Study: Global Mobility is Set for Rebound and Better Prepared Normal

Part 2 of 2

Global mobility is set for a rebound. There will be a new normal, and in some cases, the industry will find an improved, more efficient and better prepared normal, according to a Crown World Mobility report. Global mobility is said to be using the time during this global crisis to support their existing mobile populations while proactively preparing for remobilization. This follows the first report titled “Why Global Mobility, Job Placements Can’t Afford to Stand Still.” 

Meanwhile, relocating talents have to endure the fact that even if they are supposed to be on their way to the United States, they can only work now on a “virtual assignment” status. The pause on the move will allow employees and their families to take advantage of the delay. 

The employee and family have the opportunity to get to know the new location, culture, healthcare system, daily living and expat community infrastructure in advance, which may help to alleviate the uncertainty and stress while they wait. Many companies recognize it as an excellent benefit to encourage as part of your organization’s support. 

Following is the biggest opportunity for companies and employees to take advantage of their high-touch virtual support system:

• Pre-departure cross-cultural training is available virtually from most providers; it is good to know that strategies around the employee and family’s well-being, adjustment, and managing the stress of a move are also common modules in a cross-cultural training program. 

• Language training has been available in a virtual format for many years and is another example of employees and their families preparing to hit the ground running – and feel better prepared to communicate and adapt to the new location before they go. 

• Partner support is an increasingly available service to accompanying partners in instances of dual career couples – employees whose spouse/ partner has a career being put on hold or disrupted for the international assignment or transfer. 

It is another example of a type of support that often doesn’t begin until arrival in the new location; however, there is no reason why the coaching and support cannot begin in advance to get a head start on understanding the opportunities and job search market prior to arrival. 

• Virtual home surveys were available as an option prior to Covid-19 and are a great opportunity for employees who want to prepare for moving day, and get their household goods assessed and ready for packing. 

For the many global mobility teams that are busy communicating with and providing support to their stakeholders while preparing for remobilization, it is also important to focus on their own team members, the team process and taking care of themselves.

• Check in with each other and don’t assume that a virtual home situation is the same as everyone else’s. While a team’s use of video in meetings is becoming the norm, remember that there will be days and moments where colleagues are not feeling camera-ready

• Assume good intentions and give people who are having a bad day, or a bad moment, a chance to try again, apologize or just move on. 

• Create new ways to motivate, congratulate, celebrate and give feedback as a virtual team depending on the household and the location’s current point in the crisis. Checking with team members to see how they are doing, not just what they are doing. 

• This may be a good time to assess your current program’s tools, policies and infrastructure. A number of companies are upgrading their communication tools, reviewing and improving policy, and changing priorities and guidelines to meet their current situation. 

Still, certain mobility policies need to be reviewed

 • There are certain typical elements of a mobility policy that will need to be reviewed and the language updated for the post-crisis assignment or transfer environment, including: ‐ pre-assignment medical exams found in 75% of policies today.

Existing medical conditions that were less concerning in the past might have more meaning today regarding an employee’s decision to accept an assignment; awareness of new requirements for medical documentation for immigration may emerge.

The element covering personal matters is only addressed in 17% of policies today, but is an example of a no-cost way for companies to help their employees understand pre-assignment activities that allow them to depart with more peace of mind – encouraging employees to put wills, insurance and legal documents in order.

Health insurance coverage in policy may need to provide more details about host location medical programs and processes as part of an employee’s decision-making information. 

Many companies have reduced headcount during this time. They have to consider how this may have impacted their own team makeup as well as the global workforce their team supports.