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Critical Business Skills for Talent Mobility Professionals

The events of 2020 are challenging us to learn new skills while honing and adapting the more familiar ones. Talent mobility professionals are well equipped to make good use of recently acquired and proven aptitudes to lead the workforce through the current challenges and onto future opportunities.

Agility, collaboration, and innovation are key ingredients to business success. The last six months have forced us to exponentially increase not only the levels of, but the speed at which we fully embrace them. With a unique blend of the right skills, mobility professionals are contributing to all three.

Mobility industry expertise was and continues to be integral to businesses navigating the pandemic response and recovery. Initially, we met an urgent need to inform and execute rapid decision making around the safety and viability of workforce movement of all kinds – from complex global evacuations to local office commutes.

Now, mobility teams are experiencing increased levels of visibility and more frequent dialogue with the rest of the business, particularly at the C-Suite level, than ever before. This is helping to drive two important outcomes:

  1. The strategic value of mobility expertise is firmly cemented, and now is the time to focus on maintaining and expanding our advisory roles.
  2. Continued full and transparent cooperation and agility across all major business functions are critical for business survival and growth.

What skills will help us build on these outcomes? To start, the shift from emergency response to ongoing analysis is pivoting us from a reactive to a proactive mindset. Right now, we are assessing and advising on responses to highly complex, multi-faceted and quickly changing health, employment, tax, visa, immigration and corporate social responsibility requirements. Various regions are experiencing different phases of lockdown, recovery, and quite possibly, second and future waves, and we need to be ready.

The pivot to emergency remote work at the beginning of the pandemic has given way to a need to make wider company decisions that are agile enough to see us through the longer-term. Mobility teams are juggling the challenges of existing scenarios, where employees are still displaced by necessity, with increasing numbers of voluntary requests from employees who want to work in a location other than the one originally connected to their employment. To guide the business effectively, we must have current and detailed information about individual circumstances, risks, costs and how employees, customers, and company culture will be affected.

This is all happening within previously unseen levels of global economic, political, and social uncertainty – adding to the pressures to get decisions right.

To help you get them right, Sterling Lexicon can connect you with another HR or mobility professional within a similar industry to yours, with similar challenges. Sign up for our new Mobility Mate match-up program, and you’ll never have to go it alone.

What business-critical skills will take us forward? They encompass three core areas:


The current environment forces us to rethink talent strategies, including mobility. Getting the right people into the right roles remains imperative, but those decisions are increasingly being driven by data. We’ll see closer scrutiny of such areas as candidate selection, costs, compliance, retention and business contributions to make strong cases in support of the moves

With data being at the center of executive decision making, including how best to forward the organization’s diversity, inclusion and equality goals, now is the time to build or improve the skills to effectively collect, interpret, and report on the right information. Mobility teams and their service provider partners are critical to this process, providing policy benchmarking and competitive insights, candidate assessment reports, local labor and talent data, assignee demographics, cost and ROI projections to ensure that crucial decisions across not only mobility, but the entire talent lifecycle are sound ones – for both the company and its employees.


We can’t report on complex data without the right tools to capture and measure it. As we saw at the height of the pandemic, understanding exactly where employees are, under what circumstances and with what work authorizations, is critical. Talent mobility professionals can help expand the development of tools that work effectively for tracking relocation and assignment data to get a better handle on business travelers too, significantly boosting compliance and duty of care.

Mobility professionals are uniquely positioned to share valuable perspectives on what information the business needs, in addition to what will make the employee experience a more streamlined, efficient, and positive one. Our industry’s collective insights continually help shape and refine technology solutions that integrate with the critical components of a company’s systems to ensure functional teams are communicating with each other effectively and at the right times. When all stakeholders in the business can access the services and information they need, where and when they need them, from technology that is fully integrated, affordable, and easy to use — everybody wins.


Supporting the mental and physical health and wellbeing of employees has taken on new levels of importance and complexity. Talent mobility professionals interact with employees at some of the most exciting, yet stressful points in their careers and have unique visibility into how the company and its supplier partners support that. Whether you label them as “hard and soft” skills, or “right- and left-brained” traits, ours is an industry that brings a bit of everything to the table: analysis, logic and linear thinking with compassion, empathy and emotional intelligence.

The care and commitment we witnessed at the heart of the outbreak, while mobility teams and their local, on-the-ground partners worked around the clock to ensure employees were safe, is now being applied to flexible solutions to meet a variety of rapidly changing situations and needs.

We support the emotional and physical wellbeing of our talent and their family members because it’s the right and ethical thing do to, but it can also have additional benefits. Employees are consumers, after all, and when the right support is well executed, they can become brand ambassadors.

As business leaders rethink priorities and develop new paths, employees and customers are watching. How they respond now will be critical to how the business is perceived for decades to come. The post-pandemic rebuilding will not be a linear process, but will require a multitude of adaptable skills and the ability to pivot to stay in lock step with global regulatory and societal shifts. It’s an opportunity to design new workforce approaches to economic and social imperatives, and to tap into the rich benefits and innovation that diverse, inclusive, and global teams can bring. With a blend of the right skills, our industry is ready for the challenge.

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