Employee Mobility…A Workforce on the Move

January 15, 2018

Employee mobility is an issue that has taken on a whole new meaning as more and more businesses have gone global. Employees today are commonly asked to take assignments in company locations outside their home country. These kinds of opportunities are seen as benefits by many employees who enjoy experiencing new cultures and the multi-cultural exposure.

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Managing employee mobility is important though, because without the right training and planning, employees moving to foreign countries will not be prepared to meet the challenges such moves present. Your company does not want to find itself faced with loss of productivity, or worse, loss of its best managers because of lack of planning. Being prepared to address the issues related to employee mobility should be included in the company’s strategic planning.

Quality of Living

Your company may frequently transfer employees within the country or outside the country. Either way there are concerns which should be addressed in your compensation and benefits packages. For example, in the US, a manager transferred from a small town in Texas to a large northeastern city will be faced with many of the same issues as an employee transferred from the US to Canada.

These concerns or issues include cultural and compensation differences. These differences become more pronounced when your company re-assigns employees from a developed country to a third world country. But it is really a matter of degree. Making sure your staff are well prepared for these types of moves will insure the transition is smooth and they remain productive. After all the reason managers are transferred is in order to better utilize their talents and skills within the company.

Many transfers involve more than the staff also. Your managers and workers have families who are as much a part of the move as the company employees. It’s important for your company to recognize the needs of the employee’s family also. Unless your staff feel as if their family will also benefit from the transfer without jeopardizing their safety or welfare, company transfers will meet a lot of resistance.

Doing the Homework

It can be difficult staying on top of the various area cultures and practices on a global scale. Professional consultants who can do the research and provide important guidance on a variety of mobility issues can help a company maintain a smooth and productive transitioning workforce. Some of the common areas which should be specifically addressed if your company transfers staff to new locations on a regular basis include the following.

  • Cost of living differences between locations or countries
  • Maintaining quality of living standards in the new location
  • Identifying benefits available in the new location
  • Structuring a worldwide employment strategic plan
  • Structuring a worldwide benefit plan
  • Developing a family relocation policy and plan
  • Developing an expatriate compensation and benefit plan

These are just a few of the common issues related to relocating employees to locations around the world. It’s important to have a well developed and current strategic plan so your company is always ready to assist staff with a smooth transition.

Employee mobility is going to increase as businesses continue to expand their global operations, and those companies best prepared will be the ones which are the most competitive.