Global Mobility Teams of the Future

Global Mobility Teams of the Future: Establishing a Framework for Success

As the war for talent intensifies, Mobility has the opportunity to play an increasingly significant role in achieving organizational goals. How can mobility leaders best prepare their own teams for the challenge?

No Human Resources or Talent Mobility leader today will be surprised to hear that the world of work is changing. But estimates that 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet, a figure cited in a 2017 report by Dell Technologies in conjunction with the Institute of the Future, points to challenges on an entirely new level.

BGRS’s Talent Mobility Trends Survey identifies three top skillsets needed by mobility teams in the future: business collaboration, strategic planning and decision making and data and analytics. The ability to achieve cost efficiencies was next, with other skills, such as operational excellence, following. Considering changes in the two areas discussed below – Team Structure and Alignment and Team Knowledge and Organizational Awareness – can contribute significantly to development of these key skillsets.

Team Structure and Alignment

Decisions impacting employee mobility are often made in separate functions, resulting in lack of necessary cross-functional insight into areas such as assignment goals or costs. This can hinder effective business collaboration and, ultimately, strategic planning and decision-making, cost control and operational excellence. While no one department can solve the problem alone, the right structure and alignment for Talent Mobility teams should help to promote better results in many of these areas.

  • Strengthen internal communication. The first step in strengthening communication is to identify your key stakeholders. Even outside of more formal cross-functional ties, who in your organization needs more information on mobility approaches and plans? Who can provide valuable feedback or perspective and partner with you to review or pilot new approaches for the future? Forging new alliances as well as utilizing existing calls or reporting schedules can help to open channels of communication and promote awareness.
  • Review your team’s structure. Changes in your company’s target geographies, organizational structure or talent strategies may lead to potential changes in the way your team is structured. Consider whether a restructuring to either more global consistency or more regional flexibility will improve your team’s interactions with key stakeholders and ability to deal with local requirements in areas such as compliance or recruiting. Many organizations are also considering setting up Centers of Excellence or Shared Service Centers to centralize knowledge, streamline decisions or reduce administrative effort and costs.
  • Evaluate your internal alignment. How well are you aligned with other key company functions, such as Compensation and Benefits, Talent Management, or HRIS? While most organizations acknowledge the value, few have truly achieved synergy. Setting up cross-departmental meetings or project teams can improve shared insight in areas such as assignment objectives, repatriation timelines, or scaling pay and benefits to different assignment types. If project teams are well organized and results are clearly and consistently communicated, the effort can make significant strides toward effective collaboration.

Team Knowledge and Organizational Awareness

High performing teams with contemporary skills have always been key to the success of an organizational strategy. Familiarity with the key knowledge areas below will contribute to the development of skillsets in fostering business collaboration, better strategic planning and decision making, use of data and analytics, and achieving cost efficiencies.

  • Embrace data and analytics: BGRS’s Talent Mobility Trends Survey results shows that while 67 percent of HR and mobility leaders report increased senior leadership demands for data and benchmarks, 57 percent of those senior leaders still do not feel they have enough insight into needed data, including program costs, employee retention and career progression data. Digital reporting capabilities and an ability to interpret and action the results can move the needle on performance in these key areas. Tying analytics to company goals can enable your team to contribute more effectively to informed strategic planning.

Team Resources

What will it take your current or future team members to be more commercially and organizationally aware and to truly attain the key skillsets required to advance company goals? Understanding your team’s capabilities is a critical first step. If developing your existing team is your preferred approach, but you still experience critical temporary knowledge gaps and want to explore alternatives to permanent hires, there are several options.
Leveraging relationships with external contractors or internal experts can help, especially in highly technical areas such as vendor management, information technology and data analytics. Could the expanding gig economy provide additional opportunities in terms of contract or temporary workers? Would exploring talent swaps or short self-initiated assignments, if available within your company, help to close skillset gaps?

Against the backdrop of the rapidly evolving global mobility environment, attention to the fundamental areas of structure, alignment, knowledge and awareness can have a huge payoff, helping you to build a mobility team that is a key contributor to your mobility strategy as well as your company’s larger talent goals.