Global Mobility Trends of 2016: A Professional Insight

2016End of the year and beginning of the new year is a time of reflecting on the past 12 months, celebrating all the achievements and new beginnings. The world of global mobility is no different. For example, the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM) recently hosted the Expatriate Management and Mobility Awards (EMMA Awards), which celebrated global mobility worldwide. Nominations and awards across many different categories, such as Best Survey or Research Study of the Year and Global Mobility Team of the Year recognized the industry leaders, business successes and rising stars.

Within the EMEA region individual awards, the 2015 EMMA award for Global Mobility Professional of the Year went to Chris Debner, of the Strategic Global Mobility Advisory. FEM had the opportunity to interview the awarded professional and gain insight into the future trends in the industry.

As if echoing one of my recent posts, Chris believes that becoming strategic is not a matter of choice anymore for the Global Mobility function. He recommends global mobility professionals to take initiative of creating a sound Global Mobility Strategy, which defines main objectives, policies, structures and processes. What is important, though, is to involve the key stakeholders of your program in the process. What is reassuring is that Chris argues that a global mobility strategy can be mapped within one day!

Reflecting on the global mobility trends for the next year, apart from the increasing importance of its strategic role, Chris also raised the alignment of mobility programs with talent management more broadly. In line with my own frequent discussions of the developmental component of travelling and expatriation, Mr. Debner concludes that international assignments are a critical way to deploy and develop talent. Hence, there is a clear requirement for cooperation with the talent management function. According to the 2015 Brookfield Global Mobility Trends survey, currently 49% of respondents report having an active link to talent management, and further 27% are undertaking the initiative of establishing this link. At the same time, only 7% of the surveyed companies already report to talent management. However, Chris expects that the majority of reporting lines will be moved to talent management soon. Consequently, improving the links and cooperation with talent management seems to be an especially good idea.

Finally, Mr. Debner expects further emergence of new types of international assignments, such as multi-responsibility assignees and stealth commuters. I would support this notion, generalizing the trend to continuously increasing diversity within global mobility. According to the Brookfield survey, today there are about thirteen different mobility policies in place; moreover, the range of destinations is also continuing to expand, let alone the rapid technological development we are witnessing. As such, this diversity and complexity require further flexibility and agility from global mobility professionals. As noted in one of my last year’s posts, the global environment has drastically changed within the last fifty years, and further changes might advance at roughly exponential rates.

6 thoughts on “Global Mobility Trends of 2016: A Professional Insight

  1. Congratulations to the winner!!!! And truly said, “diversity and complexity require further flexibility and agility from global mobility professionals “. The trends discussed seems inspiring. Thanks!!

  2. We shouldn’t be surprised. Technology is now pivotal in every walk of life, leading to a growing desire for real-time data and mobile services.
    Well, we see more complexity than ever before.

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