Optamor Director of Client Services, Claire Proudlove invites you to grab a quick cuppa while she ponders...
Global Mobility in a Modern Age
Join the debate, share your views and hear the thoughts of other organisations on this subject in Optamor QI.
The Global Mobility in a Modern Age debate
In recent years numerous companies have experienced “significant growth in the international mobility of their workforce as employees move between markets to meet business objectives” as noted by the Oasis HR Think Tank.
It is recognised that employee populations are the most diverse they have ever been with regards to both personal circumstances and background. Organisations need to consider whether traditional working practices and assignments suit the needs of both their evolving employee base and those who will become employees of their business in the future. As the Oasis HR Think Tank rightly stated, “whilst traditional assignment approaches remain relevant, technology has evolved to a place where individuals can work on a more flexible basis and adopt a ‘virtual role’ working across geographies.”
Have you considered this within your own organisation? What impact will flexible and global working requests and practices have on your business, your management of both people and projects and the employee welfare of your teams? It is widely recognised that this approach can support the in country familial and commuting issues faced, but have you considered that this approach can also span countries and continents which could assist in the war on talent that we are currently experiencing in the UK?
This approach can have many positive benefits to your organisation, but it also has its challenges. So what are the business drivers? What do you need to think about and get right when considering this approach? Firstly above all else what is your objective? Why is having employee mobility and virtualisation important to your business? Have you scoped out what success looks like? Is it sustainable or is it a reaction to a business challenge you do not think you can currently overcome without taking this approach?
Have you considered global technology issues? Can your teams operate in an effective and joined up manner no matter where they are based? Can they access your servers, your data and each other in an efficient way? Will this minimise the impact of global travel and assignments and the costs associated with it?
As the Oasis HR Think Tank discussed, will operating in this way allow you to remain commercially competitive once you have taken into account the “costs, taxes and social security implications associated with these assignments? Each case needs to be defined to ensure the employee is having the right allowances that suit them but do not cost the business unnecessarily.”
It is also important to consider what your organisation considers to be global mobility, how is it defined? What rules of engagement are there for flexible “commuter” working, business travellers and the more formal short or long term assignments? Are these definitions supported both operationally and strategically? Do you have appropriate HR and employee policies and do you have the correct allowances in place? Clear guidelines are essential for a smooth operational process which is clear to all users and links to the relevant internal procedures.
As previously noted, employee welfare is also a key consideration for HR for any employee on assignment. Have you looked at the cultural awareness piece? Do you understand the rigours of international assignments and the impact on your teams? As providers of cultural awareness training to our clients, Optamor fully appreciate the operational and personal impact that this can have if it has not been considered and undertaken prior to travel. When team members are on short term assignments this support is often overlooked in favour of those longer term engagements. Some businesses will see this expenditure on short term assignments as an unnecessary additional cost, but what is the impact and cost if the assignment is not successful? It is fair to say that education and training is a key element of any successful mobility project.
So how do you measure the success of your global mobility project? What does good look like for your organisation?
A clear objective and scope is essential. In conjunction with a simple, streamlined approach, an operational and HR structure that is able to provide clear policies, advice and guidance, management of risk and data analytics from both an employee and assignment perspective.
Our Optamor sponsored Think Tank raises some interesting views on this subject. Read the Executive Summary
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