Takeaways from the 2013 European Global Mobility Summit

Europe’s global mobility population gathered at the Lancaster Hotel in London for the Forum for Expatriate Management’s Global Mobility Summit. This year we saw three important themes discussed:

  • Increased strategic alignment between global mobility and talent management
  • Challenges in tracking business travelers and the inherent risks they pose to businesses
  • The importance of data analytics in refining policies and practices
Strategic Alignment

Strategic alignment of global mobility and talent management is high on the agenda for many companies, such as Mars and Astra Zeneca. The increasing importance of integration with an eye on the goal – return on investment – was discussed at length, with companies recognizing the need to be active about change management and setting strategy. With many Global Mobility departments now reporting into the Talent Management function rather than Compensation and Benefits, the focus is on making real changes to ensure that the “Lean In Generation” of employees and their families, many of whom have dual careers to navigate, do not feel forgotten during and after their assignments, and can be confident that mobility is being factored into their wider career development path.

“Return on investment is the Holy Grail – how do we reach that? Who you report to doesn’t matter, but how you work together does.” - Helen Walton, Astra Zeneca

Business Travelers

The challenges in tracking and managing business traveler risk was discussed in great detail. Although most companies have detailed policies in place, implementation has proven challenging due to the need for collaboration between departments. With increased monitoring by HMRC, getting all business streams to work together and understand the consequences is vital. HSBC and ING noted that consistent data collection is essential, but without a dedicated “owner,” this process can be haphazard. Lloyds reiterated the need for education amongst managers and employees, and the importance of engagement from senior management to ensure alignment.

“Travel is ‘too difficult’ for most businesses. These people are probably the biggest risk companies have.”
- Sharon Galatis, HSBC

Big Data

The importance of harnessing program data, and how technology can help to improve informed decision-making and drive collaboration and alignment was widely discussed. Use of multiple systems by internal and external stakeholders can lead to errors and increased administrative burdens, and disparate data sources hinder access to the data required to predict trends and gain real insights. Polaris highlighted the benefits of integrating systems and data sources to reduce wasted time, effort and inconsistent records resulting from duplicate data entry, allowing program managers to focus on metrics that measure and improve effectiveness and ultimately lead to a return on investment. Global Mobility managers highlighted their need to easily access accurate, real-time data to allow them to focus on strategic questions such as “are we sending the right people” and “are we being successful,” rather than simply “who are my assignees” and “how much do they cost?"

“Data analytics will be the next big thing in global mobility.”
- Dimitri Vigushin, Polaris

Congratulations to MOVE Guides CEO Brynne Herbert for winning Rising Star in Global Mobility in Europe!

About The Author

Brynne Herbert

CEO and Founder