New research shows that global mobility has a bevy of benefits that can be leveraged to drive in talent.
By Patti Wasson
Although talent mobility is sometimes viewed as a logistical process for relocating employees from point A to point B, savvy leaders increasingly realize it can serve as a strategic tool for HR teams and companies, when it comes to talent attraction and retention. Talent mobility not only shows a company’s willingness to invest in employee growth and development, which drives increased loyalty and performance, but also fosters a diverse, competitive talent pool. This creates the more inclusive workplace culture that employees are seeking, while developing a workforce equipped for long-term success.
Graebel’s annual State of Mobility Report, Graebel Companies found that employees benefitted professionally from relocations and assignments and say their companies benefitted as well. In fact, every State of Mobility mobile employee experienced some positive outcome as a result of the relocation or assignment and 99% say talent mobility benefits their company. This creates a positive feedback loop among talent, recruitment teams, and the overall business that reinforces the value of talent mobility.
Why are HR teams and mobile employees alike championing employee relocation and its advantages, even in a time of economic uncertainty? Diving deeper reveals a range of compelling benefits for both employees and companies, highlighting the value of talent mobility in meeting individual and organizational performance goals.
Align Talent Recruitment with Shifting Workforce Priorities
Top talent is always in demand, even when economic headwinds blow. The most sought-after candidates have elevated expectations with respect to employee experience, work-life balance, and workforce diversity. Talent acquisition professionals can leverage mobility as a strategy for addressing these expectations, as part of a broader approach to creating a talent magnet employer brand. Here are three tactics to consider.
1. Offer work-life balance. Employees’ work priorities have shifted in the post-pandemic world with an increased focus on achieving a healthy work-life balance. Prospective employees are looking for growth opportunities for themselves and their families, personally and professionally. Consider, for instance, the top reasons why mobile employees wanted to relocate: increased salary (23%); develop leadership skills to position for advancement (16 %); and better job security (14%). Talent mobility creates these opportunities for employees by exposing them to new work assignments, cultures, and countries. In turn, employees recognize and appreciate the investments made by companies in providing new opportunities and experiences via talent mobility, which align with their work-life goals. HR professionals should know that potential candidates may show a greater inclination to pursue careers with companies that provide relocation opportunities and leverage talent mobility as a pivotal talent management strategy that fulfills employees’ personal and career goals while yielding significant enterprise benefits.
2. Make mobility more inclusive. For many companies, talent mobility has moved beyond relocating primarily senior executives to include employees at various levels. This evolution signifies a growing commitment to fostering talent development and growth for a broader range of employees, while stretching the mobility budget and building talent pipelines. Instead of allocating entire relocation budgets on a few senior leaders who may need additional assistance and costly housing support, companies can do more with the same budget by relocating employees at a range of levels. This can even include recent graduates and even interns who will typically have fewer household good to ship and will require less resources. Sixty-nine percent of State of Mobility respondents were non-executive level, demonstrating the growing trend of expanding talent mobility opportunities to stretch mobility budgets and extend the benefits of talent mobility to more employees.
3. Remove barriers. Organizational focus on workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion continues to grow year after year and employees are actively seeking out companies that offer a sense of belonging and value their perspectives and lived experiences, no matter their background. Talent mobility can help build a diverse workforce by recruiting, selecting, and supporting marginalized populations. Through global workforce mobility, companies can broaden the talent funnel to include a more diverse candidate set and provide equitable and inclusive relocation opportunities to employees (and their accompanying family units) of all backgrounds. Breaking down barriers and opening up access offers a variety of employees assignment opportunities that can build their work and leadership skills. In addition to supporting talent management goals, there’s a strong business case for DEI—diverse groups are 58% more accurate in problem-solving compared with homogenous groups and employees whose leaders give diverse voices equal attention are 3.5 times more likely to contribute their full innovative potential.
69% of State of Mobility respondents were non-executive level, demonstrating the growing trend of expanding talent mobility opportunities to more employees.
Building Employee Retention and Long-Term Career Success
Mobility plays a large role in employee retention and setting employees up for lasting success. Here are two key areas to focus efforts on.
1. Contribute to career development goals. Talent mobility programs provide employees with the chance to build their careers by offering diverse assignments, cross-functional projects, and job rotations. The State of Mobility report show, the top outcomes experienced personally or professionally because of relocation include:
- increased salary (48%);
- acquired knowledge and new skills (43%);
- expanded professional network (42%)
The exposure relocation provides mobile employees strengthens their knowledge, broadens their business perspective, and develops their functional or strategic expertise, ultimately fostering personal growth and advancement. In fact, 84% of mobile employees in the State of Mobility report agreed they would not have advanced in their careers as quickly if they hadn’t relocated for a corporate assignment.
2. Incorporate succession planning. Talent mobility assumes an important role in providing employees with the necessary experiences, capabilities, and personal support to become potential successors for key positions. For example, 74% of mobile employees believed those who relocate are more likely to be put on a leadership track. By offering opportunities to gain relevant skills and training through relocation, organizations can cultivate employee loyalty that leads to long-term employee retention and the maintenance of business continuity.
When strategically developed and efficiently executed, talent mobility can serve as an intentional tool for HR teams to attract, retain, and develop top talent. By aligning with evolving workforce priorities, nurturing individual career development, promoting diversity in the workplace and supporting succession planning, talent mobility can become a cornerstone of organizational success.
Patti Wasson is chief people and ethics officer at Graebel Companies, Inc.