insideMOBILITY Atlanta 2020: Event Highlights
The insideMOBILITY 2020 series got underway last week in the US city of Atlanta, Georgia. Against the backdrop of Atlanta’s bustling midtown, 92 mobility professionals gathered for three days of immersive discussions, presentations and peer-to-peer workshops.
Mobility Tech Solutions
The event kicked off with a series of breakout sessions covering a range of subjects, from covering the fundamentals of global mobility for newcomers to the complexity of international policies. In one session, Graebel’s Natalie Campbell discussed the latest developments in mobility tech solutions, making a compelling case for enhancing client outcomes by focusing on technology as a service. Attendees learned who’s doing what in the Relo Tech space, and how different delivery methodologies suit different client requirements. For example, Campbell explained that some technology may not be suited to clients who want a truly ‘hands-on’ delivery option.
Creating an Amazing Employee Experience
On Day 2, Shane Smith, a Global Human Resources Executive, delivered a powerful keynote on the employee experience. Focusing on people and culture as drivers of competitive advantage, he explained that engagement is critical to making employees happy and enhancing performance. A strong company mission, purposeful design and long-term approach, he said, can really begin to motivate the modern workforce.
Reinforcing his point, Smith conducted an audience poll, which showed that ‘authenticity’, ‘empathy’, ‘positivity’, ‘empowerment’ and ‘flexibility’ are seen as key components of a great employee experience.
Smith then described how a strategic and systemic approach is essential to driving change, highlighting three focus areas for enhancing the employee experience:
- Emotional environment: helping employees to feel connected, driven and inspired
- Physical environment: leveraging space and facilities to optimise comfort and convenience
- Operational environment: providing the right recognition, tech, processes and support
While all three areas are important, Smith advised that “the easiest impact we can make…is to focus on the operational environment – because that’s what’s in your hands”. Through the operational environment, mobility professionals can control the employee experience more effectively – making processes simpler; ensuring appropriate benefits are in place; bringing digital experiences into the workplace; and providing personal and professional help.
Ultimately, concluded Smith, we need to evolve the metrics we use and measure experience more strategically. A firm believer in the maxim, “what gets measured gets managed, and what gets managed gets executed”, Smith explained that we need to shift away from traditional KPIs and their focus on quality, cost and speed. Instead, a KEI (key experience indicator) model, predicated on ease, value and sentiment, will provide greater insight into the employee experience, delivering lasting value for individuals and organisations.
Winning Over Senior Stakeholders With the Help of Data
Across Day 2, delegates were able to attend an interactive workshop on the critical issue of Getting Leadership’s Buy-in with Better Analytics. Run by Graebel’s Katrin Razzano, the session explored how demonstrating the strategic value of mobility is key to winning over senior stakeholders.
But what are the metrics and measures that really make a difference? Senior leaders often question the value of their company’s annual spend on assignments and relocations, and increasingly expect Human Resources, including Mobility, to be more analytical in their functions. Providing hard data that demonstrates ‘return on mobility’ is therefore essential.
The problem is, with the proliferation of data across the Mobility space, where to begin? Through a series of peer-to-peer discussions, participants identified the importance of “starting with a plan”: defining priorities and goals, and understanding what senior leaders need to see in order to perceive value. Once it is clear what data is required – e.g. performance levels while abroad, length of tenure post-assignment – the task of capturing the necessary information becomes much easier. It’s also important to establish how data is formatted, who owns it, and how it can be accessed.
On Day 3, a number of industry experts took to the stage. Kristen Mansfield, from Bank of Oklahoma, facilitated a discussion on the intersection of onboarding and relocation, while Brenda Stanton of Keystone Partners led a session on managing mobility careers. Richard Tonge from Grant Thornton also spoke about change and developments in mobility tax.
Managed Moves or Lump Sums?
In another key session, Joe Jackson, Graebel’s Senior Vice President of Business Development, facilitated a lively discussion on the pros and cons of managed moves and lump sums. As passionate advocates for both sides engaged in a panel debate, attendees heard how companies wrestle with the ease and agility of lump sums, versus the care and completeness of the more traditional managed move.
As the discussion revealed, the benefits of lump sums include:
- Flexibility and choice in the relocation process
- Freedom to prioritise spend – e.g. on transportation of pets or household goods
- The feeling of ownership and being in charge
Meanwhile, managed moves ensure:
- Guidance and support during relocation
- Access to tried and tested suppliers
- Dedicated customer service and the guarantee of quality housing
But it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Increasingly, companies are taking a combined approach, with relocation packages comprising both managed move and lump sum components to maximise assignee benefits.
Mobility Technology, Industry Panels, and State of Mobility 2020
In addition to the main sessions and workshops, participants were able to attend practical, hands-on demonstrations of Graebel’s leading tech solutions, such as globalCONNECT, CitySwitcher and Graebel Analytics.
They also had the opportunity to meet a panel of Graebel’s frontline experts, who showcased their work and provided guidance on delivering successful mobility outcomes. And finally, they witnessed the launch of Graebel’s annual State of Mobility Report, which provides a vital snapshot of regional mobility trends, challenges and solutions.
insideMOBILITY Continues in 2020!
The next scheduled insideMOBILITY event will be held on 16-17 June in Frankfurt, Germany, followed by insideMOBILITY Singapore, scheduled for 9 September, 2020. If you’re an in-house HR, Reward or Global Mobility professional, register now to take advantage of these exciting opportunities to meet, share and connect!