Global Mobility: The Next Chapter

Expat Academy Global Mobility: The Next Chapter The theme of the March Network Huddles was about looking forward and planning for the future. Coinciding with UK National Reflection Day, we’d like to recognise that this has been a year of immense challenge, both personally and professionally. On a positive level, the support amongst the Expat Community has been second to none and it was therefore quite apt that the connections, sharing and excuse for some fun should be continuing in full force a year on.

PwC led both the Symposium Huddle on Tuesday and the Club 100 Huddle on Wednesday with a session on re-setting Mobility and leading it with “purpose”. Iain and team gave us some of their infamous predictions, focusing on how and when they think Mobility will recover from the pandemic. The expectation is that mobility will remain locked down in most markets until September, at which point Mobility will see a significant surge, the introduction of hybrid working policies and vaccine passports as the key to re-mobilisation. Business travel is predicted to stay relatively suppressed for a longer period of time. In the next year, we should expect to see the appointment of heads of remote work or hybrid working, closely aligned to GM and Talent and with responsibility for risk and governance.

Natalie and Ingrid then went on to share the big picture trends that they are seeing in Mobility and to analyse the shift from Global Mobility to Global Workforce. Our function has had the chance to take a step back, take a critical look at our programmes and how they can be adapted in the future.  We have the opportunity to be more consultative and purpose-driven, be more agile and inclusive in terms of move types supported. Indeed, PwC are seeing an uptick in RFPs across all aspects of Global Mobility management and an increased focus on employee wellbeing and the employee experience.  PwC ended their presentation by identifying 5 focus areas that mobility leaders can use to make change happen: policy framework, operating model, user experience, success and outcomes and cost and value. Their slides can be located on the Vault.

Break-out sessions followed which gave network members some time for networking and sharing ideas on what the new normal looks like for GM in their organisations, plus plans for reviving GM strategy.  Groups were not short on grand ideas and these included a total re-brand with ‘global’ being dropped from global mobility to reflect our new identity  The Symposium Network talked about strengthening business partnerships, transformation and agile working policies and as well as these, Club 100 reported back on their hopes to build in diversity and inclusion and sustainability to their policies. Emphasis on duty of care was an ongoing theme. As expected, remote workers featured strongly in member questions and the afternoon break-out sessions for both networks focused on this, with the added agenda item for Symposium on vaccination roll-outs and for Club 100 on future plans for business travellers.  As always, so much to discuss!

Tim Wells from Equus Software talked to the Symposium Network about the employee experience from a technology perspective and how we can give assignees a first class service through digital tools and use of analytics.  With the rise of remote working requests and geographical spread of employees, it is important to find new and fresh ways to ensure engagement, with an instant chat service being particularly in demand. Again, check out the Vault for more from Tim.

With the Club 100 Network, Tom Crosby from GT Global Tracker and Karen Fendley from Syniti talked about the theory and experiences of engaging stakeholders in the safety and “location based compliance” of business travellers and remote workers. They touched on ownership, the importance of identifying stakeholders first and how technology aids compliance – but perhaps the loudest message of all was once more around employee experience – that is, knowing how people are and how they are doing.

Corporate updates came from Telma Almeida, Arup to the Symposium Network and Natalia Silveira, Thoughtworks to the Club 100 Network. Telma shared her personal journey of the last twelve months from being out of work just as we went into Lockdown to how she used this time to acquire new skills, achieve her GMPD accreditation and secure a new role as Global Mobility Manager at Arup, where she is working on automation and data provision as a priority and is yet to meet her new colleagues face to face! For Natalia, her adventures of the last quarter have involved international remote working and in her ‘spare time’ she has been kept exceptionally busy with acquisitions in Romania, Finland and the Netherlands, a review of all their policies and centralisation of the Global Mobility function. Oh for a holiday!

Interspersed throughout both days, we enjoyed a quick-fire memory quiz and congratulate all our goodie bag winners.  Big thanks to everyone who contributed to the Huddles and giving us plenty to think about. Remember to claim your GMPD points whilst the event is still fresh in your minds. Also, if you’d like to attend the stakeholder management course on 20th April which was referenced and could be useful to many of you, then please book via the Events page. We look forward to huddling again in June!

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