Winner of the 2018 Relocate Award for Best International HR or Mobility Initiative

Winner of the 2018 Relocate Award for Best International HR or Mobility Initiative


Sponsored by: SantaFe

Above: John Beck (sponsor), Selina Jones-May


In recent years, the global mobility buzz has been about strategic alignment with the business. Winners of the 2018 Best International HR or Mobility Initiative Award, the global mobility team at WorleyParsons, achieve exactly this and more – with stunning outcomes.

Placing mobility expertise at the heart of the organisation, WorleyParsons rightly regards its mobility team as a high value-added service. It is fundamental to maximising opportunities of winning new work and optimising revenues for existing client contracts.

For Selina Jones-May, group director of mobility and global people projects, and her remote team of nine colleagues in four countries, this high-stakes role demands exemplary levels of agility, dedication and diligence. “It is our job to provide solutions-oriented advice to the business on how they can meet the client’s objectives commercially and compliantly,” says Ms Jones-May. “Due to the high proportion of international talent leading and managing the projects, our role is pivotal to ensuring the company’s future success.”

Mobility is the foundation of the business to the degree that the team partners directly with WorleyParsons’ commercial teams to take the lead for the People function in each phase of the commercial bid process. Its input ensures bids are competitive, structured to address compliance considerations appropriately and upfront, and to deliver workable margins.

Raising the bar higher

This lean, integrated approach is impressive enough. However, the Relocate Awards judges highlighted mobility’s pivotal role in helping deliver WorleyParsons’ successful response to demanding external economic conditions with its Realise Our Future efficiency programme which generated AUD 500 million in overhead cost savings.

Through this cost-management initiative, the mobility team again demonstrated its agility and value to the business by making significant sustainable programme cost savings in a short timeframe while maintaining the same service levels for assignees and the business.

Read about the winners of the other Relocate Awards in the Summer issue of Relocate Magazine.

“Our mobility team worked proactively and tenaciously to deliver solutions,” says Ms Jones-May. “We considerably exceeded the targets we were set and have also directly addressed the company’s focus on building a sustainable future.”

Stepping outside comfort zones to deliver transformation

The mobility team achieved these impressive savings primarily by utilising market and peer benchmarks to deliver policy and benefits refinements. These changes are set to deliver further savings in the years ahead, following the team’s rollout of a revised policy framework after comprehensive programme renegotiation of all mobility vendor contracts worldwide. In the process, the mobility team have ensured service levels with external providers are retained and have designed more streamlined, efficient processes.

“Responding to Realise Our Future, we delivered a commercial, innovative, cost-effective programme that continues to maximise the company’s ROI,” adds Ms Jones-May.

“We achieved this within incredibly aggressive timelines, with a core objective of ensuring service delivery to the business and assignees were not impacted.”


Furthermore, by stepping outside of global mobility’s typical remit, WorleyParsons’ mobility team has implemented a more integrated centrally managed benefits strategy and more proactive global approach to purchasing employee benefits insurances.

WorleyParsons is now therefore leveraging the financial and administrative benefits of global consolidation of expatriate medical healthcare provision and employee benefit insurances pooling following the transition to new expatriate private medical insurance healthcare provider and the appointment of a global employee benefits insurance broker.

Showing mobility’s value to the business

Mindful of the daunting scale of the challenge, and the inspiring savings and efficiencies the mobility team have secured (especially given the relatively small team, 400-strong expatriate population in 42 countries and timescale demanded by the Realise Our Future programme), the team received great recognition of their achievements from WorleyParsons’ senior leadership and executives.

Ms Jones-May’s personal leadership was recognised by senior stakeholders as “the kind of leadership that we love to encourage throughout the organisation,” adding that by “being willing to take on issues that are not necessarily ‘her problem’, she showed great initiative to own the issue and push for a great outcome.”

Feedback from the business also praised the mobility team’s “key contribution towards the company’s efficiency and effectiveness initiatives,” as well as how team members “engaged with their business management and external supply chain to identify cost savings on both a macro and micro level.”

Aligning talent and business needs

Critically, the efficiencies and changes were implemented with minimal negative impact to WorleyParsons’ mobile workforce, who are vital for delivering client projects. Ninety per cent of the company’s largely rotational, unaccompanied assignments are skills deployment-based for client projects – often at short notice. Getting assignments right first time is critical for competitive advantage.

“Our assignments are predominantly and increasingly into remote and challenging locations,” says Ms Jones-May. “These projects are the lifeline of our business so it’s critical our core talent is willing to relocate anywhere our clients demand, subject to our security procedures, of course.”

Here again, the mobility team highlighted its strategic alignment with the people function and the wider business partners. The team collaborates proactively with broader stakeholders in security, legal, tax and immigration to carry out the necessary due diligence before seeking board approval to expand into new countries so it is involved right from the start of new projects. This aspect of the mobility team’s approach is fundamental to gaining assignees’ trust and engagement.

“Implementing the correct structure increases potential assignees’ willingness to mobilise,” explains Ms Jones-May. “This framework and approach not only ensures the welfare and safety of our people, but it also delivers a positive assignee experience post deployment.” And with it, the business’s future success given its reliance on people with in-demand and often highly technical skills.

Responding with agility

As with all lean, agile businesses, WorleyParsons’ employee-focus continues to look to the future and a shift towards continuous improvement as a key element of company culture.

One aspect of this is WorleyParsons’ recognition that its assignee demographic is predominantly male and older, as is typical in this industry sector. Recognising the challenges this presents in terms of addressing demographic risks and the company’s continued ability to respond to commercial opportunities, the board has announced targets aimed at making the company more diverse and inclusive.

These goals mark the beginning of new commercial and practical solutions being developed by the mobility team and the need for agile responses to ongoing changes in the marketplace.

“We are working on several new initiatives to support the continual enhancement of our competitive position as the market shows signs of recovery,” says Ms Jones-May.

For a high-performing mobility team working across time zones and international borders, these challenges are business as usual. “While our mobility team is extremely lean and most of us have never met due to longstanding travel bans, we have an incredible team spirit,” she adds.

“We collaborate as one global team to deliver the best results for our company. Using technology and being dedicated to work across all time zones, we set a strong example of how a mobility function should operate in today and tomorrow’s working world”. A sentiment the judges are in absolute agreement with.

About WorleyParsons:

WorleyParsons is an Australian headquartered company with 25,000 employees across 42 countries globally. The company delivers projects, provides expertise in engineering, procurement and construction and offers a wide range of consulting and advisory services. We cover the full lifecycle, from creating new assets to sustaining and enhancing operating assets, in the hydrocarbons, mineral, metals, chemicals and infrastructure sectors. Our resources and energy are focused on responding to and meeting the needs of our customers over the long term and thereby creating value for our shareholders. WorleyParsons is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

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©2018. This article first appeared in the Summer 2018 edition of Relocate magazine, published by Profile Locations, Spray Hill, Hastings Road, Lamberhurst, Kent TN3 8JB. All rights reserved. This publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of Profile Locations. Profile Locations accepts no liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein.