Global mobility failing to create competitive advantage

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Global mobility is failing to make an impact on competitive advantage, according to research by Ernst & Young, with more than half of mobility executives in multinational companies involved only in deployment, rather than talent management and wider business strategy.

Although global mobility had a positive impact on 83% of individuals’ career progression, there was no “global” talent management agenda for 42% of the mobility specialists who responded to the survey, entitled Your Talent in Motion: Global Mobility Effectiveness Survey 2013.

The consulting firm’s research found that the administrative burden of managing mobility often got in the way of more strategic work around wider business objectives – half of respondents said their mobility team was understaffed. Seven in 10 were involved in preparing internal paperwork and sign-offs, yet 69% had no involvement in the assignee selection process.

More than three-quarters of organisations reported that their mobility function did not measure return on investment, and many did not track what happened after the end of an assignment. Around one employee in eight leaves the company within the first two years after repatriation.

The survey also found that, despite a heavy focus on paperwork within mobility teams, 40% did not have a formal risk-control framework to monitor tax or social security compliance and 31% have had to engage outside consultants to address violations. Surprisingly, 73% are not using technology to track people’s activity.

Dina Pyron, Ernst & Young’s global director for human capital, said: “With the globalisation of markets comes the need to have talent that understands, relates to and can compete in these diverse markets. Mobility professionals must play a more effective role in strategic business planning, rather than focusing on immediate needs, to drive competitive advantage for their organisations.”

Leslie Fiorentino, the company’s Americas mobility services leader, added: “Mobility teams offer valuable insight on travel issues, compliance and cultural differences that other business units often overlook. Yet, many companies are still hesitating to link the talent management team with the mobility function.”

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