Mobility Considerations in Emerging Markets

emerging markets, global economyAs the global economy expands, opportunities are being sought in places that bring a specific set of challenges to companies (particularly HR/mobility departments) who would like to expand into those emerging markets.

Finding the right employee(s)

Many of these emerging markets, while sustaining growing economies, are still quite a culture shift for employees used to the trapping of a developed region. These countries’ middle classes may be growing, but there is usually still profound poverty, political unrest, and personal danger.

This means that not every employee is equipped to take an assignment in one of these places. It takes a special person, with resilience and creativity, to make an assignment like that a success. Prior knowledge about the region is also a definitely plus.

Regulatory issues

Political instability, relative to the developed world, means regulations and tax codes can change more rapidly than most mobility departments are used to. This can have important effects for both the employee and your organization.

Local employment laws govern a considerable amount of an employee’s life at work, just as they do here. Run afoul of them and you’re looking at fines or even expulsion of the worker. Tax codes can also be more complicated, costing both you and your employee more than you bargained for.

What kind of assignment?

Many companies no longer favor the traditional multi-year overseas assignment, instead opting for something more palatable for both the company, the employee, and their family. This might mean a lot of commuting or shorter, project-based assignments. These kinds of arrangements are even more popular in emerging markets, where family services such as education may not be up to the standards of a parent in the developed world.

The type of assignment obviously goes a long way toward determining the compensation for the employee. What kinds of bonuses are available? What expenses will be covered? These are all critical considerations.

No one is an island

Even for the seasoned expat employee, the work in a developing country can be stressful and lonely. Every effort should be made to keep the employee connected to the home office in as many ways as possible. Modern technology makes this easier than ever.

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