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Top Seven Trends Impacting Global Mobility in 2019 

Lisa Johnson
early talent

This year we will see an emphasis on the younger workforce, or ‘youthquake’ of global talent, that’s forcing most companies to shift values, cultures and strategies. Contributor Lisa Johnson, Global practice leader – Crown World Mobility.

In 2019, global mobility will be more important than ever and at the forefront in adopting new ways of working as technology drives us to innovate new ways of working, communicating as well as navigating shifting business models and workforce values.”

The Increasingly Important Employee Experience
Driven by a growing recognition that employees’ expectations are evolving, there is a greater need to offer an engaging, emotional, human-centered experience in the workplace. Companies are emphasizing new and creative ways to engage and retain talent, as well as improving the overall employee experience by offering a soft-landing to the employee and family at the start of an assignment or relocation, including policy orientations, new location welcome packs, cross-cultural training or destination services.

Technology to Supplement, Simplify and Enhance
Throughout 2019, technology will continue to advance and be further integrated into global mobility. Technology designed to help manage an employee’s move continues to evolve and even companies with less than 25 assignments per year will look to move away from the traditional paper process to more of a digital process. 

Global Mobility in the Advisor Role
The increased use of flexible mobility policy, along with growing business and employee demands for choices, is a trend that will further impact global mobility in 2019. In a recent CWM survey, more than 125 global mobility professionals, 56 percent of companies use flexible policies today and another 10 percent are planning to use the approach in the next 12 months. Flexibility offers companies a way to address differing business lines, location and assignee needs via a consistent platform. Throughout 2019, we expect to see global mobility teams re-writing job descriptions, upskilling team members and hiring new talent with more consultative and strategic experience.

Flexibility and Choices
This topic continues to develop in terms of what it means and is becoming a perennial trend. Today’s employees want choices, convenience and the opportunity to customize, impacting corporate strategy and global mobility. Business and human resource partners want options to meet their needs, whether it’s the budget, region or employee population. Additionally, corporate mobility programs increasingly expect flexibility and choice from their external partners, including concierge services, lump sum management, global or local billing, face-to-face or virtual consultations.

Dual-career Couples
More companies are struggling with the challenges that the dual couple demographic brings and are in search of creative solutions. For example, when an employee is asked to go on an international assignment or transfer locations, the economic and family impact of the decision is greater than in the past. This is a trend that reflects a shift in relevance and is a topic that is gaining urgency, impacting almost every employee eligible for accompanied status.

Employee Well-Being and Duty of Care
Today’s employees expect to work in an environment that enables them to establish a work-life balance. This is no longer limited to benefits, like flexible hours and maternity leave. It has broadened to incorporate physical well-being and having benefits that support a wide range of priorities such as access to healthy food options and encouragement of physical activity to mindfulness and flexible healthcare. Companies focused on recruiting and retaining high-performing talent prioritize employee well-being.

Making Global Careers More Accessible
Global companies require international experience as a part of future leader development. Therefore, it’s becoming increasingly clear that when the assignee population does not have diversity, the company’s future leaders will be limited to those with access to international opportunities. Inclusion and reducing barriers to global mobility are central to this concept. 

Flexible policies and focusing on the employee experience and assignee well-being represent strategies that will enhance diversity. Additionally, 2019 will see more companies assessing the gaps and taking steps to become more inclusive, increasing the number of female assignees, supporting LGBTQ employees, dual-career couples, creating low-cost and agile opportunities for millennials and employees from business-critical emerging markets, adding flexibility to policy to support nontraditional family dynamics are all becoming more commonplace.

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