What Does Global Mobility Have to do With Retention?

Last Updated on March 2, 2023

CEOs around the world – at least two-thirds of them, according to PwC’s recent mobility report – believe that talent is likely to be found through internal promotion within the company. There’s a growing understanding that talent development is crucial to retention, and part of that development includes meeting expectations for global talent mobility. Global mobility is a marker of a competitive and agile company that’s ready to meet the shifting needs of today’s workforce.

HR managers are facing pressure to attract and retain talent in a world so mobile, especially as millennials are changing the game altogether. Global mobility is no longer just a buzzword. According to the PwC report, 71 percent of millennials expect and want an overseas assignment at some point in their career.

Managing expectations of a generation predicted to make up three-quarters of the world’s workforce in less than 10 years – that’s a major challenge for talent development and HR professionals today.

What are the business benefits of an overseas assignment?

Sending employees overseas can have incremental benefits for the organization. Sometimes, an employee has necessary skills that he or she can transfer to an international branch of the organization during the term of the assignment. Sometimes, international experience is necessary in order for an employee to be considered for a leadership position.

Other times, the benefits are less direct. Exposure to international work environments and various geographies in which your company operates can mean better cohesion across borders and a wider understanding of the global marketplace. Employees who go overseas come home with valuable cultural knowledge and understanding, aiding them and the company develop further in their career.

The benefits of heading overseas are personal, too, for a generation that expects and global interactions. Among all graduates interviewed for Talent Mobility 2020, 75 percent said they would be willing to work in a less developed country in order to gain experience and further their careers. Salary isn’t the only retention tool with clout. Immersive and exploratory experiences are enticing for a pervasive age set.

Businesses need to take this fact seriously and account for it in their retention strategies.

What needs to change in global mobility?

The bar has been set high by the generation that’s becoming established as the new normal in business. And many companies are fielding the changing desires for mobility as best they can, but an overseas assignment is a different beast.

Often, since overseas assignments are expensive to execute, they’re reserved for more established managers, long-term employees, or simply closed to anyone not in the C-suite. HR managers who are aware of the power that international assignments have for retention have an unenviable chore: to paint a picture of overseas assignments that deliver a business-first message to leadership.

The benefits of overseas assignments are in retention – manage expectations of existing and potential talent, and you will see results in terms of RIO before, during and beyond the assignment.

To learn more about why global talent acquisition is a requirement to stay competitive, read our blog post: Global Talent Acquisition is a Necessity Not an Option.

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