Using Data to Demonstrate Mobility’s Value

As Human Resources evolves and further aligns their primary remit with the overall business strategy, talent mobility’s role in, and contribution to, the organization’s wider success is more critical. To cement mobility on a company’s talent agenda, however, talent mobility leaders need to speak quantitatively to mobility’s value.

While career promotions and retention rates are two valuable measurements, Talent Mobility can offer greater context surrounding these important indicators. BGRS’s Talent Mobility Trends Survey found that 38 percent of respondents do not know the overall employee attrition/retention rate in their organization, and 31 percent do not know the attrition/retention rate for their mobile employees one year after assignment completion. Furthermore, 57 percent cannot quantify their overall employee population’s career promotion rate and 51 percent do not measure the rate for their mobile employees.

For talent mobility leaders with accurate retention and career promotion data, an interesting story emerges. According to the Talent Mobility Trends Survey, companies reportedly making changes to their mobility programs find a higher attrition rate for mobile employees than their overall employees (16 percent vs. 15 percent, respectively). Companies invest significant resources in selecting employees and sending them on international assignments. Increasingly, organizations are holding talent mobility accountable for retaining international assignees and the skills they gain while on assignment for the company’s benefit and thereby returning the significant onset investment.

International assignment experience can have a positive effect on employees’ careers, advancing high-potential talent into progressively more complex roles in the company, but talent mobility leaders need to demonstrate the correlation. According to the Talent Mobility Trends Survey, career progression, mobile talent and transformation may be associated and demonstrate a cause and effect relationship. Specifically, companies making changes to the way mobility is managed have a higher average career promotion rate for their mobile employees than for their overall employee population (26 percent vs. 21 percent, respectively). These companies promote mobile employees faster in comparison to the overall employee population. On the other hand, for companies not making changes to their mobility programs, the story is dramatically different. Mobile employees are not promoted nearly as quickly as the overall employee population (14 percent vs. 22 percent, respectively). This variance likely implies companies making changes to the way mobility is managed already view mobility as a driver to broader organizational success. In fact, 63 percent of companies report mobility as being on their organization’s senior leadership agenda. Whereas, companies not making changes to mobility may not fully realize the value of their globally mobile population.

Many talent mobility leaders understand the benefit of demonstrating mobility’s intrinsic value to the rest of the organization. In making the case for change, 53 percent of survey respondents include soft costs, such as attrition rates and performance data, when building the business case for change. For those leaders without the proper line of sight into retention and career progression rates, aligning closer to the talent mobility function will be the first critical step to bridging the gap.