Important Steps Needed to Restart Talent Mobility

As lockdowns are being lifted and coronavirus cases are either flattening or going down, expect for talent mobility to restart. It may not happen as fast as we global mobility managers would like, but company heads and business leaders who want to continue their globalization campaigns would want to get their employees traveling again, but in high degrees of safety. 

At the same time, everyone would still be proceeding with caution as we navigate along this strange new world. As early as now, there are a few trends that we should be taking note of, and adjusting our plans of work-related travel and employee deployment accordingly.

Prioritizing the safety of employees

As Topia describes it, ensuring the safety of assignees who travel for business reasons will become of paramount concern to the organization, the global mobility manager, and the talent themselves. Health insurance cards or some kind of health coverage will always be valued, but they may not be enough. 

Assignees would want to know the kind of protection and compensation they can receive should a business trip lead to a COVID-19 infection. At the same time, both the assignee and the global mobility manager would always be watching out if the former has gone to, or will be visiting a high-risk area.

With things in flux, both of them will have to be extra vigilant. As governments likewise monitor their public health status, borders will never remain permanently open nor closed.

They can open one day as cases go down, only to close a week later should the numbers rise again. Assignees visiting these areas should have the confidence that their organizations have their back. Guidelines on basic health protocols such as social distancing and sanitizing measures can also boost their confidence.

Enhanced communication during relocation and travel

Constant communication is another way to ensure that the assignees are protected while on a business trip, while monitoring that the job gets done. As TLNT points out, gone are the days when the global mobility manager simply gives the assignee a lump sum of money, and resources and tools that will help them book a flight or secure an accommodation. Because of economic uncertainties or even socio-political changes, both assignee and global mobility manager have to be agile, when it comes to destinations, itineraries, health benefits, and financial resources. 

Because the rules are changing, they have to be in touch with each other at all times, and in constant dialogue. All those months of doing virtual conferences while working from home should have prepared them for this.

Development of a rapid response plan 

Mercer posts this solution in the likely event that the best laid plans go to waste. Doing business during the time of a pandemic means having the agility to cope with the unexpected—and then responding optimally in the fastest possible time. 

What if the assignee is asked by the hotel manager to go into quarantine for a few days, because new cases spiked in the town they are staying in?

What if the airline companies of the region that the assignee is currently based suddenly canceled their trips? What modes of transport can the assignee use to finish their task and return home safely? Or what happens once the assignee does return to the home office—only to be diagnosed as coronavirus-positive?

There are no easy answers to these scenarios. But the best way to come up with a solution is to acknowledge that they do exist, list them down, think them through, plot all the variables and how each scenario will unfold. Realize the threats and the risks, then create a plan that can neutralize them. Then create a well-thought-out plan that will help all parties bounce back from those scenarios and become all the more stronger because they have overcome them.