Double Network, Infinite Value

Expat Academy Double Network, Infinite Value The observant will have seen us sneak an extra Huddle onto the Events Calendar this year.  A chance to rub shoulders with, and learn from, a combined network and a broader circle of technical partners – with some group meditation too!  As ever, a myriad of perspectives from different companies across various industries but now a comparison between those with smaller versus larger assignee programmes together with an array of operating models and budgets.  According to Reed’s Law, every new person on a network doubles its value, so the ideas and benchmarking possibilities open to you, not to mention the size of your address book, have literally just exploded!

To recap on what we heard this week – Part 1 saw Mercer share their research with the Symposium Network on where Human Resources should focus in the new normal and how we can come back stronger. With a particular focus on flexibility, cost control and skilling, Kate and Jen also invited the break-out rooms to discuss these concepts further. Subsequent table sessions took us in the direction of A1 certificates and some lively chat around LGBT initiatives.

Captivating Corporate Updates

We enjoyed two captivating and very different corporate updates – one from Kate at GKN Aeropace and a second from Deborah at Marie Stopes International from the Charitable Services sector.  Whether you relate to GKN, are more akin to MSI or are light years away from both organisations, there’s no denying that what they both had to say was really thought-provoking. How brilliant to hear from Kate and her obvious passion for strength profiling and how we can use the Clifton Strengths model to help assignees get the most out of their posting – or our own roles for that matter. And thank you Deborah for your completely engaging insight into the amazing front line work of MSI and some of your projects such as Mental Health Awareness Week and the Coronavirus Helpful Hub. We especially loved our meditation lesson  – such a simple but beneficial exercise which we anticipate being replicated in many virtual offices and family homes this summer!

For the Club 100 Network specifically, ECA International led a session on the impact of COVID-19 and what companies are thinking about in terms of next steps, with a detailed look at remuneration, the impact on GM as a function and remobilisation. This led to some virtual table discussion around duty of care, virtual assignments and flexibility.  Later table chat concentrated on the question of localisation, with members sharing experiences around this ‘policy’ and the absolute necessity for ongoing assignee communications and engagement.

A heads up on future Mergers and Acquisitions

The Networks fully came together in Part 2, starting with some Expat Academy polling fun and then moving on to hear PwC’s thoughts on economic recovery and the anticipated increase in restructuring and deal activity. Inevitably, this brings complex implications for Global Mobility and it was useful to justify why our input is really key in the process of organisational change, not least to ensure compliance and best practice utilisation. Items to consider in a deal include displaced employees, payroll, reward schemes, non-resident directors and good-old STBVs.

Huddle time saw us talking about the topic of the moment – the future of Global Mobility in light of how we have been working and coping through the pandemic.  Discussions were very much positive and focused on opportunity – whether that’s a greater appreciation for GM or the chance to upskill, review policies and technology needs or embrace wellness and softer skill development.

Finishing off on a very hot topic

An eloquent panel, comprising Abby from Royal Bank of Scotland, Hélène from Allen & Overy and Rachel from Imperial Brands shared their experiences of another high agenda item for GM – working cross borders, not just during the lockdown but the demand for an ongoing change in work pattern and location.   We heard about their work and case specific approach to displaced employees over the last few months, involving multiple country combinations, communication strategies and latterly, requests for employees to return to their home (or host) location.  Then we moved on to thoughts around a more permanent approach to flexibility which suffice to say, differed across the industries of Financial Services, Legal and FMCG and ultimately boils down to risk appetite.

With so much relevant content, things to contemplate and GREAT people involved in this Huddle, I challenge anyone to say they didn’t learn anything or ‘meet’ someone new. Thank you to all. And do remember to log your GMPD points too!

Believe it or not, Bonfire Night will have come and gone by the time we next Huddle – no doubt with new fires to manage. Keep meditating, stay well and we hope you get to enjoy a staycation of some description between now and then.


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