Survey: Mismanaged Global Mobility Programs Increase Risk, Threaten Growth

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<strong>New York &mdash; April 1</strong><br />Global mobility programs look good on paper and sound good in theory, but are being treated with far less importance at a majority of companies, according to a new survey from the Human Capital service area of Deloitte, a professional services organization. Consequently, companies are exposing themselves to a new level of compliance and competitive risks.<br /> <br />Only 54 percent of human resources executives from 130 companies surveyed expressed confidence in the ability of their global mobility processes to stay compliant with local and international employment laws. And although 43 percent of respondents replied that they view global mobility as a key business competency, only 10 percent believe their companies are actually treating it as such. <br /> <br />&ldquo;Clearly, there is a lack of confidence in global mobility programs, and we believe that&rsquo;s attributable to disconnect among management about global mobility. This puts companies at serious risk because global expansion and operational efficiency have become increasingly pivotal factors in corporate competitiveness and growth,&rdquo; cautioned Robin Lissak, principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP&rsquo;s Human Capital service area and director of the survey. <br /> <br />Global mobility done right, according to respondents, means aligning with the business to proactively anticipate and fulfill talent needs, effectively select assignment candidates and maintain legal and regulatory compliance. <br /> <br />Despite this consensus, however, more than 60 percent of survey respondents reported their global mobility programs were poorly aligned with these priorities. Fewer than half (43 percent) rate their companies&rsquo; ability to anticipate global mobility needs so that appropriate policies, programs and processes could be put in place to meet those needs as &ldquo;very&rdquo; or &ldquo;moderately strong.&rdquo;<br /> <br />&ldquo;It is likely that misalignment is the result of unfocused, unstructured approaches to global mobility,&rdquo; explained Gardiner Hempel, a partner in Deloitte Tax LLP&rsquo;s Global Employer Services service line. &ldquo;We believe the survey results mandate a new approach to how companies manage global mobility. It is no longer a niche activity that touches the lives and budgets of a select number of employees where responsibility is spread across multiple business units. It is a strategic talent and business issue that should be approached with the same level of attention, focus and commitment in today&rsquo;s management meetings and boardrooms as other key business competencies.&rdquo;<br /> <br />Of the surveyed executives who regard their programs as more effective, 75 percent reported the existence of a single, centralized global mobility function in their organizations over those with less effective programs. In fact, half the companies rated by their executives as having a noneffective program don&rsquo;t even have a dedicated global mobility function; global mobility initiatives are pursued on an ad-hoc basis. <br /> <br />&ldquo;The good news in this study is that many organizations say they are finding ways to break away from outdated programs and processes for globally mobile employees,&rdquo; said Lissak. &ldquo;In growing numbers, some companies are embracing approaches that have been created or transformed by a whole new way of thinking about human resources, global talent sourcing and employee mobility. Companies are beginning to experience a paradigm shift from transaction-driven forms and procedures to strategy-driven actions that attract high-potential employees and boost company business performance and competitiveness.&rdquo; <br /> <br />In addition to the survey, Deloitte developed a companion piece, &ldquo;Smart Moves: A New Approach to International Assignments and Global Mobility.&rdquo; Both the survey report and &ldquo;Smart Moves&rdquo; offer key recommendations and suggested processes to consider for developing a strong, effective global mobility program to better align employee deployment with business strategy, reduce the risk of compliance failures and a provide a higher ROI from global workforce employees. <br /> <br />A full copy of the survey report and the &ldquo;Smart Moves&rdquo; companion piece are available online.<br />

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