Managing uncertainty: the Global Mobility experts' view

Covid-19 has accentuated longstanding uncertainties around trade pacts and talent mobility, as conversations with our global community show. These challenges are demanding new levels of agility, especially around the link between employee wellbeing and business health.

Light bulb and brain illustrating an article about managing uncertainty
Think Global People Autumn 2020 issue
This article is taken from the first issue of Think Global People, the new home of Relocate Magazine.
Click on the cover to access the digital edition or read all of the articles on our website.
We asked relocation management companies, destination service providers and other key mobility service suppliers with a US focus to tell us how they see the post-pandemic situation unfolding. For global mobility company Aires, its July Pulse survey found that while overall assignment acceptance rates were stable in the near-term, 41% of survey respondents believe their mobility programmes and talent acquisition will be negatively impacted by the European travel ban. A further 74% believe the suspension of US work visas will harm their programmes. “Many employers believe these acts may negatively impact their ability to fill critical talent needs within their organisations,” says the report, Covid-19 Update: Moving Forward.Oliver Browne, Manager of ECA International's remuneration team also calls out the current anxieties facing international managers and leaders. “The global situation is still uncertain with the prospect of sudden changes in regulations causing difficulties in planning new assignments. The majority of participants felt their organisation had handled the issues well so far. This experience will be vital in adapting to the ever-changing global landscape.””As concerns around managing the basics of repatriation and remote working have subsided, the issue of talent mobility, tax and compliance remain key challenges. 

A people-centred future?

For Lisa Johnson of Crown World Mobility, there can be no return to business as usual. “Companies that look to ‘return to normal’ will fall behind. Companies that look to reprioritise, innovate, embrace the uncomfortable and update will be at an advantage,” she notes, citing May 2020’s Crown survey of more than 100 Global Mobility professionals.Interestingly, the report asked for examples of “silver linings” coming out of this pandemic. One participant said, “I think organisations for whom mobility was a second thought and just added onto an HR or recruiter role will have suffered for not having the right talent leading the mobility function during this time.”Au20-in-text-bannerFor Lisa Johnson, “One of the most exciting possibilities I am seeing emerge from 2020 is that our industry’s creative responses to the impact of the global pandemic are also coming within the context of a genuine commitment from companies to make real headway with equality and inclusion due to today’s pressing social justice movement.”

Building resilience

Social responsibility is becoming all the more important to business, especially in the global mobility context. Yet if we are asking people to get used to being comfortable with uncertainty, then it’s imperative our community supports people to build resilience, as a new MetLife report on globally mobile employees published at the end of July finds.The survey shows expatriate employees are struggling more than their non globally-mobile counterparts in the current pandemic. Only 50% feel their employer provided them with benefits to meet their needs.Globally mobile employees – defined by MetLife as expatriates and inpatriates with ties to the US – who report feeling mentally, socially, financially and physically healthy are drastically more likely to report feeling productive (88% versus 26%), successful (88% versus 20%) and loyal (90% versus 39%) compared to globally mobile employees who are not healthy on any aspect.Future-fit-in-text-banner3This is something Brenda Levis, President of US destination service provider NYC Navigator, also picked up on during Relocate Global’s Family Focus and Education webinar. Her experience and examples show how the personal touch for individuals on assignments during lockdown in the US made the difference to their experience of being on assignment.
Think Global People Autumn 2020 issue
This article is taken from the first issue of Think Global People, the new home of Relocate Magazine.
Click on the cover to access the digital edition or read all of the articles on our website.

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