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Webinar | Aligning Mobility Strategy to Support Business and Talent Objectives

Domestic and global mobility strategy must align with the growth and talent strategy of the organization.  Global and domestic deployment of talent/resources should be thoughtful and should look to pair the right person with the right opportunity to the right place. Join SIRVA’s Taryn Kramer and Jill McDonald as we explore strategic enhancements to mobility programs and policies to maximize the company and employee experience. 


Taryn Kramer
Vice President, Global Consulting
SIRVA Worldwide Relocation & Moving

Jill McDonald
Vice President, Policy Consulting
SIRVA Worldwide Relocation & Moving

Scroll down to the bottom and click "Download" to access the slides

Scroll down to the bottom and click "Download" to access the slides 

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION (starting at 05:11)

Taryn: Thanks, Allison. And thank you, everyone, for joining us today. We're gonna kick off and talk a bit about the evolution of mobility, followed then by mobility strategy, mobility and talent integration, and enhancing the value of mobility. We hope that you walk away today with some thoughts on how to better partner within your organization and some of the questions and discussions that you can really drive to better align your mobility program with the organizational talent and business growth priorities.

The Evolution of Mobility

Demographic and Geographic Shifts

So we'll start with the evolution of mobility. You know, mobility has very historically been very operational in nature. It's a function that predominantly focuses on facilitating the movement of people from one point to another whether domestically or globally. That landscape is shifting a little bit in today's current world as we focus on some key areas and challenges which we'll touch on briefly right now. Some of those are demographic and geographic in nature.

Traditional assignment types remain on the decline. And when we say traditional assignment types, we're talking predominantly about long-term, short-term, and permanent relocation. Those are not going away. We're just shifting the way, the mix of those within mobility programs. Companies are extending their program suites to accommodate alternate assignment and relocation types such as extended business travelers, commuters, and virtual assignments. Policies and processes are being developed to support these alternate assignment types, recognizing the varying demographics, within that population as well as the varying geography that may make up your mobility population today.

Organizations are importing and exporting talents from new locations, and a one-size-fits-all approach is very quickly being replaced with targeted policies that acknowledge and recognize the differences in home and host destinations for each program type as well as I said the varying demographics within each program type.

Technological Breakthroughs and Data Analytics 

When we talk about technology breakthroughs and data analytics, we've all heard a lot about big data and the role that it can play in mobility in proactively supporting initiatives for mobility to really recognize where there are some upcoming potential resource gaps, and also providing some insights to where mobility is most successful and where there are some challenges.

Companies and service providers continue to make significant investments into employee-facing and program-enabling technologies. Companies are recognizing the increased value that data analytics can provide to a program not only with regard to management reporting. So understanding who you have in your population, where they are, where they came from, and how long they're out there but also in relationship predictive modeling to gain insight, to resource needs, talent, and demographic shift, and relocation success factors.

Risk Detection and Management

Risk detection and management is a key and critical item that I'm sure we're all hearing a lot about in today's world. A lot of the recent changes around immigration requirements and considerations have really prompted a big focus on how to best manage and mitigate risk related to the folks that are crossing borders. The continued rise of alternate mobility types such as short-term assignments and extended business travel paired with the increased focus on compliance, specifically tax and immigration, and a need for governments to generate additional revenue creates a big need for robust policies and procedures to identify, track, and monitor mobility populations both domestically and globally.

The uncertainty of political landscape really adds to the complexity of the issue. And organizations are recognizing a need to proactively develop remediation strategies for service providers. One of the hottest topics that we deal with today is around the extended business travelers and how you identify them and really get in front of them of the compliance requirements that they have before any risk is recognized.

You know, extended business travelers are one of the key ways that locations are looking to generate additional revenue. And so it's really important that you not only have a way to identify and track them but that you have policies and procedures in place to really manage them just as you would your more traditional long-term assignments.

Cost Rationalization

When we talk about cost rationalization, so mobility programs, continue to be dedicated to identifying and implementing policies and programs that really adapt to the ever-growing needs of the business and employees. We're seeing an increase in interest for core-flex type programs both domestically and globally, as well as more menu-driven programs that allow for complete package customization, based on individual employee and/or business needs.

Expanding Talent Pool

The expanding talent pool is a great thing for employees that are really looking to get some experience or exposure through mobility. But they're creating some complexities when it comes to managing programs. You're dealing with lots of different cultures, lots of different employee preferences, and ways of doing, and kind of managing those movements. So policies and processes are being developed to really support these alternate assignment types. Companies are importing and exporting talent from new locations. And again, the one-size-fits-all approach is really being replaced with more targeted policies that acknowledge the differences in home-host destinations, as well as employee preferences.


Translates very much into just customization, so developing employee support packages based on what the employee really needs versus a more general, you know, assignment type or package type as well as really putting some of the responsibility on the employee to be able to select what they need from company support, based on their priorities and their preferences.

It's an interesting way of doing mobility. It really offers a lot of flexibility for the employee and really provides, you know, puts them in the driver seat in terms of deciding what they need and what they don't need. For those of us in the relocation management space or the vendor space, it really adds a level of complexity in terms of how you manage. You potentially are managing individual moves that are very different from one to the next. So it's an interesting time directionally. I think it's the right approach and kind of where organizations are headed, but it does not come without challenges.

Mobility Strategy

We'll shift now a little bit to mobility strategy. So mobility is significant. I think those of us that have dialed into this session this morning recognize that. We live and breathe it on a daily basis. We know how important it is. We're dealing with, you know, individual employees that are packing up their lives and moving from one location to another. We see how critical it is to get that right from their perspective as well as from the company perspective. But, you know, the organizational leadership really recognizes or starting to recognize how significant mobility is, in terms of furthering business needs, as well as talent development needs.

We've seen employee or assigning levels increase by over 25% over the past decade. And for all relocation types, populations are expected to remain the same or increase in the next one to three years with significant increases when we start talking about short-term movements and then the addition of some alternate assignment types such as extended business traveler. That data comes from a 2017 survey, a SIRVA annual report that was just conducted as well as a report or some findings from PWC.

You know, mobility is not going away by any means. There are shifts as we'll talk about in terms of the types of movement that's happening, but mobility is definitely more frequent. We're getting more thoughtful around mobility, in terms of who we move in the level and nature of support that's provided to them. You know, it's also more complicated when we start talking about the different geographies that are involved, the demographics, and just some of the geopolitical challenges that exist.

POLL: Have you had discussions to understand the business and/or talent priorities of your organization?

So our first polling question, have you had discussions to understand the business and/or talent priorities of your organization? Yes, no, or not applicable. What we're really trying to understand here is how plugged into your organization you or your mobility team is, in terms of really understanding what the organizational priorities are in order to, once you understand what the organizational priorities are, it's much easier to define how mobility can then support those priorities.

So just trying to get a feel here on where people sit. I think it's very common that mobility is still primarily focused on the operations of the function. And so it's I'm not going to be surprised if the majority of responses here indicate no. But we'll talk through a bit later in the deck where there are some opportunities to really get involved in some of those conversations and to further them a bit. So the poll has ended.

Yup, oh well, surprisingly, so 57% of you have been involved in discussions, so that's great. You know, hopefully, some of the key strategies that we talk about or some of the ideas that we talk about a bit later in the deck to really further those discussions or to engage in those discussions will resonate with you. For the 20% that said no, hopefully, you'll get some thoughts and ideas here on how you can initiate and drive some of those discussions.

Link to Talent Management 

So, you know, the big buzz, right, is how you link mobility to talent management. You know, organizations are looking to define talent needs on a global enterprise-wide basis not just looking at local business unit needs. It's really taking a more comprehensive approach or view to talent and really, really reflecting that well, yes, there are some workforce planning initiatives that happen at that local level. The real benefit is when you have that view globally.

You know with this recent survey that SIRVA conducted, organizational growth and talent development were ranked as the highest priority for the organization, organizational growth at 38% and talent development at 22%. And talent development employee relocation was rated very important to the organization's overall success of business and talent strategy. When you look at how an organization will achieve organizational growth and talent development, you know, mobility is a key factor or a key driver behind that. So making sure that your mobility function is structured in such a way to support that, both through policy and process, is very critical. And, you know, organizational growth and talent development will not be successful if mobility is not part of that equation.

Program Maturity 

Compliance Risk Minimization

So when we talk about where mobility functions fall on a maturity scale, we have the kind of the far right which reflects mobility functions or programs that are focused primarily on compliance risk minimization so really focused on making sure that everyone is compliant, both from a tax perspective, as well as an immigration perspective. Hopefully, there are some mechanisms in place to really monitor compliance adherence with compliance requirements and potential risks so that you can proactively minimize some of those risks. Data security, obviously, is a big concern and a big consideration when you start talking about organizations that have global populations. So when you talk about maturity, that's kind of the basic and the foundation that we wanna see in all programs.

Consistent Service Delivery Efficiencies

Moving up the maturity spectrum, we have programs that are, you know, focused on consistent service delivery and efficiencies, so making sure that the program is running as efficiently and effectively as possible, making sure that where appropriate, the delivery of service is consistent, whether that's within region, within a certain location or globally using defined processes, tools, templates, having a very clear scope of services defined, and rules and responsibilities, leveraging technology and involving some performance management for internal teams and vendors so, you know, SLAs, KPIs, all of that.

Supporting Organizational Growth and Business Needs (Policy)

Also, on the kind of the same spectrum is supporting organizational growth and business needs, so really talking about policy here. Do you have defined policies that align to how the organization is using mobility and really provides support based on the needs of the business as they move people? Do you track exceptions and do you report on those exceptions to use that as a way to not only manage cost but also to have a check on your programs? Are they sufficient? Are you having excessive exceptions in one area that may indicate a need for some policy changes? And do you report on cost? Do you understand what your overall program costs are? Can you provide those reports out to the organization on a per location level or a per business unit level to really create and have some awareness around what the overall program costs are?

The majority of organizations will fall in kind of this middle level here. You have your focus on minimizing or eliminating the noise in your program so things are running smoothly, you know, you have well-defined policies that really provide support for your program with minimal or kind of managed exceptions. This is really where a lot of organizations kind of plateau out. You're comfortable here. You know, your program is running smoothly. You don't wanna rock the boat. You're not hearing a whole lot of noise from your employees or from your customers or users of mobility. Things are operating pretty well.

Integration of Talent and Mobility Strategies

The top level and where a lot of organizations I think would like to be, there's a lot of rhetoric around organizations being here, but there's challenges to get here, are in the kind of the real integration of talent and mobility strategy, so really demonstrating a partnership between the talent, function, or talent priorities of the organization which will include filling resource gaps in certain locations, as well as using mobility as a way to develop and retain and attract talent, so a real partnership between those priorities and the mobility function.

You know, here we would expect to see a global talent pool, where preferences for relocation are identified and monitored as part of potentially that your annual performance process, you're able to pull from that pool of talent, where you have resource gaps or needs. You understand how you need to develop your people and what to require to develop them whether that's a move outside of their home location domestically or an international move to really give that individual some experience and exposure that they need to advance their career, a strong focus on ROI or return on investment, well-defined ROI. Do we understand what we mean when we talk about ROI?

That will differ within an organization or from one organization to the next as well as post assignment retention, so really focusing on how you can, you know, recognize that mobility in any form is going to represent an investment in that employee. And in some cases, it's a significant investment for that employee. How do you really get the most benefit from that investment following the move? Have you clearly stated objectives for that move and are you tracking against those objectives during the assignment to make sure that the employee is accomplishing what you're intending for them to accomplish so that they can then run with that and I mean, really utilize that post assignment?

POLL: How would you rate the maturity of your mobility program based on the descriptions that we just went though?

So we have our second polling question coming up here. So how would you rate the maturity of your mobility program based on the descriptions that we just went through? So compliance risk minimization, is that where you sit? Consistent service delivery and efficiencies, supporting organizational growth and business needs, or integration of talent and mobility? You know, recognizing that a lot of you may kind of have a bit of trouble saying whether you fit in two or three. So I would say, you know, pick the one that you're kind of most comfortable with where you're really excelling, where you don't see a whole lot of issues or challenges.

We would expect to see the majority of you sitting in that two or three. I'm interested to see how many of you fall into that category 4. I think it'll be kind of a good indicator. A lot of what we'll focus on in the session today is really how you move in the direction of that category 4, the integration of talent and mobility strategies. For some organizations, it may not be a significant priority, but for the majority of organizations it is, that's why we hear so much of it, so yeah.

So 43% of you have indicated that you fall in that category 3 which is the supporting organizational growth and business needs or policy. 27% fall in that consistent service delivery and efficiencies, 14% are in that compliance risk minimization. You know, for those of you that gave that type of response, you know, hopefully, you can come away from today with some thoughts and ideas on how you can sort of move up that maturity scale a bit and really get focused on more policy and process consistency and really get some good things in place.

We have 9% of you, falling in that category 4, the integration of talent and mobility strategies. So that's good to see. You know, I think if we were to ask this question in a year or two years, hopefully, we see that moving a little bit towards a higher percentage in that integration of talent and mobility strategy.

Talent Management Strategy 

Kathy: Thanks, Taryn. As we begin to move into that space and design your talent management strategy in itself, it's really important that you start to ask yourself some questions. Really talk about your organizational talent strategy that your businesses have. And so it's like considering how do we measure return on investment for folks that we do send on an assignment or that we do choose to move? You know, how are our programs performing? Are we able to tell whether people are staying after they return back on their assignments? Are we able to tell whether or not the business objectives were met? With future leaders within the company, is it important that they have that overseas assignment experience today?

And that's really tying back into the business to understand the business need for the growth and the expansion. Our concepts of how our mobility program is set up, doesn't marry up with them and so the value that we place in our mobility program and what we're going to the business for sharing the value of the program to move people doesn't really marry up with their business objectives.

So when you take a look at the mobility department and aligning with talent it really starts with aligning with the organizational talent and understanding why your organization is moving people. And you may find that within your organization, different business lines have different philosophies on why they move people. You may find that by region, there's a different philosophy. And there may be different rules within the organization that have different needs as well.

So as you're looking at your company, are we looking to expand our company? Are we looking to grow? Are we looking to retain key talent and get them ready for the next positions? Or do we have resource gap? So it's really understanding the full business need and how the business is organizing in their talent to understand how your talent strategies should be in mobility to best support them. And that really leads into, the strategies that define your policies, and the policies that you have in place will support those initiatives of the business.

And it's important to understand that one size doesn't necessarily fit all, and it's important to listen to the business as far as what they're trying to achieve to make sure that the structure that you have in place for your policies is an easy process for the managers to determine how to support their expansion of their talent. A lot of times, we find that companies have or feel that there's a misalignment with the business, that the policy components don't support what they're trying to do with their businesses and with the people that they're trying to move. So it's really important that you understand what the business' perspective is so that your policies can support that. There's high expectations of the support that you're going to provide, and you wanna make sure that it meets their needs.

Then it's important to really take a look at how your mobility department is organized and how you're providing operational excellence. So the way that your program is set up today, you may be centralized in one location. You may have teams located in other locations around the world. You may have situations where you're doing operational work. You may have times where you're doing strategic work with the business. And it's the time now to take a look at the talent that you have in your mobility department to understand if I'm going to move towards a more strategic alignment of support for the business, do I have the right people in my department to facilitate that change for going from a more day-to-day operational kind of activities to a more strategic analytic opportunity with the business?

So then again, it's really important to look back to those organizational priorities of growth, expansion, key talent growth, the gaps to understand how best you can support the businesses with the way that your organization is set up. And sometimes, it really comes down to capacity as far as how much time your folks have and how much time you have to support the business and to make the decisions of how to best align your resources.

And it also comes down to understanding your partners and your vendors and what their key expertise is. There are maybe some activities that you're continuing to provide internally for the businesses that could be better supported by one of your vendors or partners that would free up your time to work more strategically with your businesses. And then that way, it creates a new brand for you, the value that you bring to the organization. And it's not something that happens overnight. It does require some time to take a look at how your organization is set up, how best to support them, and the start to make some plans so that your mobility team is structured to best support your new philosophy of aligning this with talent.

How Do I Engage In Strategy Discussions?

1.  Get Invited to the Table

So how do I engage in these initial discussions with the business? It really starts with getting invited to the table and being able to articulate well the value that your mobility department brings to the business. And sometimes, it's a hard task to do at first to get invited to the table. It can start with initially, you know, a group move or an acquisition or attending one of their monthly or quarterly meetings. Sometimes, it's coming just to listen. Sometimes, it's coming in with an announcement or a subject that would be good for the business to hear that it's really working to get that first introduction. And then typically, once you have that first introduction, you can start to build the relationships and become more involved so that you become more of a strategic partner with the business.

2.  Challenge the Status Quo

And then it's also up to you to challenge the status quo, you know. As you're at that plateau level with your programs, sometimes you know no noise is fine. And you don't wanna rock the boat. You don't wanna change anything, but it's really good to take a look at your programs to understand that one size does not fit all these days with how the businesses need to be supported. It's really important to take a look at how many exceptions do you have? How many times is the business going outside of your current program and policies? How many times has the business chosen not to go through mobility and chosen to try to move someone outside of mobility?

3.  Build a Business Case for Change

Understanding how they're using their program today will help you better understand some strategy discussions with the business so that you can create a program that is better supporting them. And through that, you build that change. You build the business case for why there needs to be change within the program and then again, you're building on your brand that you have within the company of the support that you're providing. 

Talent Driven Mobility

Taryn: We'll move into a discussion on mobility and talent integration. So this four-box I'm sure most of you have likely seen this. It's really articulating or I guess visually representing the thought that there's different value for different move types both for the employee as well as for the business. You can use mobility to develop your talent and you can sort of differentiate there between your kind of early mid-career talent and your more senior-level talent that's likely looking to get some experience so that they can progress to the next level within their career. You have people that raise their hands that say I'd love to go on an assignment or I'd love to transfer. You know, there's personal reasons or just from a personal perspective, that's how I want to grow my career. So you have people that raise their hand there and there's a potential need on that company level to support that.

There are some organizations that say, "If you raise your hand and wanna go, that's fine but we're not gonna offer you any support." And I think there's a little bit of a mixed perspective there on what the right thing to do is. And then you have your technical or project-based needs, where there's an immediate or a pending resource gap in a certain location, where a specific skill set is needed or a specific competency is needed and you need to fill that. You do not have a local resource that can fill that need, so you have to go ahead and import that talent in order to take care of that whether that's on a more permanent basis or whether it's just temporary until you can develop someone locally or find someone locally that can fill that need.

It moves away from looking at assignment or mobility support based solely on the duration of a move or the anticipated duration of a move. It's really considering some additional factors such as employee level, performance history, what the objectives of the move are, what are we looking to accomplish by moving this person? It really takes a multidimensional view of mobility. Historically, you've had, for example, a long-term assignment that's for anyone that's moving from three to five years. And regardless of the level of the employee within the organization, in theory, the package support would be the same for them.

So you would have someone that, you know, very senior in their career, who again, in theory, would receive the same level of support than someone that was three or four years into their career. And so this is really a shift away from that kind of one-size-fits-all based solely on intended duration and really looks to include some additional characteristics as you define what support is appropriate based on why the person's moving and whether that's driven from a developmental perspective or from a critical business need perspective.

Mobility Planning

You know, mobility planning, is key to this whole concept. Again, mobility I think has historically been very operationally-focused and that this approach or this theory doesn't change the need for that operational focus. But what it means is that mobility can play a more consultative role in decisions, around who to send, where to send them, and what support to provide to them. Mobility sits on a lot of information based on, you know, volumes of moves, and dealing with multiple jurisdictions, and understanding where there may be some challenges if you select one person for a move to a certain location over another. So really engaging, allowing mobility to be part of.

Being able to structure your mobility program in such a way that really supports that more consultative or that more strategic advisory service that mobility can provide. You wanna make sure that you have the right competencies in place within your mobility team. You wanna make sure that mobility is engaged as early in the process as needed. You know, so as soon as a need is identified by the business, either there's a resource gap or someone needs some additional experience in order to progress to the next level of their career, hopefully, that's when mobility is engaged.

And mobility can be a part of that conversation around what makes sense for that employee looking at the candidate profile and saying, you know, "A family of six is not going to do well in this location," or, "That's gonna be a significant cost to the business if you choose to move a family of that size." Is there a different location that the employee could move to that they would still get the same benefit from? Or is there a candidate that's better suited? You know, they have the appropriate skill set but just from a family perspective, they're more suited for the particular location where you need it.

One of the key things when it comes to really being able to integrate with talent is really defining the objectives of the assignment, so going through a formal process, where you articulate what you're looking to achieve through that move and being able to measure against those objectives throughout the assignment or the transfer period. You know, we talk a lot about ROI. We'll talk a little bit more about it later in the deck, but you can't even start to think about tracking ROI, I'm sorry, ROI if you don't actually define what ROI is and how you're gonna measure against that. And part of that is defining the objectives of the move.

Also defining the value proposition of the move, why do you need to move this individual? We hear a lot as we work with companies who are looking to make some changes to their mobility program that they often don't know why someone is being moved. You know, unfortunately, in some cases, it's because maybe there's a performance issue in the home location. And so, moving them to a different location is a way to kind of solve that problem for the home location.

Obviously, there's significant cost involved so you wanna make sure that you're moving your folks that are performing at a base level and so making sure you understand what's really driving that. Understanding if you're making a decision to provide someone with a very robust package versus a scaled-down package, why do you need to do that? Is that really required? What's driving the move? Are you anticipating some challenges in getting the individual to accept the move or the relocation? So really, why are you sending the person and why are you proposing to offer what you are? Just really getting to the bottom of that.

You know, mobility can really play a key role in identifying the appropriate mobility package. We have a lot of conversations around how do we, as a mobility function get people to move away from just making decisions based solely on cost. And that's really where, you know, if you can push back a little bit and get people to articulate why they're moving someone and kind of remove costs from that sort of decision process initially, if they are able to articulate why they're moving someone, you are able to create some structure that would then align a support that's provided based on the rationale for moving that person versus solely based on cost.

As I said, managing progress for the move against the stated objectives, you can only do that if you've defined the objectives in advance. So you wanna make sure that that's doing, that that's happening, being able to measure the success and then post-assignment being able to monitor career progression. So mobility planning goes beyond just, you know, getting the payroll set up and making sure that immigration is initiated. It really happens during the assignment or the relo as well as post-relocation.

POLL: Do you know how your organization defines return on investment?

So let's step into polling question number three. Do you know how your organization defines return on investment? And a very simple yes or no here. We recently did a survey that showed that 64% of organizations do not track ROI. Not really surprising, quite frankly. So it'll be interesting to see what the polling responses are. You know I think it's similar to kind of the rhetoric around aligning mobility and talent. I think there's a lot of talk about ROI. I think people recognize the value in defining and tracking ROI but it's a bit of that, it's a bit of a mystery in terms of how you do that.

So we'll share with you in our next slide some of those thoughts around how you can start to kind of get your organization to think like that and how you can be a part of that conversation and really the role that mobility can play to help facilitate some of that ROI tracking and some pretty creative ideas on how organizations are getting involved to really help the business to track and monitor ROI.

I think if mobility is in a position to be able to drive some of that ROI conversation it makes selling the involvement of mobility early on in the process a lot easier. If you can articulate and say it's really important that you get the most out of the investment that you're making, you're able to as a mobility team, you are able to articulate why you should be involved very early on to help make some of those decisions to really drive up that ROI.

So yeah, and not surprisingly, 73% of you don't know how your organization defines return on investment. You know, my guess is that a lot of organizations don't know themselves how to define return on investment. So not surprising at all that there's a lack of information I guess in terms of how that's defined. So we'll go through some ideas on how you really can facilitate that.

Return on Investment


Kathy: Thanks, Taryn. To define ROI, there are some questions that you and mobility can start to ask that, kind of, opens up the discussion with the business. And it really starts with defining the role of the person that moved because, again, one size will not fit all in some cases for defining whether an assignment was a success. So if you have someone that is going over to fill a gap in employment because someone's gone on maternity leave, that successful assignment is very different from a project where you have 18 months to complete an implementation and you finished it in 12 months. So it really comes down to taking a look at the types of moves you have, why you're moving people, and then identifying with the business what makes that move successful for the business.


It's not just that the move was completed or it was completed early, but there's more key indicators that can be gathered from the business at the beginning of assignment to understand why someone is being sent and then measuring that at the end of the assignment. But it's also important to not forget about the employee because the success of the assignment also has initiatives for the employee. They have goals as far as why they chose to take the assignment. So I really find that it's important to start to think about why the business is moving the employee, why the employee has chose to go on the assignment and marry that up at the end of the assignment to see if employee met their goals for why they went on assignment and whether the business goals were achieved as well.

And the goals can be revenue-based. So if there was the idea that this person is going on assignment to generate more revenue in a region as far as expansion that could be one way of measuring success. If the project was slated for 18 months and it only took 12 months to complete the project that can be a success because we didn't have to have our folks out in the field for the full 18 months, so we've saved money which has increased our revenue. But then it also ties in the retention. So when someone comes back from assignment, how long do they stay within the organization?

We do see, unfortunately, a lot of retention issues where folks come back in from their assignments. They're not able to adequately apply all the knowledge and experience that they have acquired on assignment and find that their growth path is just not applicable in their current company and then they look elsewhere. So has an employee been able to come back and progress in their current role or move into a new role? Have they been able to increase revenue for the company based upon applying their skills and talents that they learned while on assignment in their new role?

So it's really tracking the employee past their assignment and into their next couple of years to see how they have grown within the company and apply the information and talents that they've achieved while on assignment and how that correlates to growth and revenue within the organization. So again, [inaudible 00:47:10] a report to see whether the move was completed or not, really doesn't give you enough insight into whether there was a good return on investment for sending that person out on assignment.

And within the mobility space, you have access to a lot of data that the business could use. And it's really understanding the data that you have and how to present that data back in an analytics format for the business to really impact how they're managing their talent. So it could be just beginning to capture a little bit of a different type of information from the get-go from the beginning, understanding what the business objective is for the business and for the employee capturing that, and then following up during the assignment with how they're meeting those objectives, and then at the end of the assignment and then following up one to two years afterwards to see how their growth within the organization. If you start to have that data from the beginning, it's much easier to create a story of that employee and the success on the return of investment.

And again, it's important to just not run a report and pass it over to the business but again, insert the value of what your department brings to it by interpreting the data and helping align with the business to grow their strategy and understand the investments that they've made, how they were successful, and how they weren't successful.


And then that really ties into how you manage the overall process of talent management. There are many points within the assignment where we all think that there is talent touch point, where the host manager is working with the employee. The whole manager is working with the employee, hopefully, you know, growing them, coaching them, getting them ready to come back from assignment, but out of the activities really happening. There are very convenient ways within the framework of on-assignment management where the mobility team can come in to help facilitate those touches and ensure that everyone is doing what they're supposed to be doing and to be able to take some measurements and track them as well. So it's another way that you can work directly with the business to help push, drive, or remind the business of those particular touch points that they should be doing while their employee is on assignment.

Mobility Scope of Services

And then you should look to you know finalize your mobility and talent alignment. It really helps to take a look at all of the scopes of services that make up your program, so that you really understand it's about capacity of your team. And when you look at all the scopes of services, where does your team intersect with the different parts of planning the move, initiating the move, where are they inserting themselves into the on-assignment and the transfer and then the program management pieces, where is your time best spent, where are your best talents of your team today? And then as you align with the business, where should you be?

So this is kind of a good place to start to understand where you are and where you'd like to be than to understand how the shift need to happen and start to set up a plan for growing your talent on your mobility team and working with your vendors and partners for potentially realigning some work activities that, for you, up to be more strategic and more facing forward with your business lines.

Enhancing the Value of Mobility

Taryn: So how do we enhance the value of mobility? And I'm kind of conscious of time here, so we'll go through this next slide a little bit quickly. But you know, today, we're focused on choice and flexibility, a lot of shift towards empathy and family focus, so where some of the soft elements of support have been removed from policies historically. We're seeing a lot of those put back in, you know, styles of partner support really focusing on some cultural training, making sure that that shifts you the host location is as smooth as possible, recognizing travel and commuting and offering them some approaches that really support traveling commuting as an option to sow some resource, or talent development needs versus a full assignment, agility and simplicity, global nomads. You know, so kind of understanding that there are people that just move from one location to another, more sequential assignments so being able to support programs that reflect that type of profile, recognizing that a home-based approach is not the only approach that can be used, so a lot of conversations around this kind of local plus or perm relo plus and destination type of approaches.

There's a lot of barriers to mobility, but there's also locations that you really can move very easily between, so recognizing that those are some viable options to get the experience and achieve the same results that are not, you know, home-based approaches.

Alignment Strategies

Mobility Scope of Services

When we talk about some of the there we go some of the alignment strategy is, Kath talked a bit about the reviewing your mobility scope of services. You know, do the services that you're providing as a mobility team really leverage the core competencies of the team? Are there more efficient ways to deliver does a mix of services delivered? So talking about kind of the split between operational and advisory services. Does that align with the defined mobility and organizational strategy. I think a lot of times, some of that misalignment between where the mobility function would like to be on the kind of a maturity spectrum versus where they are is really because of either a lack of competency or a lack of capacity to actually provide some of that, those more consultative services.


You know, partnerships between mobility teams and internal or external subject matter, process experts really provide an option to leverage knowledge expertise, global reach, and operational infrastructure that may not exist within the immediate mobility function, so really looking at where it makes sense to partner with some of the internal resources or even external vendors to better deliver on the program support that is expected.

Role Profiles & Capabilities Alignment

You know role profiles or mobility team roles defined and tiered according to the skills and capabilities required. Do mobility resources have the appropriate competencies and credentials to deliver against what those defined responsibilities are? Capabilities alignment. So, you know, obviously, mobility challenges differ significantly in some cases by region or country and they change very frequently. So mobility subject matter experts are required and critical to understand some of the key challenges and changes so that you can be at the forefront of the mobility research and trends and stay in front of lot of that.

You know, so really kind of looking at does your team have the knowledge and expertise required to identify and minimize any potential risk without significant time spent researching or administering some of those approaches?


Technology, you know, that a lot of organizations are investing significantly in technology. And is your mobility functioning using all the available technology that you have whether internally or externally to create some efficiencies in terms of task automation, processes, and workflows? You know, are you providing some self-serve options to customers or users of mobility in relocating employees where it's appropriate? Does your technology have the ability to provide transparency to status and information to minimize the need to engage with a physical mobility resource? So rather than picking up the phone, can your employees or your customers or users of mobility, can they log in themselves and really see where you are in the process without having to take up some time of an actual resource.


In terms of reporting, does your mobility data provide real-time insights and information that can be used to impact, you know, some organizational decisions, some resourcing decisions. Can you use that data to proactively manage talent and support the business? So a lot of kind of workforce planning in here. Do you know where you have an aging population that's going to retire in the next three to five years, and will that present a significant resource gap in that particular location? And help me use that data to then start planning whether or not you need to, you know, import talent to that location or whether there are local resources that you'll be able to leverage.

Return on Investment & Process Documentation

Return on investment. How do you define return on investment? What data points are required to capture the ROI as it's been defined? What systems do you need to pull the data from? Often, it's not just going to be one system but an amalgamation of multiple systems data in order to get the full picture. Who receives that data? Who needs to know, you know, how you're tracking against some of the ROI that you defined? What can they do with that? Are you offering insights to be able to really inform them of where there are some challenges or focus areas that need to be captured, and then process documentation or process roles and responsibilities clearly defined, which includes service level agreements, KPIs both internally and with your external partners.

Performance expectations, are they established again with the internal team as well as the external partners that you have? You wanna make sure that you're delivering quality services consistently. Do you have control points and escalation procedures in place? Do mobility team members have enough lead time to prepare and manage for a pending relocation? And that really comes into, you know, a bit of the earlier discussion around how early is mobility engaged in the process. And if it's not early enough, if you don't have enough runway or lead time, how do you really build that into the process to better support the business as well as the employee?

Q: Do we expect to shift away from talent integration with mobility towards risk compliance?

So we'll shift there and now we have a little bit of time. We have some questions come in throughout this session today, so we'll just touch on a few of those. So do we expect to shift away from talent integration with mobility towards risk compliance? You know, I really see the two go hand-in-hand. I think part of why we are seeing more of a focus on risk compliance is because mobility is being recognized more as a critical driver for business and talent objectives. So, you know, the authorities are taking note and they're saying mobility is not going away. We know that organizations are looking to kind of use mobility more effectively and potentially increase the use of mobility as a way to really meet some talent and organizational growth priorities.

So I don't think that there will be a shift away from talent integration. I think it's still going to be a topic and kind of the desired states of mobility. But I think along with that will come a need to definitely make sure that you have your compliance and risk procedures up to date, making sure that you have robust processes in place to really identify and mitigate any potential risks particularly as you look at expanding your talent pool and kind of the locations that you're pulling individuals from and moving them, too. I think the risk and, you know, compliance complexities will just continue to increase as will the focus.

Q: What is the difference between extended business travelers and short-term business travelers?

We got a question about what's the difference between extended business travelers and short-term business travelers. You know, the short-term assignments are really most commonly defined as three to 12 months where the employee remains in that host location for that the duration of that period obviously with some of the home leave trips excluded that may exist. When we talk about the extended business travelers, it's really folks that are taking short but frequent trips to one location or multiple locations that cumulatively result in a potential compliance requirement for them.

Allison: Great. Well, thank you, Kathy and Taryn for an excellent presentation. We appreciate you sharing your insights with us today. I also wanna give a special thank you to SIRVA for sponsoring today's webinar. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. You all have been a wonderful audience. I hope you've enjoyed today's program.

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