Digital Tools are Revolutionizing Assignee and Expat Management

It is not surprising that technologies that can cut through boundaries are beginning to play an important part in global mobility. Long before the internet became a household fixture, companies had been sending their best people to other countries as expatriates.

At the same time, they were recruiting the cream of the crop in foreign talents to have them share their best practices in the home office. Global mobility specialists play in the international arena, and it was only a matter of time before the digital revolution would catch up with them and transform the ways they did business.

According to GE Reports, the basic foundation for tech support is still the most familiar software that global mobility specialists use. Excel spreadsheets, databases, and intranet employee websites help them keep track of progress in recruitment, cost management, and talent development. This kind of software support system is almost non-negotiable for companies with human resource departments that deal on a regular basis with their counterparts based in other countries.

The next wave in digital transformation happened with online banking. Through the internet and the various tools that have money transfers secure, a global mobility specialist can now open a bank account for an assignee in the latter’s new country of employment.

Expatica says the whole process, with minimum requirement in documentation, can be done even before the assignee arrives in his new workplace. Global mobility specialists and their accountants are also spared the time-consuming task of sending salaries and other needed monies through international checks or wire transfers. Digital banking and payment platforms like Paypal can transmit the funds within minutes. The assignee can then immediately withdraw them from his online bank account.

The Forum Expatriate Management highlights communication as one aspect in global mobility management that has seen the most transformation. Screening and recruitment can be done through video or chat through platforms like Skype and Viber. This effectively eliminates the cost and time in sending a global mobility specialist to the country of the assignee just to do an interview. Social media is also the new “watercooler” where HR managers, executives, and global mobility specialists can converse with their assignees in private group discussions.

California Corporate Housing customizes its software to client needs.

Digital tools have also made the downtime of assignees more fun, exciting, and relaxing. Virtual assistants installed in their new accommodations can play their favorite music or read them their favorite electronic novel while they are having dinner or stretching out on the sofa. California Corporate Housing’s assignee tenants have found Amazon Echo in particular a great way to chill in their furnished apartments.

All these changes are just the tip of the iceberg. Analysts and tech gurus are anticipating more breakthroughs such as a cloud-based HR that will allow the global mobility specialist and the assignee to download on real-time important documents while they are in the middle of negotiations.

Apps can soon advise expatriate workers on the levels of safety, security, and health in the country they are about to visit. Company heads will be glad to hear of software that can calculate also on real-time the actual costs that go into hiring an assignee, from the first interview to his coming on board.

The tech curve may be a little steep when it comes to learning, but the journey that global mobility specialists will take in this digital ride promises to be rewarding.

Originally published at on February 21, 2017.