According to this article by Heather Darby at Gerson Relocation, the two biggest challenges facing global mobility are:
- Leveraging mobility to impact talent strategy
- Reducing the costs of relocation
If you want to argue whether these are the two biggest challenges, go for it. I am sure there are programs out there with a variety of other challenges sitting in front of them. Immigration or tax compliance usually hit high on the list. Designing a successful formula for an ROI on talent mobility ranks high for some. But there is no question that these two challenges come up on the list year in and year out.
The article goes on to highlight that to solve the challenge of leveraging mobility to impact talent strategy, global mobility must join with talent management and market the opportunities that exist. Better awareness for those employees that would grab the chance at a relocation/assignment experience is critical to finding the right people for the right opportunity. Having a process in place for being clear on what is available, knowing your audience, and then being flexible to tailor a program to fit will attract new staff, develop a bigger talent pool and help retain crucial team members. In AIRINC's 2018 Mobility Outlook Survey, when participants were asked to rate the priorities of their global mobility program on a scale from one to five, "aligning with talent" was the lowest rated as of today, but one of the highest rated for tomorrow and presented the biggest gap between current state and ideal state.
For the second challenge, reducing the cost of relocation, within the AIRINC report, the greatest percentage of participants sought to reduce cost by gaining operational efficiencies. Obviously, programs that are effectively and efficiently managed cost less to run and have fewer fines and penalties as a result of poor management. The article points to three areas to focus on:
- Updating figures and planning for readjustments: It is critical to keep track of spending and effectively predict future expenses. Without knowledge of what is being spent and how it compares to projections, it is far too easy to lose control and let spending get out of hand. This is where accurate cost projections and budget versus actual reporting help keep surprises to a minimum.
- Reducing failure rates: Failures can be extremely expensive. Make sure families have what they need to get comfortable and settled, and provide support navigating a new culture (and language sometimes). These are often thought to add costs, but usually save cost in the end.
- Streamline moves processes: Define, understand, revise and document the global relocation process. Keeping costs down is all about efficient practices and only investing resources in necessary tasks. Consider how technology can help team members be more efficient while delivering greater support and value to mobile employees.
Are you in agreement with these being the two biggest challenges facing global mobility right now? If not, what are your program's biggest challenges currently?
The annual global mobility survey conducted by AIRINC revealed interesting insights into both the successes and failures of businesses operating international relocation projects. Of particular interest was data identifying the most common problems faced by those carrying out global relocation programs. Two challenges in particular – difficulties implementing talent strategy and international relocation costs – impact the majority of businesses operating global mobility programs. Both of these problems, however, can be overcome. In this article, we examine how this can be done.