Human Resources




4 employee mobility trends to watch in 2019

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HR leaders from Veolia Water (Malaysia), Worldline Asia Pacific and TÜV SÜD PSB share the trends they expect to see in employee mobility in 2019, in interviews with Priya Sunil.

– with inputs from Aditi Sharma Kalra

According to Strategy Analytics’ “Global Mobile Workforce Forecast”, the global mobile workforce is set to increase to 1.88 billion in 2023, accounting for 43.3% of the global workforce.

With a future comprising a mobile workforce on the horizon, in this feature, we draw focus to the highly-anticipated workforce mobility trends HR leaders based in Singapore and Malaysia foresee for the year ahead.

1. Mobility will be a balancing act among various needs

According to Selvi Murugiah, HR Director Asia Pacific, Veolia Water (Malaysia) Holding, as the world shrinks and borders disappear – with international businesses and multinationals mushrooming around the globe – mobility has become a norm for any business. In fact, she believes mobility even takes on a bigger scope than HR or talent.

She said: “Mobility is also about mobilising funds, technology, expertise, mindset, culture and all relevant and related needs that will take centre stage. This is unavoidable and if not handled with care or well-thought, it can be a disaster!

“The solution is balance. We need to balance the need/want of the company with not only the need of the employees, but also the country or society and the economy as a whole. The ecosystem needs to be balanced not only with dollar and cents but also with values and the post-effect of any mobility.”

Connie Chua, Head of HR, Worldline Asia Pacific, shares the viewpoint. She said: “Technically, employee mobility should be a focal point in years to come. However, we have to strike a balance between business demands and the cost of mobility. On top, managing mobility and understanding each and every local regulatory requirement is critical and time-consuming.”

2. Well-defined, end-to-end mobility objectives

Selvi from Veolia Water (Malaysia) believes it is important for the objective of mobility to be well-defined and that the process should be end-to-end – from pre-to-post remuneration package, career development, transfer of knowledge, employee satisfaction, company requirements, country-related laws more.

[ALSO READ: Fresh off the plane: 5 tried-and-tested employee mobility initiatives]

3. Transfer of knowledge and skills from foreign to local talent

Sometimes, a global organisation in a particular country may lack a skilled manpower, resources to train their existing employees for specific skills and knowledge. In such cases, companies may mobilise certain employees overseas – either permanently or for a limited period – to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills to employees over there.

According to Lyn Teo, Senior HR Business Partner / CoE, Recruitment (ASEAN), TÜV SÜD PSB, this is becoming increasingly common within organisations. She shared: “With a lot of this support coming from the Government in terms of capability transfer, capability development, I think organisations are planning and initiating the skill transfer rather than doing it randomly.”

As for Veolia Water (Malaysia), the company is undertaking a training programme for employees, which it will over the next 12 months. Selvi affirmed: “We are focusing on the transfer of knowledge from the imported or visiting experts and growing those expertise for local needs, to also contribute back to this mobility cycle.”

4. Permanent transfers will keep growing as a trend

According to an ECA International survey on permanent transfers, with companies seeking flexible and cost-effective alternatives to traditional long-term assignments in mobilising their employees, there has been an increase in permanent international transfers.

As a result, survey findings show that companies will increasingly depend on their global mobility team’s expertise, with well-structured and flexible policies introduced to facilitate this effectively.

Check out the survey highlights in the infographic below:


Lead image / istock
Infographic / ECA International

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