How global talent mobility is powering the future of work

If there’s anything that Covid-19 has shown us, it is that managing talent today is truly a global endeavour.

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Summer Issue 2020 cover image
This article is taken from the latest issue of Relocate magazine – the must read for HR, global managers and relocation professionals.
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When the pandemic hit, multinational companies quickly realised they had no way of clicking a button and seeing a single dashboard that gave an accurate representation of their global employee footprint. And we’re not just talking about who works in a given office, but who was on assignment in another location, or even who has traveled to an impacted area in the past two weeks. This isn’t too surprising given that the typical global enterprise organisation still has highly fragmented employee data spread across a patchwork of systems. And even those with a single global system of record for employment data are often missing a real-time lens on location and travel history.The Covid-19 crisis didn’t create this problem – it merely brought it to light, quite starkly.Delivering an increasingly global talent strategy isn’t easy – and knowing where your employees are is just one piece missing in the global talent puzzle. As we look to a future of work where teams rapidly form and reform to complete strategic tasks, business and HR managers need to quickly evaluate scenarios and make decisions about the best way to fill roles in order to have the right person, in the right place, at the right time.To move into a world where these questions can be answered in a matter of minutes, you need a technology solution that approaches talent management with a truly global perspective. You need a platform that can connect across every HCM, payroll system, and ATS across an organisation as well as with a global set of relocation service providers.Summer-Issue-in-text-banner1That’s exactly what Topia has built with our new Global Talent Mobility platform, Topia One.As businesses expanded internationally, employees working outside of their “home” locations have become the norm rather than the exception. And in many cases, companies needed to look internationally to fill talent pipelines and then have to relocate new staff to critical locations. While there are plenty of travel management systems, relocation vendors, and service providers, these have only solved the logistical problem ofgetting employees and their belongings from Point A to Point B.To this end, the strategic aspect of talent mobility has largely been unaddressed, leaving companies and mobility programs to create their own DIY approach with mixed results. Strategic talent placement – getting the right talent to the right place – has been mostly a guessing game and tracking outcomes for both the business and the employee has been a challenge. Spreadsheets and point solutions have offered extremely limited visibility into the global talent landscape, and labor and tax compliance has been difficult at best. All of this has made it nearly impossible to accurately budget and forecast, much less proactively control, mobility costs.At Topia, we set out to create a solution that addressed these global talent management challenges from the perspective avenue that can only be done through global mobility. The result was creating an entirely new category of HR tech – Global Talent Mobility – and a standard-bearer for the category with Topia One, the first cloud-based, open platform that provides a comprehensive, strategic and extensible solution to power the future ofglobal work.In this new global normal, enterprises that want a competitive advantage will need the ability to:
  • Know their global employee footprint at all times
  • Stay proactive with compliance risks to avoid being caught off guard
  • Execute talent planning at a global scale, understanding the complex cross-border cost of options
  • Stay agile with continuous adjustments, scenario planning and fluid teaming models
  • Benchmark their talent strategy across multiple geographies, eliminating data silos and inconsistencies for better business intelligence
  • Enhance employee experience by providing visibility, communication, and support for globally mobile employees
  • Accommodate increasingly complex work arrangements with staff regularly working from multiple locations across state and international lines
Global mobility teams are in a unique position to step up and provide these capabilities to an organisation. As it stands, global mobility is already responsible for a lot. Mobility teams are asked to oversee many types of mobile employees from short term assignments to permanent transfers to business travel. They ensure global compliance, instruct global payrolls, impact employee development, attraction, retention, and as Covid-19 has shown, play a significant role in employee health and safety. Global mobility teams sit in a unique position to touch almost every element ofthe talent lifecycle. It’s only natural that the next phase of talent mobility is one as a central component of global talent strategy and the future of work. But this is only possible with the right technology solution underpinning the modern global mobility program.The Topia One platform, along with the new versions ofTopia’s applications, enables mobility teams to be that strategic partner to the business by:
  • Creating a single source of data for the agile, mobile workforce
  • Driving efficient, scalable mobility programs through intelligent automation
  • Providing industry insights, benchmarking, and best practice analytics
  • Managing risk and compliance across global jurisdictions
  • Helping companies attract, develop, and retain their talent across locations
  • Supporting all types of mobility – from a short business trip to a multi-year assignment
2020 will be an outlier year in mobility with borders closed for so much of it, but global talent mobility shows no sign of slowing down as the world opens back up. The need to put the right talent in the right place is still there. And, as the economy hums back to life in the wake of broad lockdowns, companies are already gearing up to pull the trigger on strategic moves.But the Covid-19 crisis has, in dramatic fashion, exposed huge gaps in global talent management for even the largest and most sophisticated companies. Simultaneously, it also provided a unique opportunity to fix the problem. Now that we recognise global talent management isn’t just about business strategy but also about protecting the health, safety and welfare of our employees, we must fill those gaps before the next crisis arises.This comprehensive approach to global talent management will change the way companies leverage talent in the future and provide the platform for building a truly global talent strategy.

About the Author

Steve Black is the Chief Strategy Officer at Topia . Since co-founding Topia in 2011, Steve has been there to see the company grow from a small London-based startup to an award-winning Global Talent Mobility platform supporting organisations around the world.At Topia, Steve leads strategic initiatives leveraging deep industry and customer insight. An expatriate himself, Steve understands the challenges of moving abroad and is dedicated to ensuring that everything done at Topia is in the best interest of its customers.


Topia is the leader in Global Talent Mobility. We empower enterprise HR teams to deploy, manage and engage employees anywhere in the world. The Topia Global Talent Mobility platform enables businesses to deliver mobility as part of a broader talent and business strategy with enhanced employee experiences. This drives competitive advantage by ensuring the right people in the right place at the right time. The Topia platform automates the entire global talent mobility process, from scenario-based planning, compliance risk management, expat payroll, business travel, reporting and more.
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