As a workforce mobility leader, you’ve come to accept change is just part of your role. After all, evolving business goals, shifting organizational priorities, a changing global mobility environment, and unexpected events can all shape the way you develop and manage your mobility strategy.
But if you aren’t aware of the transitions happening in your organization and don’t make it a priority to keep on top of changing regulations, policies and practices, you’ll always feel one step behind—reacting to events instead of managing them proactively. And this chronic firefighting will keep you in order-taker mode rather than elevating your position as a strategic leader.
While it can be difficult to escape this situation, there are some small actions you can take. Here are a few ideas for getting ahead of change and exhibiting more influence and control over how it is managed:
Get clarity on organizational objectives
Sometimes leaders don’t always make the connection between how a critical organizational initiative may impact workforce mobility. Other times, communication about key initiatives just gets lost and doesn’t filter down to everyone who needs to know.
One of the best ways to mitigate this challenge is to review published corporate communications or reports. These often summarize top organizational priorities, like reducing costs, expanding into other regions, or increasing hiring diversity. Once you understand what the larger corporate goals are, you can anticipate the impact on your program. And you can proactively prepare for the change by outlining mobility’s contribution.
For example, if your organization plans to consolidate and enter a new market because of a merger and acquisition, you’ll recognize the need to align your talent and mobility strategies with staffing that location. You’ll also know to prepare the organization about what to expect regarding immigration requirements, budget needs, additional workforce mobility support for the group move and more. And you’ll need to evaluate existing policies and practices in the context of what needs to be accomplished for the business to ensure you can meet those objectives
Meet regularly with key stakeholders
If you’re the last to know about business activities that will impact your program, it’s impossible to plan. But if you can take the initiative to build relationships with key stakeholders, you’ll spark earlier conversations. And you’ll have the opportunity to make recommendations rather than scrambling to respond once a decision has been made.
While it is difficult to find time in your already overloaded schedule, even meeting with key stakeholders for 30 minutes each quarter can go a long way to helping you get ahead of changes that will impact your program.
During these conversations, ask questions that will give you insights into how your team will need to be involved, including:
- What important initiatives are you working on right now?
- What’s happening in your division over the next few months?
- Is there a different profile of candidates you will require?
More often than not, non-mobility leaders are focused on growing revenue, improving their supply chain, and lowering costs. They aren’t thinking about how these priorities connect to your program. So getting answers to these types of questions in advance will allow you to feel more in control and lead your team more effectively.
Take small steps to plan for the unknown
When you have so many tasks on your plate, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and put off planning for future scenarios that could impact your mobile workforce.
However, getting caught off guard without a plan will be a much more difficult problem to face, particularly if the situation puts your employees and organization at risk.
Think about some small things you can start doing today to ensure your team can triage when unexpected events happen and prevent other downstream effects.
For example, take the learning you gained from COVID-19 and highlight the gaps. Then, begin documenting a procedure that outlines how you will handle a future situation that requires moving employees out of a location quickly and safely.
Don’t worry about making the plan perfect. Just get it started and allow other team members to collaborate. This will give you something tangible you can continue to iterate over time. It will also provide peace of mind knowing there is a document to refer to when you need to manage through this kind of change.
Graebel helps create a holistic picture of your workforce mobility efforts so you can operate more strategically. Our proprietary Graebel Mobility PathBuilderⓇ Strategy program enables you to develop an action plan that aligns your mobility efforts with the corporate vision so you can more proactively address specific business initiatives.
“Graebel worked with a Fortune 100 manufacturer on a 6-month change management strategy to transition from an in-house managed global mobility program to a fully outsourced initiative. Through Graebel’s phased approach, change management challenges were minimized and employee net promoter scores increased by approximately 30%, with mobile employees feeling more supported, better informed and less disrupted in their work.”