As a result of the global work-from-home imperative, high-impact projects can now be led by anyone, be it from the HQ or outside. Report by Aditi Sharma Kalra & Priya Sunil.

On 5 May 2021, Human Resources Online had the opportunity to host its first in-person 'Interactive' series for this year, kicking off with Workforce Mobility Interactive. Focused on distilling trends in global mobility, this sixth edition of the event was produced by Prassana Pillay. 

From the on-ground conversations, we've pulled out key trends in employee mobility, as highlighted by the speakers and panelists. Check them out below:

1. Flattening of organisations: One of the positive things that has emerged from the pandemic is that due to the amount of remote work, it has provided an opportunity to people outside of the HQ to take more leadership roles and spearhead projects that previously weren't always possible. As a result, work, and high-impact projects, can be led by anyone, be it from the HQ or outside.

2. Talent mobility is humanising: We need to consider the employees’ needs while mobilising. How do we do that? Understand the employee – all the way from knowing about their family to how they undertake their job, to really experience a day in their shoes. We need to have empathetic conversations – the role of HR in mobility has become far more emotional. HR isn't there to simply get the job done, HR has to empathise with its assignees and have hard conversations when needed.

3. Measuring success in mobility: We need to get to the step of measuring the performance and value of assignments, as opposed to harder measures like costs and budgetary data. Many of us have made huge advances in the last 12-18 months on this front, as a result of the pressures we’ve faced.

4. Protocols for remote working: Priorities have shifted today, and remote working is now the norm. As such, there are five key protocols to have in place:

#1 Have regular communications with the team
#2 Set clear expectations and timelines
#3 Ask - how are you doing? And genuinely wait for that response. It's particularly important when you can’t meet face-to-face now.
#4 Find ways to have fun and connect in a more social way, when you can’t meet each other.
#5 Keep abreast about the situation in the countries you look after.

5. Dynamics across geographies are changing: The hypothesis is that the developing economies aren’t exactly lagging behind developed economies anymore. In absolute terms perhaps, but in relative terms the gaps have really improved, especially in terms of education, productivity, household income, telecom etc. Many locals are educated overseas in developed countries. What does this mean for the future of mobility? Companies are looking more stringently on what the new playbook will be, and how they can move people to both developed and developing economies.

6. Wellbeing is no longer about work-life balance: Wellbeing is about what is right for you as an individual. This is very different to the traditional approach which is more organisational-led in terms of an array of policies for work-life balance.

Image / Prassana Pillay

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