The Transformation of HR in the Global Workforce

Eric House - Jul 20 2021
Published in: Mobility
With a distributed workforce comes new priorities for HR and mobility leaders to tackle.

According to a new survey of more than 560 global workforce employees, including more than 95 human resources executives, the distributed workforce is here to stay. Sixty-four percent of respondents made the move to remote work as a response to the pandemic, representing nearly two-thirds of companies making this permanent change to a geographically distributed workforce. For many employees in this distributed workforce, the shift to remote work was welcomed: nearly half (45%) of respondents said that “the ability to work remotely was the workplace change that had the most positive impact on them last year.”

Shifting priorities for new HR challenges

A remote-first world of work means that HR professionals must shift their focus to new priorities that were once perhaps unanticipated before the pandemic. According to the report, HR’s post-2020 priorities include:

  • Thinking more deeply about flexible work arrangements (48%)
  • Maintaining compliance in the ‘new normal’ (46%)
  • A stronger focus on supporting remote work (43%)

With remote work comes a heightened focus on compliance, especially when it comes to handling taxes, personally identifiable information, and data across a distributed, global workforce. Not only have HR generalists stepped up to the plate to handle these evolving challenges, but mobility professionals adept at managing global mobility programs and mobile employees have jumped to the front of the line to tackle the complexities of compliance in the new world of work. (To learn more about how U.S.-based employers in particular are anticipating work location shifts and wage hikes on foreign national employees, sign up for our 22 July webinar).

HR leaders are tapping into the global talent market

What many have learned over the past year is that with more distributed work comes opportunity to more readily tap into global talent markets. The report confirms this, saying that “The shift to more distributed work means employers can look for talent in more locations. If they do, their approach to talent acquisition has to evolve, and the hiring and payrolling of geodiverse employees needs to level up.” That means conducting more video interviews, deploying virtual onboarding techniques, and stepping up technology to boost productivity.

As we’ve learned from our own research, HR leaders are reassessing their priorities for a distributed, remote-first workforce. Whether an employee works completely or partially remote (as in a half-in, half-out of the office option), on a temporary or permanent basis, the overarching need for a talent strategy that takes their needs into consideration remains imperative. This new work environment requires a special review at how employee needs are being met while simultaneously achieving company and business unit objectives.

To find out the top 7 priorities that are transforming the workplace of the future identified by our survey of senior HR leaders, head over to our remote work research page.

Registration for the 2021 Global Workforce Symposium is Now Open!

Global Workforce Symposium 202One is about bringing the industry together as one and it’s time to celebrate all that global mobility professionals do to keep the world moving. We’re excited to welcome the entire industry under one roof for the first time in two years! Don’t miss this year's largest global mobility meeting. Just as we've done for many years, we're bringing together verticals across the mobility and relocation industry for an event that will feature all of the parts you've come to love over the years plus a few new surprises! Register now for GWS: 202One, taking place 19-22 October in Chicago, Illinois here!