Lisa Johnson

Email: ljohnson@crownww.com

An introduction to
Crown World Mobility's
Perspectives series by
Lisa Johnson

Meet Lisa Johnson
Global Practice Leader, Consulting Services

Lisa is Global Practice Leader for Crown World Mobility’s Consulting Services. She is responsible for supporting Crown’s clients and account teams with Global Mobility program and policy design and enhancements.

In addition, Lisa is also responsible for Crown World Mobility’s quarterly Perspectives series, along with research and thought leadership output for the organization. Her articles have been published in numerous industry magazines including Mobility, Compensation & Benefits Review and HR Executive.

Lisa is also a regular speaker at industry conferences in Asia, EMEA, Latin America and North America.

What are the challenges of your job?
Crown World Mobility works to anticipate the evolving business and assignee needs faced by our corporate clients. Our job is to provide insights and solutions to a wide range of global mobility issues. Our challenge is to stay attuned to shifting trends in order to partner effectively with our corporate clients. However, this is a challenge that drives our team and makes our job challenging in the best possible way.

What are people's real experiences of the problems of being mobile? How do they solve those?
At the end of the day, an international assignment, even for the most adventurous of employees and families, always has some level of challenge. Industry research shows that a family's inability to adjust is the number one cause of assignment dissatisfaction that can lead to occasional early returns, and many more assignees who remain on assignment but grow unproductive and dissatisfied with the experience. A professional challenge for the assignee is that companies often lack the infrastructure to support their career planning needs that link the assignment to long-term career goals and contribute to the organization's assignment-related ROI. Fortunately, from either perspective (adjusting to the assignment or linking the assignment to career planning), today there are many types of support and strategies to address these issues. Selection and decision-making tools prior to accepting an assignment, pre-departure training so that an employee and family are better prepared for the adjustment, settling-in support upon arrival; all contribute an individual's or family's success. In terms of linking the assignment to career planning and ROI, best practice companies are providing support in the form of discussion guides for assignees and their managers, along with increased accountabilities and processes to address this area.

How do you think the industry has changed in recent years? Is it more complex or easier than it used to be?
Our industry has evolved from one that provides primarily tactical support related to getting an employee and their family from point A to point B and back again – moving an assignee's personal belongings, finding housing and schools, etc. – to an industry that also requires our ability to address areas of mobility programs that are more strategic. Now we must be able to provide insights and strategies specific to a company's geographic expansion, the assignee populations' evolving demographics, needs related to selection, repatriation, the evolution of spouse/partner support, the alignment of policy with business and budget needs, etc. The complexity has certainly increased.

How might technology change things – for better or worse?
Technology has provided an enormous improvement for assignees and extended family members. It allows them to gather information about the host location prior to even accepting the assignment, to quickly connect to other members of the expatriate community in order to ask questions, to see what potential housing looks like prior to a look-see trip, etc. It allows assignees and their families to maintain more instant communication with extended family and friends far away. Now out-of-sight, out-of-mind is less pervasive. From a business perspective, CWM and our clients are much more adept at global virtual relationships, enhancing the ability to form cohesive teams that provide support, troubleshoot, and work across time zones and cultures more effectively. Technology, like the car, is only as good as the person driving it. As our industry becomes better at maximizing it, technology will only be better for our industry.

What are your feelings about the future of the industry?
With research showing that in less than eight years 50 per cent of the workforce globally will have been born after 1989, we are moving into a major demographic shift in terms of team members, client contacts and assignee populations. I look forward to proactively preparing for this and other changes we will face with our clients. This is an exciting time for our industry.

More about Lisa Johnson

Before joining Crown in 2012, Lisa had worked in the industry for 20 years. Her graduate studies in Intercultural Relations through the McGregor School of Business at Antioch University and ICI focused on the impact of culture in organizations. She has worked extensively in linking mobility to talent management and assignment related ROI strategies, conducting industry-specific research and leading client-driven consulting engagements. Her most recent research project focused on linking Mobility to Diversity & Inclusion strategies. In recent years she has also studied the impact of the millennial generation on the mobility industry and assignments into challenging locations. Additionally, she brings a background in global leadership development, intercultural training and change management initiatives.

Born in Japan, and having lived and worked in Central America and Spain, Lisa currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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