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What’s on the Minds of Global Mobility Leaders?

Insights from the in-person insideMOBILITY Global Leaders Event

It was wonderful to reconnect face-to-face with in-house global mobility heads at the insideMOBILITY® Global Leaders meeting in London.

The group of global mobility professionals met for a full day of peer learning, hands-on workshops and featured sessions, along with opportunities for professional networking.

High-Level Takeaways

Certain themes came through loud and clear throughout the seven workshops and sessions:

  • Policies from 20 Months ago are outdated: No doubt, the pandemic has changed the mobility profession. One participant noted that many policies and practices that were updated even just 20 months ago are no longer suitable as things have even moved on from there.
  • Pandemic opened a mobility seat at the table: Mobility teams’ successes in placing employees where they need to be in spite of pandemic-related challenges has earned mobility a more prominent seat at the table in strategic settings and has led to closer cooperation with internal stakeholders.
  • Mobility teams are stretched for resources: The additional workload from these situations was welcomed by the attendees, but they noted that team resources haven’t increased at the same rate, and in some cases even decreased.

Setting New Standards for the Mobile Employee Journey

Service levels for mobile employees have necessarily expanded during the pandemic, setting new standards that should and will become best practices moving forward. In this workshop, attendees utilized the Mobile Employee Journey Map to explore key moments within their programs.

Here are a few of these, selected from among many observations volunteered during an Employee Experience Journey workshop:

  • Set the correct expectation by being transparent about the policy and compensation framework
  • Be certain about a mobile employee’s preferences rather than making assumptions
  • The attitude (positive or negative) of the host country hiring manager can make all the difference in the mobile employee’s experience
  • Bring the mobile employee, manager, mobility and tax team together to come up with a budget and framework. Each party needs to engage with a goal of attaining the best possible arrangement and employee experience.
  • Repatriation is a tricky period. Some attendees reported high attrition at this stage with a tremendous loss of investment. To help avoid this, post-assignment conversations need to be probing, not superficial: “How are you doing? ... no, really how are you doing?” Companies should reassure returning employees that the repatriation stage can last as long as six months.

Shipping Issues Aren’t What They Seem

One very timely session addressed concerns about shipping. Representatives of Maersk, an integrated container logistics company, listened to and spoke with the group about their concerns regarding international household goods shipments.

They pointed out that the shipping problem is not inherently new and has been known for some time, though the COVID-19 situation has exacerbated this. It’s not merely a case of a shortage of ships – ports are at a capacity after all, and more ships would not solve this challenge. One major hurdle is availability of empty containers due to an imbalance of supply and demand (between Asia and Europe, for example). Another is significant cost increases, such as crude oil price fluctuation. Together these are hugely impacting price and availability.

The Maersk representatives also reported that the company is moving toward a fleet of “green ships” by 2040. This may address some of the oil price issues and it demonstrates the importance and responsibility of changing the traditional methods of shipping. As consumers, we must be ready to embrace these changes for the benefit of society.

Planning the World Ahead

The group had an opportunity to step back and imagine redesigning their Talent Mobility program into next year. The attendees mapped out an expansive list of priorities for their programs including:

  • Charting the new work world
  • Spending more time defining policies such as international remote working and short-term/extended business travel
  • Expanding internal collaboration with stakeholders that they may not have consulted in the past, such as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) offices, Data Analytics teams and Risk teams

Attendees left the session with fresh ideas, a tangible action plan and a way to track their next steps.

Thanks to the senior mobility leaders who shared their time and their expertise in a way that made the insideMOBILITY Global Leaders session so valuable for all the attendees!

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