What Drives Mobility Transformation?

Transformation is sweeping across Human Resources (HR) and Talent Mobility. But what is driving mobility transformation? Are the forces for change primarily external? Or do internal factors have more of an influence?

External Drivers

Over the last ten years, companies in most industries have seen dramatic changes in their business environments. And while the shift in the global economy has been dramatic, it is the growing need to operate internationally and the changes in workforce demographic that are demanding a new approach to talent mobility. According to the 2017 Talent Mobility Trends Survey, 20 percent of respondents say the external economic environment is the primary external driver for mobility transformation. As the global economic landscape continues to fluctuate, a focus on cost containment may become even more critical, and, like other areas of the business, Talent Mobility will also need to evolve to drive efficiencies.

Another reason companies are changing the way mobility is managed is in response to changing employee demographics. The profile of “today’s mobile worker” is diversifying and year-over-year a successful career progression demands global experience, so companies are investing in change initiatives. They are adapting their programs to attract candidates of choice and enable future leadership development.

Interestingly, the top response from survey respondents, 47 percent, indicates that the primary driver for change in managing mobility is not external, but internal. Changes within the company, such as strategy changes or business realignments are more likely to drive change than external forces.

Internal Drivers

As talent mobility leaders look to better align their functions with the overall company objectives, they need to be increasingly responsive to their internal business landscape. Most survey respondents, 30 percent, say the primary internal driver for mobility transformation is a shift in business strategy. To enable global growth and to fill the global talent pipeline, companies need to continue to move employees across borders. Yet, as business strategies shift, Talent Mobility must adapt and change the way employee mobility is managed.

The second most common response, from 15 percent of survey respondents, indicates that transformation in other parts of the business is the primary internal driver for change in the mobility function. There is an increased sense of urgency to alter HR as a function, with their primary remit to align with overall business strategy, develop innovative talent strategies and help business leaders achieve their objectives. Many companies undergoing mobility transformation are doing so as part of a larger HR transformation initiative. In these cases, talent mobility leaders can leverage momentum as well as processes, resources and expertise for success throughout the change management process.

Moreover, 11 percent indicates that shifting reasons for talent mobility is another common internal driver of change. Increasingly companies are leveraging talent mobility as an enabler instead of solely addressing skills gaps. Accordingly, talent mobility functions need to adapt their programs to meet this new purpose.

For a majority of companies, regardless of whether the driver for change is external or internal Talent Mobility has reached a critical juncture. Talent mobility is increasingly visible and change is unavoidable.

Visit the 2017 Talent Mobility Trends Survey microsite to learn more about how mobility is transforming in today’s organizations.