The global mobility landscape is rapidly evolving, and mobility and HR professionals need to stay ahead of the curve. The past few years forced us to adjust to the new normal after all the disruptions caused by the pandemic, including stress, burnout, disengagement, lower job satisfaction, and higher job demands.
As the new year gets fully underway, it’s essential for global workforces to start laying their plans for 2023. Whether you are managing a remote workforce or tracking employee relocations on an international scale, you have likely noticed that regulations can change just as quickly as labor markets and technological advancements. As such, ensuring success during this time of transition is paramount for organizations and their global mobility programs.
Based on ongoing challenges and how global mobility has evolved, we can predict what trends will drive next year’s HR and mobility management teams. As 2023 continues to unfold, global mobility teams need to prioritize three key areas in order to thrive in the new year: developing firm policies to best manage remote workforces, keeping current staff and landing the most desirable candidates, and supporting the employees and families who are relocating.
Remote Work Is Here to Stay
The biggest change over the past 2 years, regardless of industry and location, has been the shift to remote and hybrid working, despite some resistance from businesses. A Deloitte study found three out of five workers who shifted to remote positions during the pandemic plan to continue working remotely. A 2022 survey by Cisco found that 78% of respondents said remote and hybrid work improved their overall well-being, and 79% of respondents said working remotely improved their work/life balance.
Remote working and virtual assignments have not replaced more traditional international assignment types but are adding an additional layer of complexity and pressure on global mobility teams to provide more flexible and cost-effective solutions. With remote work’s own complications, companies are going to have to develop firm policies around how compensation is calculated for remote workers. A few examples of how companies are compensating or managing their remote workforces include linking the pay of their remote employees to their location, keeping pay the same for all employees, and paying based on the location of their company’s headquarters and moving toward a national pay scale.
Remote work isn’t going anywhere, so the companies that enacted a temporary remote work policy in 2020 need to solidify their policies and plans and add them to their HR handbook for good. Using global mobility tech makes it easier than ever to manage every type of work scenario, including long- and short-term assignments, permanent transfers, commuters, project workers, and remote team members. It also allows you to implement remote work and relocation policies by allowing you to track area-specific laws and tax codes, as well as employee well-being and performance.
War for Talent Surges On
There is a lot of competition for skilled workers, and many companies have had to change their hiring policies to prioritize keeping current staff and also land the most desirable candidates for open positions. Companies are now more focused on their employees’ long-term commitment, and overseas assignments are being used as an incentive to foster personal and professional development and fulfillment. Many Americans are moving abroad for the opportunity to reduce living costs without compromising their quality of life.
With this shift, the war for talent surges on. Talent management is a key factor in any company’s success. In order to maintain a healthy workforce, employers need to consider how they can keep their employees longer by offering them opportunities for personal development and professional growth. From leveraging mobility to attract top talent to getting control of where your employees are in the world to ensure safety and compliance, this is a timely consideration.
Assignments Are About the Whole Family and Work-Life Balance
With the number of overseas assignments increasing after a pandemic-fueled halt, the assignee experience is also evolving. When relocating employees, employers never considered how it would affect more than just the employee. Relocation can turn an entire family’s world upside down—spouses, children, and even pets. But businesses are now placing more importance on the whole family unit rather than just the assignee’s well-being.
When assignees agree to make a long-term move, they want more support on arrival, such as help to learn a new language, assistance finding schools, and other cultural assistance to ease their transition. Support for spouses looking for jobs, new schools for children, and what vaccines may be required for pets are just a few additional examples of what global mobility teams have to be prepared to facilitate in 2023 and beyond. The good news is that global mobility tech platforms exist and provide this granular support for workforce management professionals at the click of a button.
With all this change, the need for digital innovation to improve the performance of global mobility has never been greater. Mobility is playing a more critical role in organizations in the deployment of all types of mobile employees, and international mobility is seen as an opportunity not just for the chosen few but also potentially for the entire workforce.
Embracing technology to improve program management, cost minimization, and data analytics is crucial in 2023. Developing a business case for and investing in a technology solution will free up valuable resources and enable mobility teams to focus on more strategic areas. Selecting the right tool depending on the size and complexity of the assignee population will enable scalability, improve speed to deployment, and provide valuable cost insights to leadership. Each stage of the assignment life cycle will benefit from technology enhancements, as well as improving the assignee experience.
The future of global mobility is bright. With the right strategy and technology partner and platform, employers can take advantage of these trends and improve their company’s global mobility success. Keeping up is one step forward, but getting ahead of the trends is even better. Now is the time to act.
Alan Bell is the SVP of Solutions Consulting at Equus Software, a solutions provider for global mobility management. Equus’s flagship mobility management solution, AssignmentPro, enables Fortune 500 and 100 companies to track and manage employees working remotely (domestic and international) while staying compliant with all laws and tax codes.