Global mobility in a Changed Worldduguech
Global mobility has changed radically in the last 20 years. From 1970 to 1990, the global mobility landscape was dominated by oil and gas companies sending employees to less economically developed countries for long-term assignments of 2-5 years. Today, global mobility has become a cross-industry, cross-category phenomenon. In their Modern Mobility Survey, PWC predicted that 2020 would see a 50% increase in mobile employees over 2014 levels. Many companies have their headquarters in one country and multiple offices globally; some don’t actually have a headquarters and are truly multinational organizations.
What’s more, employees are more connected than ever before. Technology provides a seamless connection to the workplace, whether at home or overseas. Global travel has become a perk, not a necessary evil of the job. Data is shared more efficiently; telecommuting and virtual teams are commonplace.
So, how can mobility professionals meet the challenges of this changed global mobility landscape?
Recognize that millennial employees have different priorities and resources.
Overseas assignees of this generation will value work-life balance more highly than their predecessors. Assignment programs must take this into account, offering more flexibility, better partner and family support and resources, and a flexible working schedule. Mobility can also take advantage of the benefits of social networking – digitally-native employees are highly socially connected. Encouraging online networking between assignees will create a supportive environment and also facilitate the exchange of useful information.
Harness the power of virtual work.
With more employees than ever before working virtually, there is an increasing tendency to take jobs to people, rather than bring people to jobs. Mobility teams can also provide best-practice guidance here. Companies must take care to build virtual communities to avoid corporate culture becoming diluted by distance. Managers should be encouraged to foster communication; policies must address and integrate different cultural profiles; meeting procedures should be created and enforced.
Become a strategic player.
PWC’s survey found that 89% of organizations were planning to increase their number of mobile employees over the next two years. More than three quarters of all organizations surveyed expected to expand their reach in overseas markets in 2020. The demand for globally mobile employees is on the rise, and the need for a strong mobility policy is strategically critical for all international companies. As such, global mobility teams have a real opportunity to take a seat at the table. Improved data technology should be used to demonstrate the return on investment of canny mobility strategy. Mobility is no longer simply a tactical or technical profession – to keep up with the growing demand for mobile employees, mobility must see itself as a key strategic player in the overall corporate game plan.
So, how do you think mobility professionals can best contribute to corporate strategy? Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below.