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Global mobility musings... Part 1

Global mobility is on most companies’ minds these days, so I thought I'd share what we're hearing at Worldwide ERC® from members, at our recent Global Workforce Symposium and through other channels...

What is the biggest global mobility issue for companies today?
In the U.S., when we talk about real estate, we say the most important things are location, location, location. In global mobility, the three most important things are compliance, compliance, compliance. What if the assignee is out of immigration status, and has to return home before the assignment is complete? What if proper tax reporting and practices have not been adhered to... and both the company and employee could face significant penalties? Cross-border compliance issues are numerous, and require the best efforts of corporate mobility and service professionals working in tandem to address.

In the field of managing talent, what practices are disappearing, and which are emerging?
We’re seeing far fewer discretionary assignments; for example, it’s not very likely these days you’ll see an employee sent to a new region for a narrow business reason. Also waning: trying to fit a range of different assignees with standard mobility packages—there’s more flexibility these days in the amount of benefits and the way they are administered. What we see coming into play more often is that companies are mapping out a career track for high potentials while they are relatively new in the company; and making decisions based on skills, experience and maturity.
Our Global Advisory Council says that developing countries are asking for financial and talent development, yet there are obstacles to entry... what’s happening on that level?
This is an interesting (and frustrating!) dilemma. It sends a mixed message when assignees and employees find acquiring a visa or work permit both expensive and problematic to obtain in a timely manner, but countries continue to say, “We are poised to develop industry—we need talent, and we want your business to come here.” It’s really an economics equation, and one that, over time, will be solved as countries recognize the benefit of embracing employee and business movement, and implement policies to more easily allow such migration.


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