The Secret Diary of a Global Mobility Manager: Policy Review

by Gina Tonic

Expat Academy The Secret Diary of a Global Mobility Manager: Policy Review

Dear Diary

I can put it off no longer. As much as I try to push it across to the non-urgent pile, the increased amounts of ‘urgent’ policy exceptions are a constant reminder that it is becoming something that needs to move up the To Do list. Yup, it’s time to review our International Assignment Policies.

The reason I have been trying to put it off is that everyone has an opinion. Don’t get me wrong I understand that to produce a suite of International Assignment policies, that are fit for the business, it is important to engage with your stakeholders across the business. My issue is getting to the views and suggestions that are genuinely important for them, and the business as a whole, as opposed to a general Global Mobility bashing session about how, if they were running Global Mobility, they would do it so much better.

Time for a survey?

Initially, to potentially save time, I thought it might be easier to send out a survey to all the stakeholders to ask what works, what doesn’t and what would they like to change. However, even putting the questions together gives me a sense of dread at the type of answers that might come back. I think it would go along the lines of:

  • Hardly anything constructive in the ‘What works’ section as when it does work well, which I am proud to say for my team is in the vast majority of cases, it goes unnoticed.
  • A small thesis in the ‘What doesn’t work’ section which are predominantly based on unrealistic expectations such as ‘I wanted to send an employee to Thailand for 3 years a week on Thursday and Global Mobility delayed the start of this project as it took 3 months to get a visa’.
  • Finished off with a list of items in the ‘Like to change’ section that are hugely cost prohibitive, completely unmanageable or, at worst, both!

So, I decided to take a stroll down to the local coffee house, to treat myself to a tall skinny latte with whipped cream and caramel drizzle (I try to ensure a balanced diet!) which is my ‘go to’ treat when I need some inspiration.

Two thirds through my coffee it hit me (it may have been around about the time the caffeine and sugar combo hit the bloodstream I’m not sure) – I decided I should combine the stakeholder engagement meeting with a Global Mobility PR exercise in person (where I could) and thereby completing two targets on my annual performance review list in one go – genius!

So what do I want to know?

So, during the last third of my coffee and with renewed enthusiasm I frantically scribbled thoughts in my notebook on how I was going to tackle this and what I would ask:

  • How effective did they feel the current policies were in meeting the needs of the business? – I thought this would give me a really good insight into how well they know the policies as some of the issues they have may be due to lack of awareness or understanding.
  • Did they see any changes to the direction of the business that would see an increase or decrease in global moves and what sort of movements would they be (more short-term assignees, more one way moves etc)? – this would help me ensure we have the right policies in place and if there were any others I should consider. It would also give me chance to be proactive and while final discussions were underway about sending say 6 of their team to implement a project in a brand-new location I would have already done the ‘New Location Risk Assessment checklist’ and be able to advise how long the immigration would take.
  • What items in the current policies did they think were no longer necessary or were missing? – I thought this would give me an excellent chance to explain why certain items like cultural training were such an essential and not just a nice to have. In addition, it would give me the chance to explain face to face the true cost of some of the items they keep agreeing to during preliminary conversations with potential assignees that we have to then rule out when it comes to assignment letter discussions.

I have decided it is worth the time and effort to do this on an individual basis with the stakeholders in question to keep the discussions short, sharp and to the point. Just the thought of getting them all into a room together to wind each other up and thereby get nowhere fast induces an absent-minded eye roll!

So, with great Friday afternoon gusto (well it’s either Friday afternoon enthusiasm or still the effects of the caffeine and sugar!) I have sent out meeting invites to the stakeholders to kick this project off next week.

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