Preparing for the Future: Looking to the Mobility Industry’s Challenges and Opportunities
By Bill Graebel, CEO & Chairman of the Board
As every year passes, the Mobility industry evolves and presents new opportunities for us all to assess and seize. This is no exception in 2019. Around the world, we’re seeing three key trends that are shaping workforce and talent Mobility programs and solutions:
- Progression of technology: This is one of the biggest factors driving the future of work. In the Mobility industry, for example, Artificial Intelligence-based tools will be used for more day-to-day assignee interaction, and today’s personalized employee Mobility portals will expand to be more self-service, offering greater flexibility and convenience.
- Importance of data and analytics: Data and analytics will play a bigger role in Mobility programs – especially when it comes to forecasting. We’ll have more data specialists; and data will help identify the right candidates for the right assignments.
- Mobility of human capital: As more companies expand to new markets, global talent and relocation needs will increase. Expect to see Mobility volumes grow, particularly in emerging markets and with the new era of mobile talent such as gig workers and cross-border transferees.
This is all affirmed by what we heard from Mobility professionals globally. Each year Graebel hosts several insideMOBILITY® sessions regionally, bringing Mobility professionals together to discuss industry best practices, trends, challenges and opportunities. From the 2018 insideMOBILITY® sessions in Denver, London, Munich and Singapore, Graebel created the Annual State of Mobility Report with latest insights from the minds of industry practitioners.
Our Annual State of Mobility Report shows that each region – EMEA, APAC and Americas – has slightly different priorities, based on labor markets, geographies and business needs. For example:
- EMEA: Mobility professionals are adjusting their strategies to deploy the new generation of talent, including Millennials and gig workers. To create programs that complement these new workers’ need for flexibility and input in the process, 70 percent of EMEA Mobility professionals indicated technology used by their assignees will be the biggest change in their Mobility programs in the next five years. And of course, Brexit is top of mind in this region with employee education about post-Brexit conditions cited as a critical element of preparation.
- APAC: With 25 percent of this region’s respondents listing International Assignments as their top priority for 2019, APAC-based companies are working to find the balance between cost (38 percent listed this as a top concern) and flexibility (31 percent listed this as a top concern). Flexibility is particularly important in International Assignments in the APAC region as assignees face cultural variations that may require specialized support.
- Americas: Mobility professionals in this region say their main focus is breaking down barriers and building a strategy that touches the relevant areas of their organization. This includes continuing to provide services related to home sales, a major relocation benefit for U.S. companies (with Buyer Value Option (BVO) remaining the most used program – 70 percent incorporate this type of policy), and tax law and Mobility, where 56 percent of respondents are confident the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 will not drive changes in their Mobility program.
However, regardless of each region’s particular focus, Mobility providers and practitioners recognize the importance of addressing today’s needs while anticipating the cultural shifts of tomorrow. Below are a few overall industry trends we heard from Mobility professionals and how Graebel is focusing on them to support our clients and their transferees:
- Continue to provide exceptional experiences to our assignees through our Duty of Care. While there seems to be incremental practice and priority shifts in the Mobility industry every 12 to 18 months, it’s important to remain constant in your company’s dedication to raising the standards of service and embracing the spirit of care-giving.
- Enhance and deploy tools and techniques to help Mobility professionals define their strategies and calculate the Return on Investment for their programs. The collection/use of data ranked among the top five priorities for 2019 in all three regions, demonstrating the growing need to prove Mobility programs’ value. Showcasing Mobility programs’ positive ROI, or Return on Mobility as we like to call it, will help Mobility professionals earn a seat at the table.
- Support companies in creating more flexible Mobility programs to match the new era of workers they’re deploying, including business travelers, commuters, one-way transferees, gig workers and cross-border transferees. Flexible and emerging offerings like Core-Flex or Lump Sum policies address two fundamental priorities of the changing workforce – employee empowerment and program cost control.
There’s a tremendous opportunity for global companies to evolve their Mobility programs and succeed in today’s changing marketplace. From being more strategic to data collection and measurement tools to flexible program offerings and advanced technology solutions, we’re excited to embrace these trends to help serve companies and their employees. We look forward to partnering with you in this endeavor. Here’s to the year … and the world ahead!