7 Signs That You Are a Global Mobility Professional

You’ve spent a huge portion of your professional life handling the affairs of your peers as a human resource manager.  You also spend a lot of your downtime reading up on the latest Chinese expansion into Africa or the connectivity challenges that are facing the best and brightest telecommunications talents in India.

You haven’t taken a crash course in immigration law, but you’re the first person that your colleagues consult when it comes to requirements of a foreign visa. And though you like that part of the job where you introduce foreign hires to the wonderful treats that they can enjoy in their new American neighborhood, you keep emphasizing to everyone who will listen that you are NOT a “relocation officer.”

You might have to cut your non-HR colleagues some slack because in the fast-moving world of the global mobility professional, the lines between certain tasks, job positions, and departmental assignments can be thin. You yourself might have assumed your new role as a global mobility professional without a formal re-assignment of duties like a signed document. You might have grown into the ‘job’ and loved it, without realizing the transition.

So, how do you know if you have become (maybe even without your conscious awareness) a bona fide global mobility professional?  Here are 7 tell-tale signs:

  1. Your job description, function, and title might have been altered a little to include words like “international” or “cross-cultural.”  All of a sudden, your boss and his foreign clientele start calling you as the “International HR Manager” or “Admin and Cross-Cultural Officer”.  Or an email reaches you that your current HR duties have been expanded to oversee the recruitment and management of overseas talents.
  2. You have taken a liking to learning a couple of other languages besides your native English. Listening to digital recordings of how-to-speak Japanese has become a hobby that you actually look forward to doing during the weekends.  And during those moments when you do interact with your foreign assignees, you find yourself asking how they’d say English phrases, words, and even entire sentences — like “How are you doing?” — in their native tongue.
  3. You immediately link global developments to their possible impact on your office and the personnel. A CNN story of a storm that floods entire towns in Thailand may get sympathy from your colleagues, but you will automatically reach out to foreign nationals working in your company to make sure they, along with their families, are physically safe and emotionally at peace.
  4. You keep abreast of the development of talent globally, while your comrades in the same department just concern themselves with the hiring needs of your city. When you read a report that 20 percent of the American workforce will be composed of retirement-seeking baby boomers in a couple of years’ time, you do a mental calculation of the younger American talents in your team who you can develop, while also double-checking which specialized positions can be filled by international talent.
  5. The contact information of foreign ambassadors, consuls, diplomats, and the US immigration officers is on your speed-dial list.
  6. You can give a grand tour of the best things that your city can offer to relocating professionals and their families at a moment’s notice.  For example, if you’re based in Northern California, you can enthrall your employees’ kids with tales of whale-watching in Bodega Bay, soothe their spouses with spa services at the Meritage Resort, or entice the whole family with a trip to the Napa wine country.
  7. Your boss loves you because, although you are not an accountant, you take cost very seriously. You know exactly how much hiring and relocating a foreign national would cost. At the same time, your smartphone seems to be wired to a great deal of sites that offer the best deals in corporate housing, transport, and furniture. More important, you can also calculate the actual value that your new hires bring to your company.  In short, you’re a business-savvy person who can support why your new recommendations are worth all that effort.

If all these have been falling on your plate the past few months, take good notice of it.  And if these assignments accelerate, you’ll soon find yourself as part of the global mobility professional network.