Global Mobility | Not A Priority For Most Companies

Posted by Heidi Schwartz

Despite being a key driver for success in leading organizations, most businesses view global mobility (GM) as a low priority, and many do not have a GM strategy in place. That is according to Unlocking the Value of Cross-Border Assignments, a new Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBR-AS) survey conducted in close collaboration with the global EY professional services organization.

“Governments around the world are requiring companies to comply with often onerous regulations affecting cross-border payroll, tax filings, Social Security and immigration,” says Leslie Fiorentino, EY Americas Mobility Services Leader. “Big data and data analytics are helping forward-thinking companies bring new insights to mobility programs and can increase efficiency for employers faced with these additional compliance demands.”

HBR-AS surveyed 695 global executives—including 11 in-depth interviews with best practice leaders—to explore the value companies place on GM and to identify the main challenges to implementation. Sixty-five percent of top-performing companies with GM strategies reported a positive impact on financial performance and enjoyed marked improvements in new business growth and talent retention.

Conversely, firms that approach their GM needs reactively (47%) reported that their greatest challenge to success was their reactive approach, while family considerations were also cited as a primary barrier. A significant 18% of respondents were not even able to identify who served as the lead on GM within their organization.

Interestingly, the report also provides anecdotal evidence that bigger companies are more likely to have a formal approach to GM.

The survey highlights that a majority of businesses (63%) say the need for globally mobile employees increased during the past three years, and a greater number (72%) said that demand for such employees is only likely to increase over the next two to three years.

Dina Pyron, EY Global Human Capital Leader, says:

“Global mobility has become invaluable to companies with aspirations for new business. Organizations with a reactive approach will miss opportunities, while those who plan ahead and build a global talent pool will succeed.

“In an increasingly global market, the race for talent is a key determinant of success. Companies should take stock now of where the gaps are in their workforce, and develop a robust strategy to address that gap.”