Symposium Huddle Goes Virtual

Expat Academy Symposium Huddle Goes Virtual

“When the world changed – people started connecting in a new way – nothing can stop a team”, said Microsoft Teams in their TV advert last night.  My thoughts precisely after our first, virtual Symposium Huddle this week and it’s so great to hear that the sentiment is widely shared.

Innovation is crucial to survive the lockdown, thus we were gratified to see a mass of welcoming faces taking advantage of this new format and join the discussion.  Just like seeing old friends! All those fantastic names also served as a powerful reminder of the breadth of the network. Some strong brands and a wealth of experience at your disposal.

The premise of the first, virtual Symposium Huddles is pretty similar to what we aim to achieve in a live setting – for our community of members and sponsors to gather informally, build relationships, share useful and thought-provoking content, find solutions and learn from each other. Mission accomplished we hope, with the online offering enabling a few positive enhancements for some too:  Condensed sessions, technology which helped us to quickly put a face to a name and the ability to include those who could not previously travel due to distance or budget.

The Network Huddle was scheduled in two parts. Part One on Tuesday saw PwC give some highlights of their study into how companies are responding to COVID-19 in relation to their globally mobile workforce. Some interesting stats on plans for upcoming moves, assignees in situ and plans for future strategies, further details of which can be found on the Vault.

We were keen to replicate the great sharing opportunity that comes from our smaller group Huddle discussions. How utterly brilliant to be able to do this online! Conversations were had around progress (or lack of) made with the Posted Workers Directive and also PWD in relation to STBVs. A second break-out session prompted discussions around support for assignees caught up in the COVID crisis and also how GM teams are navigating the inconsistency in COVID responses country to country.

Again, just like a physical Huddle, we were delighted to have a corporate update on the agenda. Thank you Caroline Bezodis from Baker Hughes for providing a fascinating insight into your organisation, industry challenges and your mobilisation of rotators.

Part Two on Thursday was met with similar levels of engagement and gave further opportunity for members to discuss member challenges and issues in relaxed groups, with our network sponsors acting as table hosts. First, we started with a poll and discussion on furloughed assignees. The “table” discussion was based around recovery strategy post COVID-19, with particular focus given to prioritisation of initiations.  This then moved on to GM strategy post COVID-19 and thoughts around policy changes and value-add to the business.

Some talked about new pandemic policy clauses, care policies and emergency repatriation which gave immediate take-aways for others. There was more positive chat around what the crisis has done for Global Mobility – now a theme running throughout both parts rather than a mere discussion point.  We have seen GM be revitalised, its profile elevated and it be given an opportunity to start thinking about what the new world might look like. Learning is so important to the growth of Global Mobility and if you have walked away from these Huddles with one new thought or new contact then our job is done.

Finally, the fun and networking aspect of the Huddles normally continues over a drink or two.  Whilst we will need to keep these on ice for now, we hope you will join PwC plans for a social quiz amongst the Networks. Watch this space….


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