Club 100 – First Huddle of the Year

It’s 2023…. that’s 23 years since the Millennium and all it’s fears about a computer bug that would cause global chaos, big brother launched in the UK for the first time, and who will ever forget the indestructible Nokia 3310 (pretty hard to forget as it’s likely everyone reading this had one!!). A lot has changed in 23 years, and I’m left wondering were those 23 years have gone, with the face staring back at me in the mirror only holding brief glimpses of the young impressionable man I was. A lot has changed.Expat Academy Club 100 - First Huddle of the Year

In a recent Expat Academy Roundup (EAR) I wrote a short piece about change being constant. Just as life has changed drastically in the last 23 years, the same can be said of the work we do in mobility. And whilst the fundamentals still stay the same (we’re moving people from A to B), the complexity, demands and expectations on the mobility teams I speak to regularly seems to have ramped up a notch in the last few years since the pandemic.

So onto our first Club 100 Network Huddle of the year in the fantastic FORA building opposite Borough Tube Station. The venue was akin to a café, bringing informal chat and caffeine to the fore and encouraging the members of our network who attended to put their feet up, relax and chat about what’s going on in their teams and workplaces.

The day kicked off with a little icebreaker where we got to hear what New Year resolutions people have for 2023. A lot of us want to get fit, some of us want to spend more time with our family, and others are looking to learn a language or two maybe. We then got into what we were hoping to see in our professional lives, with a lot of the room stating they wanted to expand their network, well that’s what we’re here for 😊. This led nicely into our First huddle time allowing people to introduce themselves, get to know others around their individual tables and share their hopes and dreams for their GM programme.

Once our Huddle time was done we went straight into an incredibly informative session from our Network Sponsors Vialto. The session focussed on Vialto’s recent survey into remote work and companies approach and understanding of the compliance landscape and pitfalls. There was so much in the presentation this blog will go on for far too long if I try to cover it all off. You can find the slides and information from the session in our vault, but one of my key takeaways from the survey was a very small finding that only 77% of the surveyed companies saw immigration as essential to the authorising of remote work. Let that sink in… 23% of companies think it’s okay to NOT have valid immigration documents in place to work in a country remotely. Now some people might think that these companies must be rogue corporations harking back to the days of the wild wild west, and their penchant for breaking the rules would give Billy the Kid a run for his money, but what really resonated with me is that corporations still have limited understanding to the compliance challenges the work from anywhere revolution is creating. It’s not a case of ignoring the rules, but not knowing the rules even exist. A lot of work is still needed in this space and that was resonated by everyone I spoke to during the day.

Vialto followed up their remote work survey session with an immigration update which was both engaging and informative and I know I speak for everyone there when I say it was so great to hear positive steps being taken by the UK government to address the backlog of Immigration cases currently in the system. The continuing development of digital solutions by authorities globally regarding Visa applications was also a welcome update.

At that point it was time for coffee and some networking amongst the attendees.

When we came back we got into some more huddle time and each table was set a task to think outside the box in resolving challenges to policies impacted by ESG and DE&I. It was great to hear people working hard to find those small steps and minor changes to policies in order to move towards those big ESG and DE&I goals all of our companies have. The energy in the room was fantastic and it was great to hear some really simple takeaways from the session:

  • Insist on Train travel rather than Flights for land connected relocation
  • Correct wording in policies relating to families and spouse/partner
  • Define eligible family members in policies to allow for flexibility where allowed for older dependent family members
  • Work with Vendors to ensure they are considerate and proactive of ESG and DE&I values in your company

We don’t need to fix all the problems but taking one step forward is better than none at all. Loved the energy and the vibe in this session!!

After Lunch it was time for some more in-depth research into remote working, this time presented by another of our sponsors Santa Fe Relocation. Santa Fe’s thought leadership piece spanned 11 Industries across over 100 Organisations and provided some interesting insights into how the emergence of ‘work from anywhere’ has impacted companies and their approach to talent and their appetite / understanding of the risks it poses. Again there was so much in the research that it would be impossible to tell you about but another golden nugget I took away was the concept of ‘Guilty Knowledge’. This is when we know that something we may uncover, or dig deeper into, is likely to cause a huge amount of work, challenge or pain in our processes and therefore the knowledge becomes ‘Guilty’ and we’re unsure how to tackle the issue we have uncovered or how deep to dig. Whilst I would never suggest any GM professional would ignore obvious compliance risks, I know from personal experience that I have often had moments of ‘Guilty Knowledge’ and wished I hadn’t turned over that stone of an issue. Something for us all to be aware of and ponder.Expat Academy Club 100 - First Huddle of the Year

Coming into the end of the day we had some excellent corporate updates from our friends at Pearson Education, hearing all about how you manage a GM programme in a fully remote company, and Latham and Watkins, who are trying to develop a data led function after the successful implementation of Assignment Pro. Finally we had our hot Potatoes session delving into the issues our network members are dealing with in a ‘real time’ / ‘in-the-moment’ problem solving session.

All in all a great day, great vibe, great research, great table hosts and great networking with a bunch of great people. It’s 2023!! A lot of change has happened in the last 23 years… a lot will continue to change in the mobility landscape over the coming years, but isn’t it great to have people to support, problem solve and help you with that feeling of ‘thank goodness it’s not just me’. That’s what the Expat Academy and Club 100 network huddles are all about: community!! And it was great to share the start of 2023 with you all.

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