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| 2 minutes read

Global mobility is both tactical and strategic

The best global mobility programs effectively manage numerous "customers". They have policies, tools and partners that support the "tactical" requirements of moving employees (and their families) while also having the policies, tools, and capabilities to "strategically" guide and balance the company's resources, needs, and expectations. Tactical programs are great at the "how" of mobility. They have a solid approach to clearly articulated policies, have quality technology for employees to access information, and they guide the process to have fewer exceptions and higher satisfaction scores. Strategic programs are highly engaged in the "why" of talent mobility. They are effective at understanding where the company is heading and collaborate with stakeholders to create paths for specific talent segments that will support key company goals.  

Coming into 2022, companies told us that aligning with talent strategy - attracting top candidates and retaining critical employees - was their #1 focus area. Now, for 2023, talent strategy remains one of the top 5 priorities for mobility programs. 43% of mobility leaders are trying to identify ways mobility can better support professional development, recruiting, and retention. Many survey participants mentioned getting involved in helping their company consider how to handle remote work requests and monitor/track employees. A number of corporate mobility leaders mentioned needing to create career development, leadership development, and rotational programs to support growth and retention. Others spoke about the desire to have mobility support DE&I initiatives.

In line with these findings, Mercer shares a new guide aimed specifically at supporting the alignment of talent management and global mobility. In their three-step recommendation, they explain that mobility programs are as much about managing an international talent pool as about moving people from country to country. They emphasize that integrating talent management and mobility is possible only if the entire talent cycle is considered, and that the limited view of many HR and mobility teams tends to curb integration opportunities.

Another element that Mercer talks about is how global mobility can support lateral moves. This "internal mobility" is something we had written about just a few months ago, discussing "Global mobility that supports internal mobility...and ultimately greater retention." Opportunities to upskill and cross-skill are a win for both the company and the employee. In that post we mentioned that according to Lever and their 2022 Internal Mobility and Employee Retention Report, nearly half (41%)  of employees staying at a company will ask for some sort of role change. Mercer echoes this, saying "The future of work is likely to be about changing jobs (and even career paths) frequently, as opposed to having a more traditional, linear career progression. But this kind of flexible career path can work only if both employees and management demonstrate a greater degree of recognition and acceptance of lateral moves." Mobility programs can be a valuable asset to internal or even project based opportunities!

Lastly, the Mercer guide suggests a reframing of global mobility teams from "relocation managers" to  "talent brokers". Concepts of an internal marketplace, where career enhancing mobility opportunities are available to a diverse range of candidates, and where executive sponsorship to the overall model exists - these are becoming critical factors for success. They note that "Top management is, above all, interested in allocating talent to the right place and addressing skills gaps. Contributing to the global brokering exercise is a way for mobility teams to position themselves at the heart of the talent process, rather than trying to elevate mobility relocation issues that are bound to remain purely tactical in the eyes of top management. "

We increasingly hear that mobility should be better connected with talent management. This suggestion is not entirely new, but solving the issue is becoming increasingly urgent as HR teams need to justify their mobility approaches and budgets in a new context. Linking mobility with talent management is often treated as an afterthought, an attempt to bridge a widening gap between siloed teams. If mobility is to play a strategic role in the overall talent and business strategy of an organization, it should stem from that strategy and not be merely connected to it. Our guide outlines three key steps to successful alignment of your talent management and global mobility strategies. Linking talent management and mobility The role of the global mobility team: from relocation manager to talent broker Addressing barriers to global mobile talent brokering


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