Keep global mobility high on the agenda
HR professionals with a focus on global mobility are crucial to global organisations. They understand the unique needs of employees moving to, and living and working in, unfamiliar places. They play an important role in giving confidence to employees, and often their families, when helping to settle in new countries. Every detail needs to be thought out, it’s not just about visas and housing, but other elements that might not have been considered; what cultural differences should they be aware of? Will they need to learn the local language? How can they connect with local social or leisure activities? Are there any differences in work practices in their new place of work to the one they’re leaving?
These requirements were highlighted in our recent research, which showed that the drivers for moving abroad included the search for a new adventure (56 per cent), a better work/life balance (40 per cent) and better weather (37 per cent). Other motivations included better career opportunities (17 per cent), better healthcare (16 per cent) or a desire to live in that area of the world (32 per cent).
There has also been a shift in the types of roles people are moving abroad for. These are typically: those moving to lead teams, those moving to transform teams or those moving to learn. There has also been a change in the style of assignment that people move for. For example, people are moving for shorter time periods (say, six months rather than two years) and then moving on to another location. This shift could in part be attributed to modern technology, which makes it easier to communicate between global offices, thus reducing the dependency on employees being physically present for long periods of time.
Global mobility managers therefore, need to carefully consider the demographic of employees as well as the environment of the destination that awaits would-be assignees. In order to stand out as an employer, the package offered to employees shouldn’t just be based on pay. There needs to be a support system in place which fully takes into account the transition process employees will have to go through before settling into their new role, and their new country. But what should that support package look like?