How does a company raise its mobility game to competition levels? If "world-class" is what it takes for your program to be active in your company's success, consider the changes that are coming and which aspects need to adapt and evolve.

In our "Defining Global Mobility Challenges" paper, we laid out six critical capabilities of world-class global mobility programs ranging from program compliance and efficiency to alignment with the business — especially talent management. Then, in "Get Ready for the Great Talent Face-off," we added a couple of additional capabilities to the definition of a world-class mobility program:

  • Innovate by strategically identifying, evaluating and addressing upcoming changes with the goal of continuous improvement.
  • Define best practices for your organizations, rather than utilizing those defined by others.

In our latest report, "Challenge, Accepted: How to Overcome Obstacles and Support Your Relocating Employees", we offered up insights into new ways to maintain that "world-class" edge by keeping your finger on the pulse, being smarter with mobility investment, and ensuring that program and policies remains fresh and relevant.

While we have written about the capabilities of a world-class global mobility program, maybe there are some other elements or characteristics that you might want to consider that can (and do) have a big impact on the performance and image of your mobility program.  These might be things like inquisitiveness, curiosity, adaptability, cultural IQ and...today's topic...HUMOR.

According to a Harvard Business Review article, "Laughter relieves stress and boredom, boosts engagement and well-being, and spurs not only creativity and collaboration but also analytic precision and productivity." Doses of humor can be the cure for the status quo, standoffishness, being unapproachable, stress, nervousness, anxiety, poor performance and low morale.

How do you know if you are being funny? Besides someone texting you back "LOL," the article shares a useful tip about looking for the "Duchenne smile." Not sure what that is? Well, to tell whether a workmate’s amusement is real — not faked or just being polite — look for crinkling around their eyes; if it’s there, you’ve got true “Duchenne” laughter, named for the 19th century French physician who identified it. Maybe heaven is a room full of people with "Duchenne smiles?" My "dad jokes" never seem to get Duchenne smiles! :-(

You might be asking, "Why does my mobility program need more laughter?" Let's look to Stanford University and Gallup! A Stanford MBA candidate, Eric Tsytsylin, explained that working adults are “in the midst of a laughter drought.” Babies laugh, on average, 400 times a day; people over 35 only laugh 15 times per day. Then Gallup data for the U.S. revealed that we laugh significantly less on weekdays than we do on weekends. Work is a sober endeavor.

Enter some humor!

The Forbes article below explains the value of leveraging humor at both the organizational level and at the individual level. While the article acknowledges that there can be a potential negative downside on the use of humor when deployed ineffectively, it explains that there can also be a huge positive impact when tapped effectively. Companies like Zappos and Southwest Airlines have used humor to create positive, fun corporate cultures and to appeal to consumers. 

The article provides 10 reasons as to why humor is a key to success at work and in business, so let's consider them and their possible benefits to your mobility program. The 10 reasons...

  1. People will enjoy working with you (and your team)
  2. Humor is a potent stress buster (is their stress in mobility?)
  3. It is humanizing
  4. It puts others at ease
  5. Ha + ha = aha! Humor often supports innovative thinking!
  6. It helps build trust (humor can't be at someone's expense, though)
  7. It boosts morale
  8. People who use humor tend to be more approachable
  9. Humor can allow you and your team to stand out
  10. It can increase productivity

Maybe one of the "benefits" you can provide to mobile talent is a small dose of "funny!" A little humor might go a long way (especially in virtual settings). Looking for ways to improve your mobility program is no joking matter...or maybe it is!