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Talent Mobility and the Conversations You’re Probably Not Having

Talent Mobility and the Conversations You’re Probably Not Having

U.S. companies spend 25 billion dollars every year on corporate relocations. If your company is not part of that statistic, it probably should be. And even if you are already investing in relocations, international assignments, and talent mobility to develop your workforce, are you setting them up for success?

The Benefits of a Mobile Workforce

A globally mobile workforce includes a talent pipeline of employees willing to relocate to advance their careers and skills. As a company, talent mobility is critical for both the success of a company and the development of its talent.

A mobility strategy diversifies a company’s talent pool. In turn, this strengthens the business. By strategically moving individuals through the organization in different locations and roles, companies are developing a diversity of experience in their workforce. This enhances long-term succession planning. Workers open to relocation also offer a company added flexibility and the nimbleness to be more efficient with its resources.

Make Mobility Part of the Career Conversation

Global Mobility teams have talked for years about getting more aligned with Talent Management. I believe there is a significant opportunity for talent organizations to better leverage mobility as a strategic talent development tool. Successful talent mobility practices begin before anyone is actually accepting a move. To be taking full advantage of the entire workforce, employers must ensure that mobility is part of the career conversation.

Managers can initiate that conversation with employees during regular discussions on development. This allows them to not only understand overall career goals and appropriate development for that, but also how mobility might fit into a career plan. This can also eliminate any biases on whether an employee would be open to relocation. For example, a woman whose husband has a good job might not be tapped for a promotional opportunity because of concerns about the husband’s willingness to move, even though that might not be a deterrent for their family at all.

Having these conversations baked into ongoing conversations puts you on the same page with your employees. It also paints a more accurate picture of your company’s talent pipeline. Employees also have a responsibility, as part of their own career development, to make leadership aware that they are willing to be mobile.

It’s Not Just Companies that Benefit from Mobility

Accepting a transfer or assignment makes a career statement. It’s a signal to organizational leadership that the employee is committed to the business, wherever it may take them. In addition, it’s an accelerator for future opportunities.

Mobility does not even have to be upward to be beneficial for an employee. Lateral moves can also be a great tool for an employee to develop individually. They can add a new skill set or gain expertise in a different area of the business. This makes them even more valuable within their company. Diversifying your employees’ experiences helps them feel valued, gives them a wide array of opportunities and continues the flow of new ideas within the company.

Being willing to relocate also opens more doors for employees. They are generally promoted faster than their counterparts due to learning more along the way. Relocations also provide greater exposure to diverse teams, experiences and senior leaders.

Setting Employees Up For Success

Ensuring relocation success goes far beyond the logistics of a move. Employers must take a holistic approach to not only ensure a smooth relocation but also the personal and family integration into the community, since 70% of relocation failures can be attributed to a lack of family adjustment, and loss of productivity following a move can be significant. Additionally, 41% of millennials are concerned about making new friends in the new location. If an employee is spending time working through the personal issues of a move, they’re likely to be less engaged at work and less likely to stay in the job. By helping employees and their families adjust to their new homes and communities, your company is protecting its relocation investment.

Even before the move takes place, pre-decision assistance can support an employee considering a relocation by alleviating concerns about the partner’s career or special needs children for example. Help them address the biggest obstacles they face in considering the relocation, while increasing offer acceptance.

Did you know that more than half of relocation refusals are based on a partner’s career worries? Provide Dual-Career Assistance to help your employee’s partner identify career opportunities in their new city to improve the employee experience of the relocation. It’s also important that employers help their workers acclimate to their new communities, which can be as simple as providing resources on schools or community activities in the area that will help the family adjust more quickly.

Having a mobile workforce is an incredible asset for any company. By providing the proper support, it’s a tool that can make businesses stronger. Oftentimes, it is these mobile workers who are the most dedicated to your organization so it’s vital to ensure a relocation not only benefits business, but also your people.


Contribution by Lauren Herring

Lauren Herring is the CEO of IMPACT Group. She propelled the company into a global career development leader. As a second-generation female business owner, Lauren is uniquely positioned to help future women leaders succeed. She is passionate about building a better world and helping people reach their career goals. Lauren serves on various boards like Boy Scouts, Washington University’s Women’s Leadership Forum, Connections to Success which helps people in the cycle of poverty gain economic independence and St. Louis Regional Chamber, which supports the economic growth of the St. Louis community.

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