I'll admit I do not love bugs, and a more accurate statement would probably be closer to, "I really (really) don't like bugs." Don't get me wrong — I appreciate them and their role in nature's order of balance. I just don't enjoy them being around me...at all. 

Maybe it's because I got stung really early in life by stepping on a bee, but bees (all forms), along with most every other insect in general, kind of freak me out. Hearing their buzz puts my entire nervous system on high alert. I am not sure it's to the level of entomophobia (an extreme and persistent fear of insects) but I'd call it a super-high "healthy" level of concern!

So when I read about the "murder hornets" coming to the U.S.(only because a teammate made me), besides feeling like I was going to faint at the thought of what that encounter might look like (me on the losing end of it), I wondered what does this have to do with global mobility? Then I learned that some people seek them out and enjoy eating them. In Japan, hebo-gohan (murder hornets steamed with rice) is a "beloved snack," and there are more than 30 restaurants in Tokyo that have these giant hornets on the menu.

So what can we learn from hebo-gohan and apply to global mobility programs?

Well, here are three things that come to mind that global mobility can learn from the idea of hebo-gohan:

  1. Embrace innovation by exploring new ideas. For years, mobility offered the same set of about 7-8 benefits. But lately, programs have been more willing to consider alternative ideas, particularly those grounded in research. Design thinking is being embraced, quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews are being deployed, and user testing is being leveraged to seek out insights that help to better identify the real problems that need solving and to move forward solutions that really work. It's why we created a cutting-edge mobility innovation lab, Plus One. Mobility programs need to dream, explore and scale new solutions for today's talent challenges.
  2. There is value to adding non-traditional policy options. The reality is that relocation policy and benefits are getting a make-over and evolving. People have very different needs and wants across the globe. That being true, how are you allowing for customization or, better yet, personalization of the mobility packages you offer to mobile employees and their families? Do your policies offer enough options and flexibility to allow mobile employees to choose what they want or get what they need? I mean come on...some people want hebo-gohan! Not saying that should be a benefit on your mobility menu, just meaning that if that appeals to some, then I have to believe that there are others out there with some very unique wants and needs as they move through the relocation or assignment process. With such a wide-range of people, preferences and circumstances, is it possible to offer enough options to make the experience amazing? We can do better by allowing for more choice by providing more options, and by the way, that can be done without increasing costs. Check out "2020 View: How Mobility is Taking Shape Before Our Eyes" for a closer look at exploring alternative benefit options.
  3. There is incredible risk minimization to outsourcing to the right companies. If I did like to eat hebo-gohan, I would definitely not want to catch them on my own. I'd be outsourcing that part of the process 100%! COVID-19 is in the process of teaching us a lot of lessons, but one might be making sure you and your partners have a strong business continuity plan in place. Managing the best mobility program at the highest level takes a village, where key partnerships are crucial. Selecting an RMC, tax partner and immigration partner that fit your program needs and that have the key people, innovative tools and critical processes in place allows you to drop the risk factor and increase the value quotient!

Some people feel that eating "murder hornets" makes them more potent — how are you making your mobility program more potent?