In the Spotlight: Supporting the Talent Mobility Cycle

Global mobility involves various elements; one that is sometimes overlooked, but is among the most significant is Intercultural Services. Brenda Bellon, Director of Intercultural Talent Mobility, shares how BGRS’s approach and expertise ensures clients and their mobile employees have a successful assignment regardless of destination.

How is the team expanding its capabilities to improve the services you offer and become a greater partner to clients?

Brenda Bellon: This year we are really focusing on introducing the broader range of talent development support we can offer in this area to our clients. Our new talent development model shows how we can assist our clients in developing their employees before, during, and after the mobility cycle across four main areas:

  • Building global competencies
  • Assessing and selecting candidates
  • Developing globally mobile talent
  • Maximizing repatriation and career planning

The industry is seeing a shift: more and more companies are aligning talent development with mobility. We are consulting with clients and finding out what their priorities are and what their employees need. Using that information, we design and offer tailored solutions that will meet their objectives. These may include individual or group intercultural training, coaching, eLearning, or the use of our online assessment tools.

How does the team ensure they have the right training on hand for the client and their employee?

Brenda: We customize all the training we offer to meet the needs of the participants. In addition, we always develop new content as our clients are moving their talent into more remote places each year and facing new challenges. To support this ongoing development, we have a knowledgeable network of 450 trainers worldwide that BGRS’s Senior Manager of Training can rely on. Our trainers are an extension of the team and we consult with them as subject matter experts to develop the right training for clients.

This is exactly what sets BGRS apart – we are constantly customizing our services to meet client needs, developing new programs and reviewing our existing material. We use results from the annual Talent Mobility Trends Survey, and client trends such as the top destinations to inform what we need to create or review.

If you would describe the BGRS Intercultural Group’s advantage in one word, what would it be?

Brenda: Passion. Our team has a real fervor for the intercultural field. With experiences living in other cultures, they enjoy helping people learn about cultural differences and how to be more effective when dealing with cultural challenges. That passion also extends to working together as a high-performing global virtual team, putting into practice ourselves the same skills we help our clients learn. This team works well together and learns from each other’s strengths. We have regular conference calls dedicated to sharing best practices and information; if someone attends a conference, or experiences and solves a challenge in an innovative way, these calls are their space to share with each other and grow professionally.

I am also proud of the work we have done surrounding continuing education internally with other functions and teams within BGRS, helping them be more effective at working across cultures themselves as well as helping our clients. We collaborate with Client Services, helping them learn from their experiences with assignees as well as keeping them updated on our programs and services.

What is the most rewarding, or memorable, aspect of working on the Intercultural team? 

Brenda: The opportunity to learn. Anytime I have the opportunity to sit in on training we are doing for one of our clients, I learn something too and seeing our clients have those “aha” moments is rewarding.

Here is a great example; we had a client that was considering using our services, but was hesitant. We offered to do some sample training for them in order to demonstrate our value and provide a first-hand experience of how the employees can benefit. We did a mock half-day session and during the training we were able to help the client contact reflect on the learning and adjustments that he and his family had gone through during their own relocation to the U.S. without any training. Helping him to build his own awareness really helped him to see how the training would benefit their transferees and families as well. The client found the session very valuable, saying they found it engaging and informative; they were thrilled to move ahead with intercultural training as an offering in their mobility program.