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The ECA and NN Group partnership

ECA and NN Group were shortlisted for the Best Vendor Partnership Award at the FEM EMEA Expatriate Management and Mobility Awards 2018 held in London on 9 November. 


Euros saved annually by the NN Group since transitioning to ECA

The nomination recognises how NN Group and ECA have worked in partnership to successfully transform NN’s international mobility function – from being fully outsourced to having a self-sufficient centre of expertise – within two years. 

The highly successful transition has resulted in an improved mobility programme at NN Group, ensuring better outcomes for assignees and providing a more streamlined and cost-efficient solution for the business, so far saving the company EUR 400,000 per annum. 


Following the divestiture from ING / IPO in 2014, NN Group’s international mobility function was nearly fully outsourced. NN’s provider acted as first point of contact with their assignees and managed the execution of the policies. As a consequence, there was a lack of ownership and control over the services provided at NN. The necessary alignment between the provider and NN led to inefficiencies in the process, and subsequently increased timescales and higher costs for NN. 

The International Mobility Department developed a whole new strategy for how they wanted their function to work at NN Group, aiming to create more expertise within the company, have less dependency on a third party and have more control over processes and quality of services. The team also looked to optimise cost-effectiveness and improve efficiency. 

Working with ECA 

Once ECA had been selected as the international mobility team’s vendor of choice for both data and software services, the two organisations worked collaboratively to find the best solutions for NN’s needs and ensure they met their aims. 

To ensure a smooth transition, ECA worked with NN Group on a gap analysis to review the impact switching from the old supplier’s data to ECA’s data for cost of living and daily allowances would have on assignees. ECA then supported NN Group in developing a clear policy and approach for managing expectations and communicating the change to assignees and other stakeholders in NN. During this process, ECA assisted NN with any questions from assignees or challenges that arose when implementing the new system.

NN Group and ECA worked together to configure ECA’s ECAEnterprise software to reflect the organisation’s new international mobility policies and to incorporate the pricing structures of existing service providers. Also, local NN pension calculation formulas were set up in the system, allowing immediate automatic calculation of pension costs to be included in the cost estimates. Alongside ECA’s data and tax calculator, this allowed the team to produce their own cost estimates, tax calculations and other assessments quickly through one, easy-to-manage system. 

As well as ensuring that all stakeholders were happy with the changes and that the new policies were communicated well, NN Group’s International Mobility Department had to adapt quickly to the reorganisation themselves to prevent a dip in service quality. ECA supported the team throughout the process, training them on the new data and software and ensuring that they were as well equipped as possible to make the leap to the new system. 


In less than two years, the new system has become completely embedded at NN Group, meeting all its initial aims and objectives. 

Apart from the substantial cost savings, the department can now provide more detailed and accurate cost estimations, tax calculations and employee assignment salary calculations, and is able to deliver them faster due to the use of ECAEnterprise software. The increased accuracy and clarity on costs allows the businesses to budget more accurately too. 

Some of the benefits of switching to ECA software have been:

  • Reduction of the minimum turnaround time for creating costings and assignment salary calculations from three days to one, allowing a faster reaction to urgent issues arising in the business
  • Ability to adjust costings and assignment salary calculations immediately 
  • Ability to provide immediate insight into the specifics of the tax calculations through ‘home tax’ and ‘host tax’ calculations on the ECA system 

Bringing this knowledge in-house has also empowered the international mobility team and given them new opportunities for growth and development within the company. Getting the basics in order, and gaining a clear licence to operate in the company, also allowed the department to expand its focus on more strategic projects in NN Group.

By moving away from outsourcing to handling all aspects of international mobility in-house, the international mobility department has been able to work more closely with assignees and fully understand their needs.  With the team now having more control over the quality of services and the processes involved, employee experience has improved, as demonstrated by higher employee approval ratings.

In addition, with access to more data from ECA, the team has also been able to quickly and pro-actively provide insight into relevant information about e.g. schooling, which has added value to NN’s provision for assignees with families. 

The cost savings are very significant and will continue long term, but the real benefits are the reliability of the system, the ownership and control of the knowledge, NN’s new policies, and the improvement in the quality of services to the stakeholders.”

- Miriam Valten - Head of International Mobility

The partnership between NN Group and ECA has resulted in a programme that not only optimises resources and costs for the organisation, but provides a clearer, more streamlined, and more supportive service to the company’s assignees. It has also enabled the International Mobility Department to take on new responsibilities and increase its value to the company.

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