Global Mobility

It felt as if the entire world of global mobility descended upon Chicago’s Hyatt Regency last week when Worldwide ERC held its annual meeting. The energy and excitement surrounding the keynote/plenary sessions and exhibit hall, demonstrated an obvious hunger for information in the break-out sessions, which focused on many of the issues plaguing all of us who care about talent development and mobility in today’s organizations.

Everyone was looking for the best ways to develop talent and create value as we tackle the myriad issues impacting our company’s employees as they’re moved from place to place. We were grappling with issues such as:

  • Talent Shortages – Current and Future
  • The Skill Sets organizations will need in the Near Future
  • How Leveraging a Global Mindset can help talent Be Most Effective
  • What Role Will Diverse Employees Play?
  • How Will the New Geopolitical Realities Affect Mobility?
  • Can we keep up with Immigration Changes?
  • What Responsibilities do Companies have for Employees they Move Around the World?

At the root of all of it was a quest to understand how to keep ahead of the rapidly changing world of work that we’re all involved in.

Sean Dubberke, CultureWizard’s Director of Learning, moderated a panel titled “Opening New Doors with a Global Mindset,” which was replete with funny and sad stories as well as simple, instructive ideas about how to develop and use a global mindset to succeed in global business. The speakers focused on how to continually train and strengthen your global mindset so that it becomes a normal aspect of your work style.

Sean shared a personal example of an Indian colleague who stated she was coming to New York and felt a bit awkward touring the city alone because it was her first time. As a typical US American, he responded by giving her several tips for her first-time visit. As helpful as that was, she subtlety indicated that she was still a bit uncomfortable.

Sean picked up on the fact that she was indirectly communicating a request for help in a more robust form. Noting that most Indians also lead the relationship-building process through interpersonal activities, he decided to pivot away from the self-help tips and offer to take her around the next day – much as she would do if she were hosting him in India. The Saturday that Sean devoted to her, which wasn’t done specifically for a business purpose, but more to build closeness and relationship, garnered a large contract and a lasting engagement between the two.

My panel, on Global Mobility and Diversity focused on the different types of individuals who are now going on assignment and what HR professionals can do to help them. “Diverse expats” ran the gamut from single-parent, multi-generational families to female expats going on solo status, to LGBT individuals.

We focused on the kinds of services our organizations can offer, both one-off and policy-driven. The bottom line is that Global Mobility professionals must be creative and prepared for a workplace where expats with “differences” are commonplace.

Essentially, as we all realize, the workplace of tomorrow is actually already here today because of the break-neck pace of change that technology and globalization are foisting upon us: a realization that further underscores how essential it is for companies today to optimize their employee mobility plan.

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