ECA International 2021 Insights


ECA is seeing companies adapt and change to survive and thrive in 2021 and beyond. 

  • Over 50% of companies plan to continue using virtual assignments post-pandemic
  • 20% of companies have increased or are planning to increase the use of technology in their global mobility (GM) programs as a result of the pandemic
Virtual assignments
  • Over 50% of companies plan to continue using virtual assignments post-pandemic
Virtual assignments, where companies fill overseas roles remotely rather than by relocating staff, have been one of the hottest topics of 2020. They are appealing as a cost-effective alternative to the traditional long-term assignment, and are effective in a travel-constrained world. However, there are challenges to be overcome. Very few companies had a virtual assignment policy in place prior to the pandemic. Now many GM teams find themselves tasked with implementing a concrete, competitive policy in circumstances that are still fluid.  The best of these policies combine what the employee is looking for – opportunities and flexibility with what companies need – engaged employees and the management of compliance risks, particularly around tax residency and permanent establishment laws.  It is a challenging balance to achieve. Clarifying why virtual assignments are offered and having executive buy-in are crucial for a successful virtual assignment policy. Technology
  • 20% of companies have increased or are planning to increase the use of technology in their GM programs as a result of the pandemic
As the pandemic set in and global mobility and travel teams scrambled to ensure they knew where in the world every assignee was, the ability to track assignees through technology suddenly became urgent. The implementation of new technology can take financial commitment and time, both of which initially seem at odds with many businesses’ priorities during a pandemic. However, companies are welcoming the improvements in productivity, assignee experience and cost management provided by technologies such as ECA’s Assignment Management System ECAEnterprise. With the disruption of the pandemic many companies are embracing advancements such as assignee-centric technology and automation, ranging from auto-populated salary calculations and cost estimatesto the generation and storage of assignment documentation. Mobility teams are concentrating their efforts on making the assignment process as smooth and exciting as possible for their assignees. It could be something as simple as the ability to track the stage of the assignment process, and seeing which steps are still ahead. Assignees are empowered when given the tools to be an active participant in the process at a time that is convenient for them. Automating the generation of assignment documentation is technology which enables GM teams to focus on higher value-add. 20% of companies have already automated these processes with a further 22% now planning implementation.  Key benefits of automating document generation are:
  • Less administration (and related, often hidden, costs) required
  • Quicker, more efficient and much more streamlined process
  • GM managers free up time that can be dedicated to value-added tasks
  • The manual aspect is removed, reducing potential errors
  • Compliance with IT security and data protection rules
  • Enabling an enhanced experience for both GM manager and assignee

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