By Alan Bell, VP of Technology at Equus.
In this edition of our special series on Global Mobility in 2020, we sit down with Sarah Yantifovich, Global Mobility Compliance Leader, with Cargill to discuss the key challenges and trends in the Global Mobility industry.
Sarah, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Tell us a little bit about the program you are managing.
SARAH: Cargill’s mobility program consists of 40 team members serving approximately 600 global assignments across more than 40 businesses and 65 countries, as well as 1,000 domestic relocations in North America annually. Having been in place for nearly 40 years, the mobility program at Cargill has transformed and evolved several times. Most recently, we have focused on establishing a more globally-consistent program and enhanced client experience, improved visibility and control of external spend, and increased efficiency. As such, over the past 3 years, we have implemented a new technology and vendor strategy, and centralized half of our internal team’s mobility work to a Cargill business service center in Bulgaria.
Considering the size and complexity of the program that you are leading, what are the issues that you are are most often requested to address by your stakeholders?
SARAH: I’d say the challenges we are most often faced with are cost, speed, quality and the need for flexibility.
Why do you think these issues are such a challenge for Global Mobility and what are you doing to address them?
SARAH: At Cargill, we have made tremendous strides in managing mobility program cost at a more strategic level, via policy, technology and vendor changes. We now have more consistent and controlled processes and experiences globally and we better leverage Cargill’s scale to source cost-competitive services.
In balance with cost efficiency, however, we’ve worked hard to maintain quality, especially during what we refer to as ‘moments that matter’ in the mobility experience for the business and employee. We’ve made sure to have strong processes and the correct levels of internal and/or external expertise engaged during these critical moments.
Additionally, speed and responsiveness are always in high demand. The business’ mobility needs often arise quickly, and managers and employees expect high levels of responsiveness and speedy service from mobility. We enable this through ongoing training and education for the team, clear and timely communication to employees and business partners, and strong collaboration between our internal team members and external service partners. We focus quite a bit on setting expectations when it comes to turn around time; particularly when timelines extend.
Finally, when moving families around the globe, requests for policy flexibility arise. We manage this by educating the business and employee where they do and do not have flexibility within the mobility policies. We’ve been rather successful with our approach in terms of the feedback we’ve received from our clients and the number of policy exceptions approved in recent years.
At Cargill, we aim to continuously improve service, compliance and efficiency, so we build upon these efforts year after year.
Do you feel that Global Mobility has a seat at the table when considering the overall HR and Talent strategy for your organization?
SARAH: Global Mobility certainly has a seat at the table when it comes to Cargill’s overall HR and Talent strategy. In support of Cargill’s growth strategies and efficiency targets, Global Mobility provides key insights on costs, timing, barriers and special considerations on mobility needs and succession plans for Cargill’s mobile employees to Cargill’s strategic talent leaders. Progress is also being made in measuring ROI for global assignments in coordination with overall talent management.
What types of metrics do you use to track the success of your Global Mobility initiatives?
SARAH: We measure employee and business satisfaction, overall and on individual program elements, via internal and external surveys. I’m proud to share that amidst the tremendous changes we’ve made in the past few years we are seeing an upward trend in overall satisfaction from our clients. We also monitor team caseload volume to ensure optimal responsiveness and team engagement. We have further metrics being used to assess and report cost savings, service delivery timing, vendor performance, and policy exceptions.
We are also working on metrics reporting accuracy of cost estimate to actual costs, and return on investment to the business.
What key trends are you tracking that may influence how you shape your program over the next few years?
SARAH: We are focused on user experience—we’re seeking the optimal blend of personal and digital support the team, assignees, managers and other stakeholders. Other trends we are tracking is the use of core/flex policy approaches and addressing new compliance requirements in immigration, tax, and data privacy.
Looking forward to 2020, describe for us what your Global Mobility looks like.
SARAH: By 2020, I anticipate that our mobility program will leverage technology to an even greater extent than we do today. We are currently working integration projects with Equus, our mobility software provider, as well as global HRIS, relocation, tax, immigration and international insurance providers. Over the next two years, I expect we will have made significant progress in this space, streamlining data flow and increasing data accuracy and service efficiency. We also expect to establish payroll integrations, particularly in our high volume locations. We will also have defined policies and processes in place to support Cargill’s foreign hires and over 25,000 global business travelers.
Ultimately, by continuing to move the above efforts forward, our team of internal and external mobility experts will be better positioned to serve Cargill’s mobility needs in a more consultative and strategic fashion. I look forward to continuing the journey!
Tell us a little bit about you and your background in Global Mobility.
My career in the mobility field began 15 years ago. Over the past 12 years at Cargill, I’ve had the opportunity to lead and contribute to many improvement initiatives in global mobility which has helped me build strong partnerships with my mobility teammates and strategic partners; inspire business leaders, talented employees and their families; as well as gain considerable exposure to the complex, exciting and growing global business that is Cargill. In my spare time, I love to travel, practice yoga, and spend lots of time outdoors camping, canoeing and hiking with family and friends.