Talent mobility is a hot topic from both an employer and employee perspective. It impacts on the success of organisations that operate globally and is common as part of a defined career strategy for an individual seeking an international placement. Nicola Pohlen frames criteria and requirements in the article below.
Are you a suitable candidate?
In response to globalisation and the requirement for flexibility in rapidly changing business needs, smart organisations consider the potential mobility of their workforce seriously and early on, as a key part of their talent management and pipelining.
This is often critical to the success of organisations that operate globally and can contribute to talent attraction due to the organisation being recognised for potential international placements as part of a defined career strategy.
But it may not be as easy as it seems, at first glance, to take up a position overseas.
Candidate considerations include:
- There are often two careers to consider - when an employee is in a relationship their partner may also have a career.
- What are the motivators - is it quality of life, financial rewards, excitement of a new city or country, career advancement?
- Financially attractive - this needs to be carefully calculated because of differences in housing costs, education, food, taxation.
- Personal attributes and disposition - some people are more flexible and adventurous than others, giving them a likely easier transition into another culture and work environment - more on this below.
- Having a pipeline of the right talent for international assignments, at the right time, who say ‘yes' to relocation.
- Knowing the work and lifestyle conditions to match up personality requirements.
- Structuring assessment to ensure candidates are the right choice.
- Providing a seamless mobility process that supports work, family and cultural conditions.
Global Relocation Trends
Brookfield Global Relocation Services in 2011 gained responses from 118 senior HR professionals who together managed a total worldwide employee population of 5.6 million.
Highlights from the report include:
- China, Brazil and India were the primary emerging destinations.
- Critical relocation challenges included assignment costs (15%), finding suitable candidates (12%), career management (12%) and compliance (9%).
- Top family challenges identified as very critical to companies were partner resistance (47%), family adjustment (32%), children's education (29%) and location difficulties (25%).
- 22% of respondents had formal career management processes for international assignees and 18% of respondents had a formal candidate pool for international assignments.
Destinations in Demand
For all countries and NZ, global assignments no longer mean a glamorous posting in Europe or Australia. Emerging markets, including the BRIC countries, are demanding more people resource and organisational attention.
Many of these emerging market countries have limited infrastructure and lack quality education options; lifestyle and recreation conditions are not remotely related to candidate experience in NZ, all of which contribute to initial culture shock exacerbated by language issues.
Gaining Assignments to suit your Requirements
- Employees seek global assignments for many reasons which can be clustered broadly around three key areas:
- Increased financial rewards
- Career advancement
- Interest and challenge
It is evident with Pohlen Partners international partners that financial advancement is top of mind for those at later stages in their career. Often they are focussed on financial security and are at a stage when they can be readily mobile to accept assignments.
Those mid-career but seeking career advancement and financial rewards can have more risk factors at play as there are partner/spouse considerations and education issues.
The third group who are keen for less career oriented reasons place high importance on having interesting and challenging opportunities provided by varied roles, new experiences and learning about new cultures.
What is evident is that it is a complex career and lifestyle choice for those on global mobility assignments. The employee has a myriad of factors to consider in coming to a decision and the organisation needs to be strategic and supportive in offering assignments. To ensure a successful individual/family decision and smooth mobility transition, serious analysis and assessment needs to be carried out first. There is a trend, particularly overseas, for companies to engage with career management and development providers offering structured programmes specifically designed to assess and support mobility, for example at Pohlen Partners, through collaboration with our international network, we have incorporated mobility assessment and planning into our Career Services programme.
A typical framework may look like this:
- Goals assessment and key drivers
- Plan timeframes and employment options
- Research for opportunities
- Attitudinal assessment
- Global relocation transition support
- Spouse/Partner assistance
- Destination initial support
By going through each of these steps in depth, the risk of failure on a global assignment is known to be reduced and the success of employment relocation is enhanced with individual career and lifestyle goals being aligned to original objectives and business imperatives.
The natural follow on to this is then getting your next assignment move back to New Zealand and this employee repatriation assistance needs careful planning and is another topic.