Key Takeaways from the 2015 FEM Summit and EMMA Awards in London



At this year’s Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM) summit and EMMA awards ceremony in London, mobility professionals joined from around the world to share best practices and celebrate another year of global mobility success. MOVE Guides was also honoured to be recognised at the EMMA awards dinner as highly commended innovative use of technology for talent mobility.

During the summit, I attended several sessions on the most important mobility and talent trends affecting multinational organisations. Below, I have highlighted some of the most interesting points that were made and key takeaways driving global success in the 21st century.

Thinking strategically: global mobility fuelling talent

The Head of Global Mobility and the Head of Development EMEA at HSBC discussed how they are trying to better align their talent and mobility functions as HSBC continues to find it challenging to get the right talent in the right place. Mercer recently reinforced this with new research stating that 88% of organisations are concerned about finding the right candidates for mobility. This is especially important to consider when the costs of getting talent mobility wrong are so high.

HSBC’s CEO believes that the workforce plan is the second most important document after the strategic plan and mobility has a huge part to play in this.

Their global mobility teams are therefore beginning to monitor that best practices are adhered to and that business units are receiving hard facts to enable more effective decision making, including the annual cost of assignment extensions and assignee retention rates. The team are also looking to free up valuable time and increase efficiency by using technology. 

What does success look like: measuring ROI and managing costs

Baker Hughes’ Global Mobility Director offered great insight into one of the most debated trends in talent mobility — return on investment (ROI).

Mobility professionals understand that ROI has been out there for a long time but it’s difficult to measure – as there are no defined KPIs and data analytics has only just begun to infiltrate the industry. But companies are beginning to look at things like actual costs of an employee move, which can enable them to book accruals, manage compliance effectively and articulate risk.

Unfortunately, Mercer data recently found that 90% of companies still do not use metrics to measure assignment success. So it is still an uphill battle for many mobility professionals looking to measure ROI.

Baker Hughes suggests that mobility teams set clear objectives at the start of the assignment and communicate these expectations to the home and host offices and assignee. One key objective that should be anticipated and measured is whether there is a defined role for the employee at the end of their assignment. This will significantly increase ROI, as the company is more likely to retain their best talent with proper career planning.

What to expect: creating a global mobility function fit for the future

In one of the last speaking sessions of the day, Brian Friedman, Founder of FEM moderated a panel on how companies are structuring their global mobility functions for the future and navigating the most widespread mobility challenges.

BUPA, Worley Parsons and AECOM joined the discussion and shared their top challenges for mobility teams. These included:

  • Demonstrating ROI
  • Immigration restrictions
  • Cost and compliance
  • Changing policy types and new hostile locations

They also discussed how global mobility professionals can become more strategic by inviting themselves along to business meetings to demonstrate knowledge of future company plans and how mobility can help support these plans. 

That said, mobility professionals should be wary of their organisations circumstances, and understand that some may not be ready for mobility to be strategic. That is why it is so important to build relationships within the business to understand the support

Looking to the future, the panel discussed how long-term assignments with fully loaded packages will become a thing of the past, with short-term assignments and host packages becoming much more common. The panel closed with a discussion on how technology will help automate mobility processes, freeing the time and resources necessary to drive mobility functions into the 21st century.

Interested in learning how MOVE Guides is disrupting the talent mobility industry with innovative technology and services? Download a complimentary copy of our latest white paper to learn more about the top technology and talent trends in talent mobility.


About The Author

Christine Weddell