Automation Can Reduce Global Mobility Costs but Upskill Workers, Too 

The mere mention of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation makes global mobility managers and human resource leaders anxious. They fear that these latest innovations will replace them or make them redundant. One constant argument is that their own managers and executives, who write their checks, will prefer these machines over them because they can reduce a lot of operating costs. 

That is an argument that is hard to refute, as the latest reports do have business owners saying they significantly lowered their expenses when they went the way of AI. But that’s only one side to the story. Here’s the other: machines do offer this advantage — but sans the threat of slashing human employment figures.

In using an AI and its related software tools, FIDI cites how one financial company streamlined its global mobility operations and significantly slashed their related costs. 

Calculations of assignees’ compensation packages and perks and then aligning them with the current and future foreign exchange rates were usually completed in hours; AI did it in seconds. It also removed 16 hours of manpower work that a global mobility manager devoted to creating a work outline and pipeline for each assignee; for example, if a manager allotted 48 hours per assignee in a week, AI cut them down to 22. The global mobility manager saved $1,000 per assignee.

Now here’s where the usual anxiety attacks can also be allayed. There is no report of the global mobility manager being replaced by an AI. nor are there about their assignees. What this cost reduction effectively does, though, is free more resources, funding, and time for both manager and assignee in order for them to perform better. 

With that extra $1,000, the manager might be able to give a perk to the assignee to increase their motivation and finally approve the purchase of needed but costly equipment that they had been asking for.

Another argument that can be made to support the role of AI in global mobility management is that it can actually help upskill and retrain assignees and make them more competitive — even more data-oriented than other workers. 

One thing that all of us are beginning to realize in this digital society is that learning is lifelong. Regardless of how many degrees one has attained or how high the executive position they have reached, one does not simply stop learning. The continual advances in technology today threaten to make any current knowledge or skill we have redundant by tomorrow.

Deloitte points out that digital learning tools provide training courses to assignees always on-the-go, shattering limitations of physical boundaries and at costs lower than that paid for human trainers. 

The AI that runs these platforms monitors each assignee’s performance, rates their skills, suggests modules for further improvement, and can help them plan their career path. AI actually enhances the value of human capital in this instance, and not replace it.

AI, automation, and machine learning are brave new frontiers that all of us still have to explore. But our results can be more productive and perhaps groundbreaking if we start to regard them as allies, and not as adversaries, in our path to global mobility management. It’s a page we can borrow from the gurus of Silicon Valley.