Name: Jeroen Brakenhoff
Company: Global Mobility Nomad
Global Mobility Nomad, Owner (Netherlands): 2015 – Present
Deloitte, Senior Consultant, International Mobility and Transformation (Netherlands): 2013 – 2015
Unilever, Human Resources Global Mobility Consultant (Netherlands): 2005 – 2012
UWV, Social security legal advisor (Netherlands): 2000 – 2004
Municipality Vlaardingen, Internship (Netherlands): 1999 – 2000
A: I rolled into it by accident, I was asked to provide administrative support for a due diligence project. I really like to organize, give structure and global mobility is the perfect environment because of the variety and complexity of topics. I saw so many new things, and that really interested me as I learned an extreme amount in very short time. I got the chance to become an expat consultant (retained resource) and from there on I further developed myself. I really like interacting with people from different countries. These are the main reasons why global mobility still inspires me every day.
A: Building a resume and good references was one thing, but when you become independent entrepreneur, you are completely on your own and it all depends on yourself. I admit that it is difficult as a small company to get a foot on the ground in the world of global mobility, as often big names are the main players in the business. I am proud that I am about to celebrate my three-year anniversary as an independent entrepreneur and successfully delivering projects for the biggest companies in the business. From the start I did everything on my own and I am far from giving up – disappointments only make me stronger but sometimes you just need some help.
A: That often companies are not aware of the (financial) improvements they can achieve from the process and organizational point of view. It is exciting to dive into this and seek support for improvements. When I am consulted for support on the operational inbound / outbound admin and co-ordinator role or take over an entire expat admin as preferred supplier, I always ask if I can first do a quick scan of the policies, templates, processes and give recommendations for improvement. I know exactly where to look. This can take a few weeks but is always worth the investment. Over the years I have developed a certain toolkit to do this in a very efficient way which is also transparent for the client. Until now my clients have acknowledged the recommendations and given me green light to implement them. With this, the global mobility model will run more smoothly and we save so much time. The operational day to day business becomes much more efficient and pleasant to work with – also for myself.
A: The increasing complexity of worldwide legislation (tax, social security, immigration) and staying compliant with it.
Q: What do you think is the primary thing hindering the global mobility industry's progress?
A: Immigration, tax and social security (the topics that are under governmental control and not under your own) combined with more assignments in shorter time.
Q: What kind of tech or software would you suggest for global mobility processing?
A: My own; I have the blueprints in my head but I am not able to do anything with a computer other than using windows; my IT skills are more than poor! So maybe one day it will become reality, but I’d need help on that.
A: I see many developments in software solutions which can really help. Legacy data migration to the new software however is not always secured, so in the end you are still working with two or even three separate (Excel) administrations. Also, within many companies it is not possible to realize a worldwide implementation and get people aligned. So, there is plenty of space for improvement here.
A: A growing number of short term assignments and frequent business travellers need better assessment, awareness and gatekeeper tooling without having to invest in expensive software solutions. I think many companies risk liability issues because a big part of the population is moving outside the radar of global mobility. It is a grey area and a growing concern in my opinion.
A: Many companies choose to outsource their entire human resources shared services to external providers. Global mobility is often considered part of it, but the complexity is underestimated and the outsourcing process may become a frustrating and expensive exercise. This can be quite surprising, since the purpose of outsourcing should be to save costs. Also, the importance of a retained resource within the company is often recognized too late when all the experienced people are gone or at home with a burnout.
I would never say that outsourcing should not be done; instead, I think it is mostly about proper knowledge transfer and securing clear service level agreements. Working with an efficient and standardized global mobility model, ‘blueprinting’ your global mobility model first before handing it over, is key in this. Strange enough, I see the same thing happening all the time – businesses asking for advice from a specialized consultant with both operational experience and strategic skills when decisions have already been taken. It’s like calling the firefighters when the house has already burned down. It’s always going to be better to invest in making the house fire-proof upfront and involve a specialized consultant.
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