Global Mobility Experts Discuss Expatriate Management

Last Updated on March 2, 2023

If there is one thing that the global mobility experts and attendees of the Forum for Expatriate Management conference agreed on, it is that the only consistency is inconsistency.  This was a central theme heard throughout the conference which ran from May 3rd – 5th in Denver.  If this is truly the case, and we know that international assignments are going to exponentially increase in the coming years, what does this mean for leaders in global mobility and HR?

Essentially this: Global mobility and HR leaders, it is time to put on your lobbyist hats.

It is clear that the organizations with the smoothest process and the least exposure to risk are the organizations where mobility has a high level of buy-in from senior leadership.  The only way to get this buy-in from management is to educate, educate and educate some more. One of the questions asked by an attendee at the conference, which I found incredibly interesting and relevant, was, “How do we do the right thing instead of the expected thing?”

Business leaders want things done yesterday and the perceived costs of compliance, both time and money, are high. Both the Mobility and HR teams must help business leadership understand that the costs of non-compliance are much higher. The penalties can cause significant damage both to reputation and to bottom line, not to mention the overall employee experience. Taking time to set proper expectations with business leaders and employees and organizing pre-assignment briefings are important to building a culture of compliance.  There must be an open line of communication so that business leaders are alerting their mobility teams at the infancy stage when planning for travel or a new international assignment.

So, how are mobility and HR leaders supposed to be the expert if everything continues to change? A key element is having a partner that will not only provide you with updates in real time, but will help you understand how prepare for future impact. Another important piece to success gaining buy-in is good data – data on where your travelers are and how travelers are affecting the business.  An attendee at FEM mentioned that his company tracked the career trajectory of international assignees and found that 82 percent of employees who had completed an international assignment got a promotion versus 11 percent of employees who were not mobile. Data like this moves a leadership team to action, pushing issues associated with mobility to the top of the priority list.

Yes, international assignments and immigration in general can be two complicated issues; however, now, more than ever, it is important that Mobility and HR teams guide their management and executive teams to care or risk losing out in the long run.

As vice president of sales, Gretchen Keefner brings to Envoy more than a decade of experience in the human resources industry as well as a deep understanding of building and managing consultative sales teams. For more than 12 years, Keefner witnessed how breakthrough technology can significantly improve the lives of both employers and prospective employees. Early in her career, she saw firsthand how leveraging the internet revolutionized customers’ ability to recruit effectively. At Envoy, she knows she has the opportunity, once again, to eliminate obstacles in the hiring process through innovative technology. In today’s complex and talent-scarce market, businesses can’t afford to continue spending large amounts of time and money on their foreign national hiring process. She believes Envoy’s solutions allow HR leaders to spend more time where it counts — on strategic initiatives that increase retention, engagement and lead to greater business growth.

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