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In today’s globalised business environment, it is no surprise that mobility is increasing. According to SIRVA’s new report, population volumes for all relocation types are expected to remain the same or increase over the next one to three years, with the highest likelihood of increase for international short term relocations (49%) and extended business travelers (41%).

In line with that, SIRVA’s report titled “Talent Mobility for Business Growth – Aligning Practices to Drive Organisational Impact” found that the the mobility function is undergoing transformation.

Over 55% of participants indicated that the mobility function had undergone a transformation in the past three years, with over 81% acknowledging that the transformation had an impact on how it operates within the organisation.

However, data suggested that these transformation activities were largely focused on rationalising spend tied to mobility policy rather than delivery model. Almost half (48%) of participants are unable to quantify program administration spend; 47% of participants said their mobility service delivery model is misaligned or neutral to the organisation’s business and talent objectives; and there are clear indicators of opportunities to improve the nature and level of support provided to business stakeholders and relocating employees.

Digging deeper, while the bulk of the participants saw the purpose of the mobility function (related to business support) as a mix of operational/administrative support and strategic business advisory services (62%), 28% indicate a need for mobility to focus solely on business advisory services. The report also revealed that with the current perception of mobility as focused on business partnering is at 16%, it indicated an opportunity to better align.

ALSO READ: Global employee mobility in 2017: 5 trends to watch

Another misalignment found was the importance of talent development/employee relocation versus how important experience outside of an employee’s home location was for career advancement.

The survey revealed that organisational growth (38%) and talent development (22%) were ranked as the highest priority of the participants’ overall corporate culture, and talent development/employee relocation rated “very important to the organisation’s overall success of business and talent strategy”. That said, career/work experience outside of an employee’s home/origin location didn’t seem too important for career advancement, with only 44% agreeing that career/work experience outside of an employee’s home/origin location was a key requirement for career advancement

Additionally, the report revealed that only half of respondents rated their mobility program support model as “somewhat” or “completely” mature. Only 10% of mobility functions are managed under the talent function while a human resources function (compensation and benefits or other) managed over 80% of mobility functions, indicating that stated organisational priorities are not, in practice, supported by strategic mobility.

“There is evidence that the “branding” of mobility as a critical success factor in achieving business growth and talent objectives has not been successful. Employees do not view relocation as a perquisite for career advancement. The importance of mobility in business success is under-represented based on employee perceptions,” the report stated.

It suggested that one way organisations can bridge the gap between operational and strategic mobility is by implementing a program that provides the appropriate infrastructure to recognise organisational and employee preferences through customisation, flexibility and cost awareness. At the same time, a focus on enhancing communications regarding the importance of mobility is a critical factor of success.

Taryn Kramer, vice president, global consulting for SIRVA Worldwide Relocation & Moving, commented: “Executives and leaders who are involved in the process of relocation need actionable information about how the mobility function can enable their organisation to keep pace with today’s challenges and deliver on opportunities.”

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