Trends to Watch

Mobility: Considering Gig Employment, Subscriptions & Experience

What does the future of global mobility hold?

Last month, Worldwide ERC® President and CEO Peggy Smith had a chance to sit down with Tom Dempsey of Quicken Loans at the 2018 Global Workforce Symposium. Front and center: the future of the global mobility industry.

What are some of the influences the future holds for global mobility professionals? According to Smith, redefining employment will come first.

“I think the real question to ask ourselves is, ‘what are the workforce models of the future?’” said Smith. “Some of us may want to become [gig-employed] or some of us may want to work with an agency.”

Rising numbers in gig or project-based employment show the growing momentum. And not just in the United States, but worldwide. A recent Mobility Magazine article quoted Alain Roumilhac, president of ManpowerGroup France:

“…nearly 60 percent of France’s residents find gig work of interest, and the global average of people who want ‘nextgen’ work (part-time, contingent, contract, temporary, freelance, permanence, independent contractor, on-demand online, and platform working) weighs in at 87 percent.”

So how can organizations tap into a workforce that seeks more control over their employment and location. And adding in the continued digitalization of the workplace, what can companies do to make their opportunities more appealing?

“We have got to grab the microphone…and say, ‘make mobility an experience that’s part of your rewards platform,” Smith shared regarding the increased consciousness of employee experience and mobility’s changing role in everyday life.

Now more than ever, employees are looking for opportunities that afford them the lifestyle that they want – and the mobility industry can help bridge the gap between those potential employees and organizations everywhere. HR departments can use global mobility programs as a marketing tool to attract talent in a full employment world, while also offering employees the flexibility to take advantage of a new iteration of work.

“In a full-employment world, it means that there is more choice for individuals to drive that narrative differently than what we have today.”

Subscribing to a New Business Model

Smith sees more subscription-based models impacting business – such as in the beauty, entertainment, and food industries - and she notes such a model could be the answer to how a truly flexible work environment is facilitated. Noting that “Subscription-based organizations…are growing nine times faster than the [S&P 500], she suggests that some mobility programs will “need to” become subscription-based in the near future. “There’s change on the horizon. We need to look at this,” Smith said. “From a mobility perspective, why not?” She suggested a unique vertical such as furniture rental or mortgages could open the door for more subscription-based models in the mobility world.

But don’t expect this change to occur overnight. Many organizations with this particular model, including Blue Apron and Uber, took time to “incubate” before taking off, in what Smith described as a “hockey stick curve,” unlocking the companies’ true breakthrough plans and big moves.

The future of global mobility is rich in disruption - including new employment and business models – and has something in common with a familiar subscription-based organization like Netflix: limitless options.

To watch the interview in its entirety, click here.

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