Going global: The future of talent mobility

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  • October 28, 2014

Thanks in part to recent developments in workplace technology, productivity and professional development are no longer limited by geographic boundaries. Corporate talent can easily complete work from various locations.

As markets continue to expand, more businesses will find it necessary to increase workforce mobility around the world. A recent Price Waterhouse and Coopers study found that assignee levels have increased 25 percent in the last 10 years and are projected to grow another 50 percent by 2020. With the projected mobility increases, businesses may want to keep their eyes on industry trends. Here are three issues to keep in mind to prepare for the future of talent mobility:

Businesses must adopt new technology to better connect a globally diverse workforce.

Businesses must adopt new technology to better connect a globally diverse workforce.

The future lies in the cloud
The estimated increase highlights the need for companies to surround employees with the right technological infrastructure to maintain productivity. Cloud-based systems may increase talent agility and flexibility since employees can access corporate information on a moment’s notice with an established Wi-Fi connection. Especially as the younger workforce continues to mature, these individuals will likely require more diverse business interactions.

Attract top talent through new technology
Young assignees are open to change. They often embrace new challenges and view relocation as a means of professional development. In fact, a separate PwC study found 37 percent of millennial respondents would like the opportunity to go on a global assignment. This can become a reality if and when businesses adopt cloud-based applications for everyday business operations. Once this technology is implemented, geographically separated employees become better connected, which in turn improves collaboration and productivity. Pew research found that nearly one-quarter of millennial respondents felt technology set their generation apart from older age brackets. These technologically savvy employees want to work with cutting-edge technology.

Businesses can position themselves as innovative and progressive by implementing new technology. Recent Deloitte research revealed that  78 percent of millennial respondents said they were influenced by how innovative a company is when deciding if they want to work there or not. Corporate adoption of new technology not only eliminates workplace borders, it also has the potential to draw some of the best talent in the workforce at any age, not just young adults. Sometimes some of the best, most experienced employees developed strong skill sets  because they were early adopters of new technology.

Standardization and price reductions
In addition to new technology implementation, market trends demonstrate that companies are looking to reduce short-term costs in their mobility programs. Certainly, the current domestic and global economic landscape may be a primary driver in cost reductions, but it’s important to effectively manage costs at all times, regardless of the surrounding economic conditions. According to a recent industry survey, 72 percent of respondents attributed economic conditions to an overall reduction in international assignment costs.

With a potential decline in global mobility costs, as well as a projected growth in assignee relocation, employers are beginning to focus more on international compliance with industry standards. Minimizing relocation timelines to increase assignment success is also contributing to standardization and central decision-making authority. While traditional averages of standardized policies were around 72 percent, the survey found 92 percent of employers indicated they standardized policies on a global level versus a regional or divisional level.

As companies continue to standardize their relocation policies and implement cloud-based infrastructures, costs will likely go down. Moreover, adoption of new technology can attract top talent – most of whom are looking to make a move abroad for the sake of professional development. Cloud-based systems can also help connect globally differentiated employees without sacrificing collaboration or productivity. A managed and cutting-edge approach to talent mobility is the way of the future, and it could very well drive down costs in the process.

Brought to you by Global Mobility Solutions, a trusted partner in global talent management.