What’s Trending in Global Mobility in 2019?
As global mobility program managers seek to develop programs and policies that will align with, and advance, broader business objectives and goals, they are guided by a fundamental trend in organizational thinking: the shift towards enhancing employee experience and away from cost cutting to cost management.
Below are four major trends emerging this year in the global mobility arena as companies seek to respond to shifting focus in today’s rapidly-changing business environment.
More Flexible and Agile Mobility Solutions
The emergence of more flexible alternatives to traditional assignment types is well underway. Policies, such as core/flex, lump sum and self-serve approaches, are taking hold in global mobility programs at an increasing rate. The new approaches offer value in terms of extending mobility opportunities to broader bands of employee populations and global destinations, supporting talent development at more cost-effective levels. Core/flex, for example, gives organizations the ability to better target benefits to employees on assignment, maximizing mobility spend while also minimizing gaps, risk and exception requests. Meanwhile, lump sum and other self-serve options, increasingly made possible by technological advances, bring control of the relocation experience closer to employees themselves, minimize administrative work and improve employee choice.
Across mobility programs, the rise in consumer-oriented models of HR-related service delivery is reflective of the rise of digitalization and creating more transparency, self-serve delivery and personal choice for relocating employees. Employees are used to immediacy and instant feedback, and technological advances are allowing companies to respond with more flexible and personalized HR services, benefits offerings and support for new types of mobility benefits.
Companies are looking for solutions that drive information sharing and support seamless data sharing between their internal systems and those of their service provider, streamlining processes, improving cycle time and data reliability and accelerating the ability to make data-driven decisions.
With the right balance between self-serve and access to personal guidance and expertise, these advancements improve the partnership and support that third-parties can provide to their clients, deliver cost efficiencies, and improve the mobile employee experience with more of the process being handled through approaches such as web portals and mobile apps.
Emphasis on Employee Feedback and Ownership
A key trend supporting an enhanced employee experience is ensuring that mobility managers are more closely defining what a successful program looks like. As part of that focus, companies employ tactics such as employee surveys and focus groups to ensure that they are accurately measuring and assessing experiences and understand how and why employees are reacting to mobility benefits and process.
A related trend is the focus on giving employees better tools to control their own experience and ultimately their own career trajectories. Putting more control back in the hands of employees is reinforced by some of the approaches discussed above – such as better preparation for assignment goals and expectations and more rigor around candidate assessment and selection – and supported by technological advances that enable more self-serve and flexible management of employee relocations.
As more relocation-relevant data is able to be captured, senior leaders within global organizations are increasingly demanding it to accurately assess program performance. Recent BGRS research shows that while 67% of HR and mobility leaders report increased demands for data and benchmarks by senior leadership, 57% do not feel they have enough insight into the types of data needed, including program costs, employee retention and career progression. The lack of alignment and synergy between many of the mobility-related functions in companies is also playing into the issues with data collection and use: the top three technology-related gaps reported by companies include a lack of system integration, a lack of workflow functionality to automate processes and inaccurate data. As a result, an increasing number of companies are exploring technology integration to improve the insights gained from mobility data.
As more focus is being put on data capture and analysis, mobility managers will need to continually apply a two-way focus to identify the right data to capture from their programs in order to accurately predict future impacts and evaluate potential changes to program and policy direction. Understanding what the needed data is can help drive decisions on technology linkages as well as ultimate data findings and implications.