The global economy is a more diverse marketplace than ever before. Workers on one end of the world can connect with employees thousands of miles away in real time thanks in part to the latest technological advances. As a result, international operations are growing, and global mobility is now an integral part of expanding business processes.

Although international relocation has become an important aspect of improving global operations, a surprising number of companies are still handling assignments in similar ways they were performed years ago. Development in technology has had a major impact on talent mobility over the years, but if companies want to keep pace with increasing global demand, they’ll need to implement cutting-edge systems as international assignments become more common in the workforce.

HR technology can drastically impact talent mobility processes.

HR technology can drastically impact talent mobility processes.

Human resources must embrace technology
A stand-alone approach to global assignments is outdated now that mobility has become a standard practice across different verticals. Human resource information systems must integrate with supporting technologies that incorporate assignee data into the company’s general HR database, as it is crucial to creating a ubiquitous mobility process. A unified system helps create affordable, scalable and realistic processes that can grow in unison with increasing global demand.

Cutting-edge HR technology plays an integral role not only in streamlining mobility processes, but it also aids in back-end organization. For these reasons, the HR technology market is now worth more than $15 billion in software alone, according to a recent study conducted by Bersin & Associates, which cited Bloomberg statistics. In fact, the human resources consulting firm said the value of new tools that help in managing employee communications, recognition and workplace wellness is also growing rapidly. In fact, the top 50 venture deals completed in 2014 totaled more than $560 million.

What’s the next step?
Certainly, the recent influx of investment in HR technology is promising for international relocations, but human resource departments need to make smart and strategic steps when implementing new technology into existing mobility processes. According to workforce mobility association Worldwide ERC, member companies individually invest an average of more than $15.7 million in each year for global transfers. This points to the need for businesses to outline a smart and strategic mobility framework. Too much money is at stake to consider anything otherwise.

Since international mobility has become a norm, organizations need to know how to outline an actionable and profitable plan for a successful assignment. A recent Deloitte study outlined how businesses can diversify their talent mobility designs based on two key dimensions: development value and business value. The design helps companies ensure that the level of support they provide to assignees is justified based on the forecasted business value of each assignment. There are four categories in the value-based approach:

  • Learning experience: These assignments are high in development value and low in business value because the talent – often young, promising employees – are expected to bear some of the costs associated with the move in exchange for global experience and professional growth.
  • Commodity job: Target employees are volunteers or low-cost talent, which makes this level of support low in business and development value. These are designated for local and at-risk assignees.
  • Strategic opportunity: These assignees are the future leaders. The focus here is on development, experience and retention, which makes this level of support high in development and business value.
  • Skilled position: Although low in development value, skilled position employee support during a relocation is high in business value because these assignees typically have specialized skill sets. They have deep, niche capabilities and are rapidly deployed on project-based assignments.

This type of framework, when used in unison with cutting-edge HR technology, can add significant value to any international assignment process. Not only will it help businesses decide the financial viability of certain assignees, but it also provides a framework for HR departments on how much support to give during the process. Companies can also use smart strategies and technology to develop and retain the next generation of leaders – the majority of which are not only willing to, but expect to be internationally relocated at some point in their careers.

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