Predictions for for global mobility in 2024
Global mobility professionals have seen huge changes to their function in recent years and 2024 will continue to present new and varied challenges. With technological advancements, shifting workplace norms, and changing attitudes toward work location, global mobility professionals have a key role to play in ensuring organizations stay agile and competitive in the global talent market. In this blog post, we explore the top trends in global mobility for 2024, offering insights that will empower global mobility professionals to navigate the complexities of managing a more dispersed workforce.
1. Remote and hybrid work models will increasingly intersect with other types of employee mobility
The pandemic greatly accelerated the adoption of remote work, and the implications of having more highly distributed workforces continues to unfold for organizations and their employees. In 2024, remote and hybrid work models are no longer just temporary solutions but have become mainstream in a majority of workplaces.
With more and more employees working from places other than a designated corporate office, the boundaries between remote work and other forms of employee mobility - from assignments to business travel - have become more and more blurred. In fact, recent research from Topia, ‘Adapt to the new realities of your distributed workforce’, based on a survey of 1,800 HR professionals and employees, revealed that 73% of employees want the option to add a ‘workcation’ onto their business travel. This typically means they want to stay in the location they’ve traveled to for an extended period, working their standard hours remotely from their new location and not using any PTO or annual leave.
So as well as dealing with their established mobility programs, this means that mobility professionals are increasingly being tasked with supporting the distributed workforce models that their companies have adopted. What happens - for instance - when someone on a short-term assignment wants to continue to work remotely in the place they have been sent to? Global mobility professionals are now having to navigate these new complexities at scale for their businesses.
2. Managing compliance will become more challenging
Following on from our previous prediction, as a result of companies managing more dispersed workforces, the compliance landscape that global mobility professionals have to navigate will become more complex. Professionals in the field have to contend with ever-evolving immigration policies, tax regulations, labor laws and more. Couple this with the increase in business travel and remote work and you potentially have a very complicated employee work location footprint.
While work location flexibility is in demand among employees, it does create a challenge for the global mobility and HR teams who are tasked with managing the compliance issues that can arise when employees work in new locations. Staying informed and proactive in addressing these issues is paramount to the success of global mobility programs.
3. There will be an ongoing focus on the employee experience
Creating a positive employee experience will continue to be of critical importance for global mobility teams. As organizations recognize the importance of attracting and retaining top talent, they are placing greater emphasis on the overall experience of their entire workforce, regardless of whether they are in-office, at home, traveling or on assignment. From seamless relocation processes to ongoing support for expatriates and their families, global mobility professionals will be expected to prioritize employee well-being and satisfaction in 2024 no matter where employees are working.
4. Key mobility processes will be automated using technology to drive efficiencies
Businesses will rely more heavily on technology to automate mobility workflows in 2024 and beyond. This will allow global mobility teams to reduce the time they spend on time-consuming manual processes, streamline important processes and pave the way to make more data-driven decisions about their programs. From scenario planning and running cost estimates to assignment management and payroll delivery, technology is driving efficiency and improving the employee experience. Global mobility teams will need to stay one step ahead of the latest technological trends and innovations to enhance their mobility programs and deliver against their overall strategic objectives.
5. Data-driven decision-making will become even more critical for global mobility
As organizations expand their global mobility programs, the need for data to support fast and effective decision-making is imperative. Managing corporate responses to new regulations, ensuring the organization meets employee needs and shifting market dynamics mean companies will have to adopt an agile and data-informed approach to be successful.
The first step towards data-driven decision-making is collecting, managing and accessing high-quality data about your global mobility program. With advancements in technology and increasing access to interconnected data sources, global mobility professionals have more options than ever to gather and analyze information related to spend, employee status, immigration, tax, and more. In 2024, global mobility professionals will be asked to not only provide this kind of data but also use it to inform their global mobility strategies.
6. Global mobility teams will continue to integrate sustainable approaches to moves and relocations
Organizations are integrating sustainable practices into their relocation processes, a trend expected to gain further momentum in 2024. Recent research by our partner, AirInc, revealed that global mobility professionals are already implementing eco-friendly initiatives including encouraging assignees to find accommodation within easy reach of the workplace via public transport (to avoid the need to drive), renting furnished accommodation in the host location as default choice (to avoid the need to transport personal belongings from home to host) and reducing the number of flights taken by employees where possible. As crucial contributors to aligning mobility strategies with corporate sustainability goals, global mobility professionals will continue to prioritize green practices in the coming year.
7. More and more focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) initiatives
In recent years, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging initiatives have grown significantly at the majority of organizations. Companies are recognizing that fostering an inclusive and equitable environment contributes not only to employee satisfaction but also to enhanced creativity, innovation and overall business success. Global mobility professionals are not only addressing the logistical aspects of relocating talent but also actively promoting a culture that values diversity, equity and inclusion. To do this effectively, global mobility professionals must first be able to provide relevant DEIB data and insights into their global mobility programs to identify any potential areas of bias. These insights can then be used to create even better approaches to supporting DEIB for moving employees.
8. Skills shortages will heighten the need to recruit and retain top talent
As organizations seek specialized skills, global mobility professionals must develop strategies to attract, develop and retain top talent. This includes offering competitive compensation packages, career development opportunities, and innovative approaches to talent acquisition. Our recent research showed that 35% of the employees we surveyed had moved to new employers in the past year, and another 35% are actively seeking new employment in the coming year.
How can global mobility help? Well, when asked what attracts employees to an employer, 28% mention opportunities for international project experiences or international travel. Global mobility programs are a great way to offer the kind of professional growth so many employees are seeking, helping companies safeguard against employee resignations.
The outlook for 2024
As global mobility professionals enter the new year, staying ahead of all of these trends is crucial to effectively manage the challenges they are facing. By addressing the complexity caused by the blurring of boundaries between remote work, business travel and global mobility, prioritizing the employee experience, finding tools to mitigate compliance risk, using data to refine their programs and promoting sustainability and DEIB, global mobility professionals can position their organizations for success in an era of unprecedented change.