Six key observations from ERC's Global Workforce Summit: Talent Mobility in APAC

A lot of great sessions and dialogue took place at ERC's Global Workforce Summit in Shanghai last week. Here are some of our favorite observations:

  1. Mobility representatives from GE, Johnson & Johnson and Phillips were on a panel regarding cost management in Mobility. All of them concluded that for their companies, it is about focusing on the investment in terms of the talent agenda - knowing why they send people, what is the objective. And, repatriation and retention were all mentioned as part of their strategies. Six key observations from ERC's Global Workforce Summit: Talent Mobility in APAC

  2. The annual Global Thought Leader panel this year had representatives from Morgan Stanley, Abbott Laboratories, Citi, and United Overseas Bank. Participants shared that they want their Mobility service partners to bring them something new and to give data that tells a story, not just data for data's sake. One corporate representative concluded by saying that the Mobility service partner's role should be to “not just discuss 20 ft and 40 ft containers, but to think outside of the expected scope and innovate. Be creative and show us you are trying something new. We’d rather you fail trying something new than bring us the same old thing”.

  3. Cisco and Corning presented their processes on preventing stealth expats. Both came up with low-tech, low-cost ways to raise awareness and prevent the risks. One company has a corporate travel provider and will not reimburse flights booked outside of their system. Another has mandatory on-line training for all travelers with a closing quiz to raise awareness. Everyone liked the idea of the company that penalize the repeat offender business unit impacting their bottom line. The biggest motivation shared was about a past compliance issue when a government where they operate fined the company more than US$ 1 million, which certainly got listener's attention!

  4. Unilever and AIRINC presented their vision of the importance of data analytics, it was a great interactive session with a full house. They shared ways to gather and use data at each stage of the assignment: pre-assignment, on-assignment and post-assignment. They also highlighted that data is not just numbers, but evaluations, assessments, interviews and exceptions. Unilever explained that when they started to require an SVP level approval for assignment length extensions, the numbers of requests almost disappeared and their post-assignment planning process improved. The visibility of the request became a deterrent.

  5. Domestic relocation in Asia was on the agenda for the first time. Consistent with our experience, companies shared that the barriers to domestic moves are aligned with barriers to international moves - dual-careers, children's education and extended families. This results in the need for "split-family" policies.

  6. The summit ended with a fabulous motivational speaker, Dr. William Tan, who has overcome many personal, physical and cultural barriers to exceed his dreams of becoming a doctor and completing marathons on seven continents in a wheelchair. He was often told that he couldn't do what he wanted to do as he grew up. His messages were encouraging and something for all of us to consider:

  • What is the best thing that we can do under the circumstances?

  • Refocus and win with less

  • Maximize what you do have and unite strengths

He also said that discontent is the driver and to see opportunities when others see problems. Focus on the solution, not the problem and have the ability to see around the corners. It was an inspirational end to the conference. 

We are already looking forward to next year.