of Expatriate Management?

With respect to the impact of the digital revolution on HR functions we wanted to focus here on the trend to have a co-sourcing organisation for the management of your expatriates.


For a start let’s summarise the main issues expatriate management. First of all, the business environment is certainly changing with a tougher stance on free movement of people (Brexit, US immigration rules) although the globalisation of the economy has never been so evident, impacting life for all of us. This struggle of Web versus wall – i.e. a fight between a future of communities (Web) versus a future of protectionism (Wall builders) is undoubtedly happening right now. Whatever the outcome, more than ever, corporations need to have a global talent management pool globally in phase with legal immigration. If we add a global tax quest for taxing corporations based on the actual geographical origin of the profits (BEPS) to an equal focus on expatriates and short term business travellers, this compliance item adds another level of complexity which is in turn further complicated by new legal requirements happening daily around the world. It is evident that no corporation can navigate this maze without outside support for external providers. There is also the talent management function, the need to prepare future executives, the need to create a company culture aimed at the long term while satisfying current business projects. Overall, there needs to be a synapse between the internal Mobility function and several external service providers.


This is where co-sourcing can help. So, what it is co-sourcing? Simply stated, It’s essentially a business arrangement where the work is done by both internal staff and external workers. The idea behind this is that the separation between the external provider providing solely a technical answer without the full understanding of the situation, culture of the client and the internal HR team is not as solid as before. Co-Sourcing providers like us at UniMobility completely integrate the business requirements and culture of our clients in proposing concrete solutions that actually work. The technical expertise is associated with the internal requirements. It drastically eases the work of the Internal team which needs to adapt the advice taking into consideration the real situation of the company. In order to do so, the external provider need to be more integrated into the company and thus the HR corporate team needs to be willing to do so. In a nutshell, the main advantage of Co-sourcing is based on developing a long-term relationship with a business partner. It emphasises traditional values of trust, excellent service and quality you’d normally associate with a partnership rather than a contracting arrangement.


So does this mean that Co-Sourcing needs to be used for all aspects of management of expatriates? Not necessarily. We could propose the following structure for example:


To conclude, we believe the challenges facing HR departments in appropriately managing the talent pool of their expatriates has becoming so technically complex while being so strategic to the growth of the company that a new holistic approach must be implemented where service providers integrate the actual reality of the company into their recommendation. For example, with respect to short term business travellers, not everyone can or wants to be fully compliant. The advice given becomes an internal recommendation which does not need to be adapted to the culture / actual situation of the company.


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