Global mobility management has rarely evolved as fast as in recent times. Mobility teams have had to manage a pandemic crisis leading to a temporary cessation of most global mobility, the war in Ukraine, the advent of remote working and new employee expectations.
Is international HR ready to go soul-searching? This year, many wondered if global mobility of talent was stalling and globalization going in reverse. Others announced a new age of “working from anywhere”. Unrefined concepts, buzzwords and conflicting expectations from employers and employees added to the confusion.
The tragedy in Ukraine reminded us that managing an international workforce is a huge responsibility and a difficult task to manage. While managers and international HR teams do not face crises alone and are supported by other specialist teams, they are still dealing with dramatic events and their consequences for international employees.
The “great resignation” has been making headlines all over the world. Many people have been reconsidering their priorities and employment choices and thinking about how they might enjoy a better lifestyle. In addition, unlike in previous crises, the pandemic has not led to high unemployment. Companies have been struggling to attract and keep key talent. This has been putting upward pressure on salaries and leading to a renewed focus on the quality of the employee experience.
Working from anywhere has remained a vague concept, but pressure has been mounting on organizations to develop a clear point of view. The evolution of technology, employee expectations and talent sourcing needs all pushed in the direction of more work flexibility. Organizations and professionals that can find reasonable compromises to leverage this flexibility will have an advantage in the new world of work.
The role of mobility has been shifting from fixing issues to sourcing and developing talent. In this new talent brokering role, HR and mobility teams needed to refocus their efforts on workforce upskilling and reskilling issues. They have had to work with other parts of the business to make sure that talent can be redeployed quickly to areas of priority as well as increasingly rotate between functions.
The traditional problems associated with host approaches have not fully been resolved, and attempts to fix the host approach with a “local plus” model (adding benefits to the host approach) have not always been cost effective. Yet, the local approach deserved a closer look, either as a solution for specific moves or simply to benchmark and put other compensation approaches in perspective.
International HR professionals now urgently need to take time to digest the implications of all these changes and reassess their policies and processes. This implies amending and checking the logic of policies, defining a clear message, preparing new analytics and metrics, reviewing the mobility function’s operating model and assessing the impact of inflation on mobility compensation packages for what could be a long time.