July 5, 2024

Is There Truly a One-Stop Shop Solution for Global Mobility Services?

This is certainly not a new question. But it has taken on different meaning and importance, given the changing landscape of work and the interrelated economic and compliance risks. Defining exactly what a one-stop shop solution means will be different for every company. That’s why Sterling Lexicon and Deloitte co-hosted two virtual sessions to help global mobility (GM) leaders find the answers most applicable to them.

The focus was on three critical steps:

    • Assessing current business needs to determine where and what levels/types of external expertise make the most sense
    • Finding the best alliances to deliver that expertise
    • Securing stakeholder buy-in for the decisions

Daniel Halfpap, Sterling Lexicon’s Chief Commercial Officer, moderated conversations, audience polls and Q&A with Susanne Turner, L.L.M., Deloitte’s Partner, Global Employer Services – Immigration, and Michael Weiss, Director, Global Employer Services, Global Mobility Advisory and Operational Services with Deloitte. Each one brings decades of expertise in the talent mobility industry to the insights, observations and recommendations they shared.

Why This is an Important Question Right Now

Historically, a one-stop shop for employee relocation meant just that: a centralized, single source delivering most services, perhaps with a small number of key partners. Now, however, complexities around how, where and when we work and rapidly evolving geopolitical forces demand nuanced levels of knowledge and expertise that few, if any, companies can truly provide alone. In the past, tax, social security and immigration responsibilities may have been siloed.

Today, having managed through several global crises in recent years together, there is much closer communication through and with clients and service partners, facilitating quick and nimble responses. What also continues to evolve is the level of collaboration that service providers must engage in with each other for seamless, compliant and positive employee assignment experiences – regardless of what model or how many partners are used.

Audience feedback confirmed there is an appetite for exploring the value that can be gained by using the right blend of specialized providers, coordinated through a single point of ownership and accountability.

Clearly, eliminating multiple contracts, SLAs and KPIs helps companies gain efficiencies. There are undoubtedly several benefits to leveraging distinct types of expertise without having to administer multiple agreements with different terms and conditions. All three presenters noted, however, that in their experiences, even some companies that see the potential value of outsourcing to the new one-stop shop, or an organized consortium of providers, have hesitations.

They might be unsure about where to start, uneasy about relinquishing certain responsibilities currently handled internally, or perhaps a bit of both.

Step One: Assessing Business and Employee Needs

For every company, there is some level of reliance on external support to run at least one area of the business. IT, customer service or call centers, sales and marketing, website design or development and SEO, accounting and recruitment are just a few of the more commonly outsourced services. Global mobility leaders typically look to external expertise to help manage some of the compliance-related activities, such as immigration, tax, social security and payroll.

audience poll

Beyond that, some GM leaders may not realize what’s missing or what else to ask for. To identify where external mobility expertise could be most valuable, you should address your business and employee needs simultaneously. International experience is an attractive career and recruitment catalyst, but getting it right depends on each employee’s personal circumstances. It’s essential to invest time in this mapping exercise, keeping the focus on business needs and positive employee experiences.

Step 2: Exploring the Best Fit

Once you have a clear picture of your own business and talent mobility needs, and which outsourced services would deliver the most value to you and your employee population, the next step is to bring together potential providers to understand:

    • What areas of expertise they have
    • How they will collaborate with you and one another, avoiding overlap of services
    • How they will communicate with you, your mobile employees and each other
    • What technology solution will be deployed and how it will integrate with your own systems
    • What the values and cultures of each provider are, and how closely they align with each other’s and your own
    • How you will benefit – specifically what time or process administration efficiencies and/or cost savings your organization can gain
    • Who will be the ultimate owner/point of accountability

All presenters agreed that the right intersection of people, services and technology is critical to success, and all three play an equally important role. To make a one-stop shop model work in today’s environment, it is essential to conduct thorough preparation in advance to ensure interfaces, processes, compliance and synergies between all participants are working seamlessly. 

The more clearly defined the policy parameters are – as well as the roles and responsibilities of each member of the partnership – and the more collaboration there is between all parties, the better the
global mobility experience will be, for the employer and their people. A critical component of this stage is to define who the ultimate owner of the one-stop shop is, so there is a single point of accountability.

Step 3: Securing Buy-In from Key Stakeholders

So, if you’ve decided this new “one-stop shop 2.0” is right for you, how do you convince your leadership team to move ahead? This brings us to a question that has been debated for a long time: is global mobility seen as a strategic contributor to the business? Will your recommendations be given sincere consideration? Encouragingly, as our audience feedback confirms, progress continues to be made in this area, particularly as business leaders grapple with talent shortages and the increasingly complex workforce landscape. 

To develop different approaches to fill talent gaps and build leadership pipelines, GM teams and their partners should be considered consultative experts, advising on short- or long-term assignments, business travelers and commuters, local hires and permanent transfers. Turner and Weiss noted the direct correlation between the perception of strategic importance and the level of risk. For example, conversations around compliance with labor, immigration and tax laws are taken very seriously, but some of the so-called “softer services” associated with moves may be lower on the agenda when it comes to strategic planning. 

There is an opportunity for GM leaders to leverage the conversation around risk to show their value – and raise awareness about the importance of choosing the right blend of expertise to mitigate it.

Gaining stakeholder buy-in will also be easier if you can demonstrate efficiencies. It’s critical to know where your pain points are, what you and your team are spending the most time on and where costs or exception requests may be escalating. Once you have that data, you can demonstrate the possible time, administrative burden and cost savings of a coordinated one-stop shop compared to a more fragmented approach. Gaining insights from peers who have successfully integrated this model can also help you build your case.


There is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to outsourcing aspects of global mobility management. As the role of GM becomes increasingly complex and assignment types and international hires continue to evolve, however, there is a growing demand for the right knowledge and skillsets to meet each business’ unique needs.

As another audience poll demonstrates, the benefits of developing an ecosystem that brings all of that together is appreciated:

audience poll

Where the challenge may be is in knowing how to get started. One strategy could be to try it using a phased-in, incremental approach or limiting it to a particular region at first. The converging forces of ongoing labor shortages, evolutionary workforce models and the rapid integration of technological and human contributions to business mean the focus on talent is perhaps as strong now as it has ever been. 

Download Deloitte One Stop Shop


Kristin White

Kristin White

Kristin brings nearly 30 years of experience in global workforce mobility, PR, marketing, editorial planning and communications to her role as a member of the thought leadership and content development teams. Before joining the company in 2020, she worked for many years at Worldwide ERC® in collaboration with cross-departmental teams and industry stakeholders to develop in-person and virtual event programming, digital and print content, and served as editor of Mobility magazine. Contact Kristin at kristin.white@sterlinglexicon.com.

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