Talent mobility challenges ahead

Highlights from the SIRVA Mobility Report: Talent Mobility for Business Growth – Aligning Practices to Drive Organisational Impact.

The SIRVA Mobility Report: Talent Mobility for Business Growth – Aligning Practices to Drive Organisational Impact, highlights the shift many organisations are now taking toward a strategic mobility function. The best programmes are now global, and primarily focused on operational excellence. They are thinking deeply on factors such as candidate selection.

But there are still challenges ever-present. Ensuring alignment across different markets and functions within the organisation, managing costs, and successfully leveraging on the opportunities presented by big data are some of the key focus areas identified by the research.

SIRVA conducted in-depth interviews with 143 mobility professionals, representing the international programmes of 134 unique organisations. Those programmes handle an average of 90 permanent relocation moves per year, as well as 186 long-term international moves.

Almost all of the participants expected their programmes to grow in scope and volume over the coming three years.

Alignment challenges

Only 50% of the survey participants rated their mobility programme as “somewhat” or “completely” mature. This was – in part – due to the wide array of reporting arrangements that are in place for the teams. Only 10% of the programmes were managed under the Talent function, with most placed under another HR grouping, usually Compensation and Benefits.

There is evidence that a push toward the “branding” of mobility as a critical success factor supporting business growth and talent objectives has not yet been successful. The survey found that most employees still do not view relocation as a prerequisite for career advancement.

Organisations need to bridge this gap between operational and strategic mobility functions by providing appropriate infrastructure to recognise employee preferences.  They should also focus on internal communications that can highlight the importance of mobility in business terms.

Cost control

While most survey participants were unable to fully quantify the cost of relocating an employee, it was still clear that managing costs remains a priority for mobility leaders around the world.

Organisations that are looking to increase efficiencies within their programmes have considered a range of policy options. They include analysing and rationalising the scope of services being offered; partnerships between the mobility function, and subject matter experts both within and outside the organisation, additional efficiency-driving technology, and clearly-visible Return-on-Investment tracking.

Data concerns

Perhaps of most concern to outside analysts, was the lack of technology awareness and digital savvy within mobility teams.  When asked what type of technology was used to support big data and mobility trend analysis, over 34% of the survey participants indicated “not applicable” to their organisation and programme.

Analytics platforms enable mobility managers to extrapolate historical relocation information from hundreds of thousands of past relocations, in order to generate performance, financial, and operational reports. In addition, these tools enable users to track ongoing programme costs, policy exemptions, and satisfaction survey results.

The report notes that the lifecycle of a relocation requires touchpoints from a multitude of sources, and each of these touchpoints represents an opportunity for data to be collected, and used to enhance and improve the end-to-end experience for relocating staff.

“Gathering, reviewing, and extrapolating this data is challenging due to the immaturity of the systems being used, or because of the number of systems employed to manage the process,” the report notes. It suggests organisations leverage off their internal HR information systems and combine data with external vendor systems to get the most usable results.

The full SIRVA Annual Mobility Report is available for download on the company’s website: www.sirva.com