Posted by John Bestgen, Recruiting Practice Lead at Hula Partners
Some years ago the expat post was considered a hardship that had to be rewarded with large benefits packages and pampering. Fortunately, for both employer and employee these attitudes have shifted. Far less often these assignments are thought of as a hardship, today many consider them an immense opportunity for professional and personal development. Posts abroad are increasingly in demand and in many organizations are seen as rewards for outstanding performance in one’s current position. Apart from improving the employee’s skills, for many the assignment offers opportunity for internal promotion where none is currently available in their current location.
However, beyond the expat assignment scenario, Talent Management leaders seem to be directing greater focus on the strategic importance of international mobility, seeing it as a key component for successful global development of the organization. Millennials are becoming a critical component of many organizations’ talent pools which is changing the view of international assignments. 50% of Millennials want opportunities for international assignments and 40% of Millennials are willing to relocate to advance their careers (Boston College Center for Work & Family). That’s why companies are increasingly promoting expat culture, as this is not about where you are, but rather how you are developing your career. And of course, doing this abroad gives you lots of points.
Today, this is more apparent than ever in a globally connected world where communication between countries is real time and work relationships are increasingly flexible and rendered in many different ways. According to a new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC), the U.S. mobile worker population will grow at a steady rate over the next five years increasing from 96.2 million in 2015 to 105.4 million mobile workers in 2020. By the end of the forecast period, IDC expects mobile workers will account for nearly three quarters (72.3%) of the total U.S. workforce. The cultural shift this represents supports greater ability for companies to recruit and assign talent on a global scale due to this increased number of workers for whom a physical office location is no longer a requirement.
However, to leverage the benefits of international mobility to both the employee and the organization, the relevant processes and technical solutions must be architected in such a way that they both in concert support the process. Two major goals are critical. First, identifying if suitable talent must be global in nature in one searchable interface. Second, open opportunities and potential career tracks can be evaluated by the entire relevant global talent pool both within and outside the organization.
In addition, processes must be globalized or at least regionalized whenever possible outside the statutory requirements that are typically country-specific in nature. Common policies, processes, forms, and standards across national boundaries allow the organization to be more agile in focusing the most effective talent to a specific position on a global scale. “Regionalized” talent pools can be segmented representing multi-national resources who can be placed in opportunities within a group of countries most easily due to their shared process and standards structure.
In conclusion, support for international mobility is becoming increasingly important as the economy continues to become more global in nature. Organizations that take care to craft their talent acquisition strategies and corresponding solutions in such a way to facilitate a global view of available talent against available positions and future potential opportunities will be best positioned to compete and win in the coming years as globalization continues.
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