Global Mobility Trends and Innovations in 2022

Today, people have learned to live with a health crisis in our midst. While experts understand that we can never predict every change in the future, it should never be an excuse to slack off on efforts to be better prepared.

Take for example the COVID-19 pandemic. No one anticipated that this epidemic would grow to become a global pandemic. Businesses just weren’t prepared. Many firms filed for bankruptcy, others had to resort to mass layoffs. 

In May 2021, 34% of small businesses in the USA were closed. A Pew Research Center survey reports that 1 out of 4 adults had trouble paying bills and 25% of US adults mentioned that they or someone from their household lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The pandemic has taught business leaders that our ability to be one step ahead is the ticket to cushion the negative impacts of any event whether it’s anticipated or unprecedented.

In global mobility, there have been numerous experts deriving insights to better understand what they can do to alleviate the effects of the health crisis. And one thing is for sure, mobility professionals have been at the top of their game during the health crisis. 

In the Asia Pacific, Deloitte witnessed the rapid responses made by businesses’ global mobility teams to the pandemic. Most companies in the region were quick to focus on dealing with workplace disruptions while monitoring public health developments so they can make more informed decisions for their workforce.

As global mobility professionals were pushed to the frontlines, they had to find creative and strategic decisions on how to monitor and track global employees. Their strategies were mostly centered on managing employees on assignments and traveling, advising business leaders on tax and compliance changes, and making sure that employees are in safe and compliant working environments.

One of the greatest skills global mobility leaders have developed is their ability to identify trends and innovations that will help organizations make more strategic and well-informed business decisions.  

And as we are almost halfway through the third year of living under a health crisis, it’s important to understand the trends we should be expecting. To aid mobility professionals, let’s focus on Crown World Mobility’s (CWM) three of the bigger trends they have highlighted.

1. Covid still drives instability and creativity in the mobility realm

There’s no question as to how impactful the health crisis was on the business world. With travel restrictions, stringent health protocols, and global supply chain disruptions, it’s safe to say that global mobility was a major recipient of the effects of COVID-19.

Though the negative impacts have been highlighted, most global mobility professionals have a positive outlook toward the field in the future. They even considered the pandemic as the catalyst for change and innovation.

CWM further elaborates on these changes and innovations:

Vaccine home leave. In the context of the health crisis, home leaves are offered to families for COVID-19 vaccinations. There is much inconsistency with vaccine roll-outs. Plus, an individual’s preference of which vaccine to take makes it difficult to assure all employees are administered the needed vaccinations to continue work. So companies now give assignees home leaves to get vaccinated in the country of their liking whether it’s the host country, country of origin, or a country in close proximity.

International remote work. Physically assigning employees won’t be a problem if companies opt to do virtual assignments. The pandemic has widened the talent pool and caused a massive surge of remote workers.

Immigration. Since it seems that the pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon, online processing of visas will likely become permanent in the next few years.

2. Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) – walking the talk

Though there have been efforts to comply with DEI mandates, there’s still a long way to go. It’s been recognized by global organizations as an issue that needs to be addressed. Now, corporations have hastened DEI hiring and training practices and have created advisory boards to increase DEI in supply chain partnerships and business decisions.

Here are some of the changes and innovations:

LGBTQ+ marriage equality. Countries have been moving forward by legalizing same-sex marriage. This will affect how mobility professionals craft mobility policies for their assignees to ensure minorities are included and show no signs of discrimination.

Work-from-anywhere and remote work. Flexibility is the trendy word in global mobility news in the past two years. The growing demand for giving employees more control over where they work and when they work has significantly influenced global mobility practices.

Core-flex policy, education, marketing. Core-flex is a common method for companies to align their policies with DEI strategy. It tackles compliance issues, tax immigration, travel, and benefits. Some companies even include cross-cultural training in their core policy.

3. Sustainability and mobility with purpose

Global companies have yet to make major efforts in sustainability initiatives in their mobility programs. There’s still much to unravel on what sustainability really means in global mobility, but climate change seems to be the focus currently. Prominent organizations have already pushed for more efforts from the business sector to take global warming and climate change as serious issues to be dealt with. Another aspect of sustainability is the unstable geopolitical world where a couple of organizations are attempting to target as well.

According to CWM, these are some of the innovations that are currently in the works:

Talent beyond boundaries. This non-profit organization provides pathways for refugees to have access to work in better working environments with better pay by utilizing existing skills to their advantage.

Defining environmental metrics. It’s easy to claim a company is contributing to sustainability. But it would be more effective if organizations learn to become more specific with their sustainability goals and find measurable metrics to determine whether they’re reaching their goals or not.

Indeed, there’s a lot on global mobility teams’ plates in the coming years. But if there’s one thing that the pandemic has proved is that this field of work has become more resilient and is beginning to enjoy more press. Many global mobility leaders are looking forward to cooperating and innovating with global thought leaders along the journey of learning to adapt to the new normal.