How can AI support the global mobility function?

14 September 2023

Artificial Intelligence is a powerful technology that can be used to optimise process, enhance services and leverage productivity within a business. The launch of ChatGPT at the end of 2022 brought Generative Artificial Intelligence to the handsets and computers of business leaders and the public. Despite AI existing since the 1950s, a combination of advances in computing technology, software development and digital skills in society is accelerating is accelerating awareness today. 

Boards are considering the impact of these technologies on their businesses as they have a transformative impact on society. For many global businesses, this includes impact and opportunities within the global mobility function.

Artificial Intelligence is a ChatGPT, Bard and Generative Artificial Intelligence.

Generative Artificial Intelligence is a form of AI to create, or generate, an output. For example, ChatGPT is trained on huge amounts of text data to produce a chat-bot response that is astonishingly humanlike. Image creation tools such as Adobe Firefly can be used to take your simple selfie and transport you to Jupiter. For more on this please see our series on the Generative AI revolution.

2023 has seen a wide range of Generative AI tools hit the market, increasing awareness and excitement about AI use within society and the business world.

AI in the Global Mobility function

Global mobility functions need to deal with complex and dynamic challenges such as immigration, tax, compliance, cultural adaptation, talent management, and more. In addition, global mobility teams manage and hold huge volumes of data. There are therefore a number of areas that AI could be used.

- AI tools are great at repetitive, data driven tasks. They can be used to automate and streamline administrative tasks such as data entry, document processing, expense reporting, and payroll. AI software is fast and effective. Using these tools for repetitive tasks can reduce errors, save time, and improve efficiency. Many global mobility teams have considered or used AI for data, Alteryx for example is often used for more basic tasks such as data manipulation.

-Generative AI tools can be used to create key documents and outputs. They be trained on company data such as employee handbook, contracts and agreements and then used to create the contracts required as part of the global mobility. This might extend to drafting agreements between the company and the employee outlining the terms of their overseas secondment or the conditions attached to relocation expense packages. 

- AI can enhance the employee experience and satisfaction by providing personalised and timely support throughout the relocation journey. AI can offer chatbots, virtual assistants, or digital platforms that can answer questions, provide information, and resolve issues 24/7. AI use natural language processing and sentiment analysis to understand the emotions and needs of the employees and provide empathetic and tailored responses.

- Soon, sophisticated AI tools could be used to analyse the company data to provide recommendations and insights based on data analysis and machine learning. For example, AI can suggest the best relocation package, tax strategy, or assignment duration for each employee based on their profile, preferences, and goals. The challenge with this use of AI at the moment is for many organisations the data is unstructured in the organisation – for example an employee’s career aspirations will exist across a bank of emails, meeting notes and appraisal documents. 

A challenge for businesses today is to think about how they structure, store and reference their data so it can be better leveraged in a future where it will undoubtedly AI drive technologies in the business.

The challenges of using AI

Any user of ChatGPT or its competitors can see the clear potential of these tools. One of the initial challenges identified and debated is how convincingly wrong the tool can be when it creates fictional information (often called a hallucination) or simply makes errors. For this reason – AI generated outputs should still be carefully reviewed. Increasingly these tools are being debated as assistants to the workforce as opposed to replacement. When AI is being used, the outputs should still be carefully reviewed to ensure that the outputs have been reviewed.

Many businesses need time to plan their approach on adopting AI within the business. Whilst some businesses have developed their own tools, many are licensing AI technologies from third parties which can then be adapted and used within the business. 

A warning to businesses here that employees should be careful to not put confidential information into tools that exist outside of the approved business technology stack. For this reason it is important to have a clear policy within the business and team on use of AI especially if you are encouraging experimentation and innovation within the business.  For many in the workforce, ChatGPT and other free to use tools provides near term efficiencies – for example drafting emails or researching overseas tax rates or rules. But businesses must be clear with employees that the spirit of innovation should not at a cost of compromising the businesses data. This is particularly true in the global mobility function where there are huge amounts of personal data and information.

Cultivating a spirit of innovation within the business can be important. Innovation is often linked to use of new technology and many employees are excited about the use of AI. Others hold concerns about how it may impact their job role. The communication of the AI policy is an opportunity to provide insight into the company strategy, seeking input and boosting engagement. 

If you want to talk about the adoption of AI in your business, please contact Joanne Webber or Ben Bilsland.