Time is a precious commodity in the world of Global Mobility (GM). A common problem we hear from many of our clients is that they never have enough of it; it’s taken up by too many repetitive, manual administrative tasks.
One of those tasks is the salary review round, which comes around at least once, often twice, a year, and will take up weeks or even months of a GM team’s time. Many of our clients implement pay reviews in January, and most of those with a manual process will be up to their necks in updating and reviewing packages for weeks before, simply because there are so many components of a package that potentially need updating at review.
If we think about a typical long-term assignment package, common factors to consider include notional home salary pay rises, changes in tax and social security rules, shifts in cost of living and exchange rates, and possibly updated allowances. Updating all of these components manually, calculation by calculation, is very labour intensive; even more so if the ratio of GM professionals to assignees is high. Beyond the time lost, companies find that errors are easily made, and assignees are likely to be informed about their new packages quite late in the day, giving them little to no time to understand the changes or ask questions before the new pay comes into effect. This doesn’t make for the smoothest assignee experience.
But, as many of our clients have discovered, it doesn’t have to be like this.
One of our clients cited an 85% reduction in the time it took to run their annual salary and bonus review after leveraging batch processing, and that human error had dropped to less than 1%.
Enter batch processing, a simple functionality built into our ECAEnterprise system. It is a type of automation that enables users to run mass updates by instructing the system once to run a task over and over for multiple instances. It can be employed in a variety of ways, but for most, the pay review process is where batch processing has proved truly indispensable. In just a few clicks, all (or a specific part) of the assignee population will have updated salary packages. Review calculations are created, new data pulled through, new home salaries uploaded, and calculation reports downloaded en masse. One of our clients cited an 85% reduction in the time it took to run their annual salary and bonus review after leveraging batch processing, and that human error dropped to less than 1%.
This is a world away from the days when companies did these tasks step by step, assignee by assignee. Now, they find that several weeks or even months’ worth of work is completed accurately in just a few minutes. Costly errors are all but eliminated. And GM teams can inform assignees about the changes to their packages earlier, allowing plenty of time to reassure them and address any concerns before the changes take effect.
Beyond pay reviews
There are many other transformative ways in which GM teams are leveraging batch processing, such as:
Managing exchange rate fluctuations
One way that companies protect their assignees from exchange rate fluctuations is through reconciliation payments. When assignees are paid 100% in home or host currency, they remit some of their pay into the other currency each month. GM calculate whether currency shifts have caused assignees to lose out in any months and reimburse assignees for the total shortfall once or twice a year. The major downside of this approach is how laborious it is to run these calculations month by month for numerous assignees. Unsurprisingly, we’ve seen clients struggle to keep up with their reconciliation calculations, leaving assignees out of pocket and unhappy for longer. With batch processing, they now calculate the monthly shortfall using the monthly exchange rates for all (or a specific section) of their assignee population in a very short time. Again, a typically time-consuming affair has been turned into a simple and time-efficient task.
It can be a huge challenge to know what the impact of changing certain pay components would be on your population and GM programme. The vast number of calculations involved means companies have faced changing mobility allowances, for example, or cost of living index types blindly, without knowing the consequences until implementation. Companies that adopted batch processing functionality to run the policy change scenarios found that they could calculate and analyse the impact of a policy change – for overall cost implications and individual cases – during the policy review. This was a huge strategic advantage and meant decisions were well informed, revisions could be made and costly mistakes avoided.
Creating a high volume of documents and reports is another area where many mobility teams face time-consuming, error-prone work, but together with ECAEnterprise’s document generation functionality, batch processing is used by our clients to create reports and documents for all of their employees (or for a specific subset of them) all at once. For example, we’ve seen cases where a company’s policy change results in changes to all employees’ packages under that policy type. Manually updating all of the necessary assignment letters would be a huge, painstaking task and comes with the risk of errors in what are legally binding documents. Fortunately, companies with batch processing and document generation capability in their system have only needed to tweak the assignment letter template, and then simply batch generate all of the new assignment letters in one click. With advanced systems those letters can even be distributed to the assignees directly.
Long overlooked and underappreciated, batch processing – an unsung hero within ECAEnterprise – has proven its worth. Over the years, our clients have turned to this hidden gem, experiencing significant time savings and a remarkable reduction in errors, particularly in crucial processes like salary and policy reviews. Embracing batch processing has empowered organisations to redirect their focus from labour-intensive tasks to more strategic and assignee-centric responsibilities, and the results speak for themselves.
FIND OUT MORE
Please contact us to speak to a member of our team directly.
If you already have ECAEnterprise and are interested in learning more about adding the batch processing functionality, contact your account manager and they will arrange the next steps. Are you and your team not yet using ECAEnterprise? Get in touch to learn more about it! The batch processing functionality is one of countless features that our Assignment Management System has to offer.