global mobility in 10 years

What the Past 10 Years Tells Us About Global Mobility

Even before the pandemic, the shift to improve Employee Experience in companies had been a popular topic — the Covid-19 outbreak only magnified it. Although in the past decade many businesses have taken the lead on prioritizing better Employee Experience (EX) within their organizations, others failed to find its importance and are now lagging in this area.

Crown World Mobility made notice of businesses that weren’t able to adapt fast enough, so it conducted a live benchmarking session with global mobility thought leaders discussing emerging EX priorities before the Covid-19 pandemic, mental health and wellbeing, and predictions for Employee Experience, Customer Experience, and Global Mobility. In addition, it compiled the insights from the session and created a white paper exploring what affects EX in Global Mobility for different companies.

Global mobility’s EX priorities before the pandemic

Prior to the pandemic, most efforts of global mobility leaders were centered on creating more flexible policy options for employees, accounting company budgets, and employees’ varying needs and lifestyle choices. This is evident in different policy approaches such as lump sum, core-flex, and policy tiers.

Companies also include Household Goods (HHG) moving options and more alternative housing options that cater to the needs of employees within their policies. Moreover, automation through digitization to often tedious and repetitive administrative processes of employee relocation was also a trend before the pandemic.

A global mobility thought leader pointed out that before 2020, the medical technology industry’s focus was to provide a Service Catalog to answer assignees frequently asked questions without having to constantly contact HR. Likewise, in the professional services industry, a head of global mobility mentioned the dire need for more self-service and more user-friendly letters and policies without the burden of mass documentation.

Global Mobility trends for the past 10 years

Santa Fe, a global relocation management company, draws findings from its multi-award-winning Global Mobility surveys of over 10,000 global mobility professionals and an estimate of 300 senior leaders. According to its recent Global Mobility Survey, it shows the achievements of the Global Mobility sector and what lies ahead across the themes of talent, compliance, and transformation.


  • More diverse global mobility policies and types of assignments

Long-term assignments were rampant up until 2016 when short-term assignments were considered to be more strategic and more prevalent.

  • Remote and hybrid working options

Even before the pandemic, in 2017, 29% predicted that virtual assignments would become more common in the next five years. But now with Covid-19, many businesses have turned to more virtual assignees

  • More diversity and inclusion in the organization

Businesses have become more focused on business continuity rather than diversity and inclusion due to the pandemic. It was found that a focus on people policies and strategies to attract talent slid from 30% to 24% in 2018 and 2020 respectively.


  • Complex compliance of new destinations

In the survey, 40% of the respondents have conducted relocations to new destinations for business expansion resulting in more complex legal and tax compliance policies for global mobility professionals.

  • Geopolitical and safety compliance’s impact on immigration

Uncontrollable events such as Brexit and health crises like Covid-19, virus outbreaks, and epidemics have brought in more immigration, health, and security complications for both global mobility teams and assignees.

  • The importance of duty care

There’s no question as to why business leaders have prioritized duty of care over the past years. With an ongoing health crisis, it’s safe to assume that a focus on corporate social responsibility isn’t all too surprising. A jump from 26% to 38% of respondents who considered duty of care a top priority is observed.


  • Focus on in-region operations

An upward trend in implementing a local-hub model is shown. It sloped up to 75% in 2020 from 14% in 2011. This calls for businesses to highlight the importance of global mobility teams to become more culturally aware and make sound decisions on the basis of regional operations.

  • Strategic advisor role of global mobility teams

Gone are the days when global mobility professionals can’t give sound advice to employers and C-level executives. Global mobility teams have become more involved in strategic workforce planning. In addition, Global Mobility has been lauded as a key aspect of corporate growth as its function as an advisory body becomes more and more essential as the talent landscape evolves even further.

  • Utilization of technology in global mobility functions

Integrating technology in global mobility functions has become more widespread to hasten repetitive and time-consuming tasks. The survey shows an increase of over 60% of respondents using global mobility software from 2011 to 2020.

It’s clear that global mobility has become a key force in business growth over the past decade and it continues to evolve with the rapidly changing business landscape. The future of business has certainly been shaken by recent events, but it just goes to show that businesses have to possess resilience and adaptability to be able to survive.