Name: José María García Gordo
Position: International HR, Global Mobility, and Immigration Manager
Company: El Corte Inglés
El Corte Inglés, International HR, Global Mobility, and Immigration Manager (Spain): 2017 – Present
AIAL, Partner (Spain): 2018 – Present
IECISA, Senior HR Technician, Expatriate Management and Mobility Manager (Spain): 2011 – 2017
IECISA, Website Manager (Spain): 2009 – 2011
IECISA, Sales Manager (Spain): 2005 – 2009
Bank of America, Sales Manager (Spain): 2005 – 2005
Jazztel, Sales and Administration Manager (Spain): 2004 – 2005
Uni2, Billing Manager (Spain): 2002 – 2004
Fnac, Web Editor (Spain): 2000 – 2001
A: For me, business as usual at El Corte Inglés is to learn every day and deal with problems. Working with several countries in the course of my professional life, such as Argentina, Panama, Jamaica, Mexico, US, Costa Rica, Chile, Brazil, UK, Czech Republic and Senegal, allows me to see the real problems of our expatriates. When I was working in the sales area I learnt that the client is the most important asset of a company. Now, working in a HR Department, I am responsible for international staff and for their well-being. It’s important to keep track of our expatriates every day, find out their needs and wishes and, of course, to learn day-to-day about the law of other countries, keeping up to date with what happens in those countries, and speaking with their lawyers.
It’s very important to keep up to date with projects in those countries and to see a successful outcome, not only for the company but also for our expatriates. It’s important to work in a way that fits within the definition of what a team or business unit is tasked to perform, and that delivers on the overall business objectives of the organisation.
A: Enjoy your work, and work with colleagues as a team. It’s interesting work and very satisfying, speaking every day with your staff, looking after their well-being, listening to their problems and trying to resolve them. So too is working with ministries of foreign affairs, embassies and consulates and with official agencies, and assisting in the delivery of cross-border legal and operational services in connection with international assignments of employees. Also, being an active participant in additional global projects and initiatives, staying in touch with the head office and managers on the site in order to provide what they need, and giving due care and attention to employees faced by consultations, investigations and incidents at an international level. These things make me enjoy my work every day.
It’s very important to be aware of changes. I recommend that as a lawyer and as a global mobility expert you be a member of an association of global mobility experts like AIAL in Spain. As a member of AIAL I’m updated about changes with the congress of global mobility, and there are meetings where you can express your concerns. It’s very interesting to be a member of an association. AIAL is an association of experts in international global mobility that is the key organisation in the field of global mobility. It focuses on the interests and occupations of those that participate in international mobility and are already in the legal field (labour, fiscal, migratory, social security) as much as in the field of the international management of human resources.
A: Note that international time differences can make it very hard work. Working from Spain with countries such as Chile, Mexico or Jamaica - Latin American countries - means you are working 24 hours a day. You have to be aware of your mobile phone or our email all the time. Whenever a co-worker needs something like health care for him or for his family you must pay attention quickly.
A: The administrative process. I have to fight every day with ministries of foreign affairs, embassies and consulates, and go against the current or race the clock. I think is the primary thing hindering the global mobility industry's progress is the authorities' excessive bureaucracy and slowness in management procedures. Their methods are the real problem.
A: Good team working. It’s very important in this sector. Another point to note is the time limits set for transport of people, especially over long distance. Individuals may not object to inconvenient travel, but you must take into account other aspects like their families and well-being. Currently companies don’t really take this into account. They tend to focus on their own benefit.
A: Certainly, in international mobility you try to encourage economic well-being and to improve the quality of life of those who work and live in a country.
This is the reason why countries should improve their internal processes such as the facilitation of work permits and visas - it would benefit them and would help them the grow of their economies.
A: It is essential make a study of the country (economy, colleges, housing, etc.) before moving a person there. Few companies do it. You have to take into account that you must give them a good quality of life, so that the person travelling wants to move to another country. If you keep your staff happy in the destination country, your projects will go better. If you do not give them a good quality of life, you cannot expect them to be happy in a country they don’t know. Their well-being is very important for them and, of course, for company results. So, it’s very important to treat expatriates with care and affection.
A: Companies are evolving very quickly and as a result international projects are more numerous, and the need to meet deadlines at work makes it difficult to transfer personnel to other countries. It is very important to know any deadlines before moving staff. Many companies are unprepared for the transfer of staff to other countries, so there is a lot of work to do in training HR departments. Attracting talent is one of the major developments that I see. There should be a natural fit between global mobility and the attraction of talent. Mobility can foster attraction and retention, offering new opportunities for employees to develop their careers internationally.
Attracting talent is one of the major developments that I see. There should be a natural fit between global mobility and the attraction of talent. Mobility can foster attraction and retention, offering new opportunities for employees to develop their careers internationally.
This is quite professional and educating.