Spreadsheets aren’t a global mobility solution. Unfortunately, many companies are forced to rely near-exclusively on them for managing their mobility programs.
You might be surprised how often spreadsheets outgrow their own usefulness and become a problem for their users. What served your department or organization well in the beginning may now be actively hampering your progress. Spreadsheets are awesome...when used for the right projects.
Here’s a list of our favorite spreadsheet uses and hacks--none of which involve global mobility issues.
Track your favorite sports teams.
Keep track of wins, player stats, travel dates and more--just don’t track your employees with it.
Perhaps your team began using spreadsheets to track five or six global workers, and now you’re inputting data for dozens or hundreds of people. Spreadsheets are difficult to use for managing personal data for a number of reasons.
Managing your data using a global mobility management suite is much easier than using a spreadsheet because you’re able to securely manage every part of your workers’ mobility processes. Adding more people no longer means creating an endless number of new rows and columns on a list.
Plan your niece’s birthday party.
Your 10-year-old niece’s friends, favorite things and favorite foods can all have their own rows and columns. But assignment management? Nope.
Maybe if you’re planning a party, spreadsheets make the work more manageable. But assignment management within a spreadsheet just means a ton of wrangling spreadsheets and doing redundant activities to get your spreadsheet to work appropriately.
Instead of doing something redundant, using global mobility software allows you to fill out forms once. Your data is safely stored and usable later so you don’t have to repeat the same online forms.
Make a budget for your hobby business.
Don’t use it for...cost estimates.
Managing money in a spreadsheet quickly becomes a real challenge for big operations. Say you want to pull something from a list tracking employee expenditures that you put together with data manually copied from somewhere else. So you pull up your spreadsheet and try to cobble that data into something you can compare with actual spending.
Or, you use mobility software that keeps estimates and actual spending totals together. If something sticks out as unusual, the system even flags these expenses for review later.
Sort your grocery list by meal, item cost, or store.
And skip the spreadsheet for vendor management.
Manage every part of the mobility process in spreadsheets, and be doing all of your reporting manually - imagine that headache during year end payroll You’ll have to keep a closer eye on what’s happening to prevent problems. For one thing, how will you watch for evidence of scope creep in a spreadsheet?
Instead, try a system that allows instant, configurable reports that help you stay on track. Customizable reporting, live dashboards and other key metrics are available whenever you need them. You don’t have to wait for a reporting cycle to finish before accessing your data.
Share your shopping list spreadsheet with the family--or don’t.
But don’t count on spreadsheets to protect data integrity.
HR, program management, and cost control data is simply too important to throw into a spreadsheet. Storing spreadsheets in the cloud and emailing them back-and-forth are both outdated techniques that place your company’s information in the hands of someone else--alongside less valuable data and where the security risks are greater.
Show your kid how to use a spreadsheet to gather facts about a country for their geography report.
Don’t bother tracking visa and immigration status in a spreadsheet form.
Spreadsheets require constant updates, most of which have to be manually-done. If your organization needs to keep track of any information that changes regularly, such as immigration data, you’ll be devoting a lot of time to updates.
Use an end-to-end global mobility management solution that incorporates all your employees’ immigration data and you won’t spend any time manually tracking who can go where.
Looking for other ways to improve you global mobility program? Sign up for our free, no obligation Mobility Process Assessment. Learn more here.
About the author
Sean is Topia's Sr. Marketing Manager and a certified Global Mobility Specialist.