The Covid-19 pandemic continues to push businesses to change the way they operate. In many cases it has driven the adoption of technology, with organisations now investigating how to benefit even more from embracing automation. Global Mobility teams are trying to find ways to reduce the amount of time they spend on repetitive tasks so they can focus on being a strategic advisor to the business and start spending more time on value-added measures. Whilst salary calculations and cost estimates are currently the most common forms of automation, as companies are rethinking their processes, one area of improvement to also consider is the generation and storage of assignment contracts or letters.
According to our Global Mobility Now Survey, almost 20% of companies have already automated the process of generating assignment documentation, with a further 22% planning to automate it in the future. Manually creating assignment contracts and letters can be a big administrative burden, particularly for companies with large numbers of international workers. The first requirements may even be to locate where the templates are saved and, more crucially, knowing which template to use. Companies may have multiple global mobility policies to cover the different assignment types they offer, with each policy having various addenda depending on, for example, the country of assignment, whether it is the employee’s first assignment, or exceptions to the policies. In many companies, these templates may not be centralised in one repository. They may be saved in various folders across the network or even in hard copies. Once the correct template has been located, manually completing it with the different variables - such as the employee details, assignment information and details of the salary offer – is a time-consuming process that can lead to errors. Imagine having spent time calculating the package and securing approval from the relevant parties, only to then be let down by a mistake made in the manual generation of the contract offer (and potentially even having the employee spot it). This would not only duplicate work for both the person who needs to correct the contract and the person checking it, but it could also have far-reaching consequences, such as impacting the company’s reputation.
Because of the legal validity of assignment letters and contracts, errors could end up being costly affairs in the long-term. This could also potentially be multiplied if errors have been made across several assignees. A recent example was an incorrect notice period being included in the contract, which went unnoticed by all parties before the contract was signed and the assignment started. The company was therefore under obligation to honour a one-month notice period which created uncertainty and additional workload for the employee, line manager, human resources departments and legal teams.
Once the contract has been produced correctly, which has been known to take days in some businesses, the next task is to safely store them and make them available for secure access and sharing. Just as the templates may not be centralised, the completed contracts may also be scattered across various locations, either intentionally or incorrectly. This not only creates frustration, as it can be time consuming to locate the documents, but with data security at the forefront of everyone’s minds, it is extremely important for companies to know where their highly sensitive documents are kept and ensure they are stored in a safe manner. This is where automating the generation of such contracts and letters and secure storage comes into play.
Automating document generation: what are the key benefits?
Less administration (and related, often hidden, costs) required
Quicker, more efficient and much more streamlined process
GM managers free up time that can be dedicated to value-added tasks
The manual aspect is removed, reducing potential errors
Compliance with IT security and data protection rules
Enabling an enhanced experience for both GM manager and assignee
Enhances experience for General Mobility managers and assignees through:
As part of ECA’s Assignment Management Software, ECAEnterprise, we provide a document generation and storage module available to both new and existing systems. Companies are able to store a wide range of templates in the system, from assignment contracts for short and long-term assignments with multiple addenda, even in various languages - thus resolving the problem of having different templates dispersed across a variety of locations. It may also be that a company offers a specific benefit for assignees going to a particular location. The system can therefore be programmed so that the relevant clause is incorporated into the assignee’s contract for that location, again saving valuable time for the user. ECAEnterprise automatically takes the data stored in the system for that employee – i.e. their name and personal details, where they are going on assignment, and compensation package details – to automatically populate the assignment contracts if required. This not only saves time searching for the details and manually typing them in, but also reduces the risk of error and of the necessary corrections to rectify it. Inevitably, the business will require exceptions to be made, so flexibility is built in to allow authorised users to tweak the templates for such cases.
Once the documents have been generated, they can be “locked”, meaning they cannot be changed unless a new document is created, this is to ensure the final document remains intact. They are then saved under each assignee’s profile so that they can easily be retrieved as well as being protected, given that access to the system is restricted for authorised personnel only, thus compliance with data security is maintained. In addition to the contracts or letters generated in the system, companies are able to also upload other document types such as copies of passports, visas, certificates, or any documents relevant to each assignee and their assignment (work permits, tax-related documents), all of which are safely stored under the individual’s profile.
The process of auto generating the documents can be done at the click of a button and can be taken a step further by having it incorporated into a workflow process with automatic alerts and notifications being issued to the relevant stakeholders through the system safely. The task owner is prompted to generate the document and another to approve it, for example, all without having to share the documents through a less secure method, such as email.
But it doesn’t stop there. Some companies have, or are working towards, portals for other stakeholders, such as host HR, vendors and providers, as well as for the assignees themselves. The sharing of the contracts generated in ECAEnterprise can therefore be incorporated within this functionality, allowing such sensitive documents to be shared with the relevant parties securely in the system rather than having to be sent individually through emails. Furthermore, there is the option of adding digital signatures to the system to again speed up the process of generating the documents.
FIND OUT MORE
Please contact us to speak to a member of our team directly.