Aligning Global Mobility to Talent Strategy

As you might have guessed, with the convergence of technology and the global economy, Expat assignments have changed, and so have the ways you leverage them as part of an overarching talent strategy.businesses are increasingly interested in sending their employees abroad. According to an Ernst & Young report, 72 percent of executives said their need for globally mobile employees will increase within the next three years.

Today’s Millennial employee is more than happy to fill that need. Most Millennials believe an overseas assignment will occur sometime in their career.

For the forward-thinking business leader, there is an opportunity to harness both of these forces that can not only open the business to new markets, but also makes employee retention simpler. Here are some things to consider:

The old foreign assignment is gone

The previous generation of worker was used to foreign assignments that would last years at a time and would require generous compensation packages to attract employees. Not only has technology decreased the need for such assignments, but expats now find themselves going for shorter periods of time or even “commuting” to their assignment.
This has beneficial effects for both the employer and the employee. Costs decrease and the employee no longer has to put their “life on hold” to take an assignment.

Movement is now bi-directional

The old concept of foreign assignment is for an employee from the home office in the developed world to be sent to establish ties or set up an outpost in the developing market. These day, for most multinationals, those outposts are already created.

What happens now is that international talent can be brought here to further bolster their executive skills and acquire new tools to bring back home with them. This again decreases the need for the domestic employee to be sent on a lengthy assignment.

The employee can now have a voice

Before, the only decision an employee had in a foreign assignment was either accept or pass. Today’s employee now expects to be able to make decisions for themselves, particularly in their living situation.

If an employee is assigned a short-term task in China, for example, and lives on the west coast of the US, it’s not impossible for them to fly as a semi-regular commute. They might ask to do this rather than relocate for a year or less. If it’s feasible, explore any option the employee brings to the table. Flexibility and innovation helps with retention.

Want more information about making your developmental candidates global-ready? We and HR.com have just released a new white paper, “Driving Global Readiness: A Road Map”, full of new information about the importance of language learning in employee retention and training, as well as results from a recent survey about how employers and employees view the importance of making their workforce global-ready. It also comes with partner materials such as a global readiness talent map, development plan, and talent survey.

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