How Crown is helping companies to adapt to the world’s challenges in the 2020s
Since the pandemic, mobility teams have experienced difficult challenges and rapid change. During this time, we have been working closely with clients to identify the critical trends shaping the industry.
Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing our thoughts on the nature of these trends and explaining how we have enhanced our operating model to provide the right support in this dynamic environment.
This will culminate in our annual, in-depth look at trends emerging in the mobility industry, which will be out in early 2023.
We believe that mobility teams can’t just modify the way they work to adapt to the post-pandemic environment; to be successful, the mobility industry needs to revolutionise its outlook.
The key trends driving change
We have identified a number of strategic themes that all mobility teams need to consider as part of their long-term planning. These themes, or trends, have emerged as the world has undergone a prolonged period of volatility, much of it fuelled by the pandemic but subsequent macroeconomic and geopolitical tumult is driving further change.
Watch our video, where Jurgen Zyderveld, Group Vice President at Crown World Mobility, and Nick Sutton, Vice President – Global Sales & Marketing, introduce those trends.
We explore them in a little more detail:
A sharpened focus on employee wellbeing is one of the most significant evolutions to have occurred following the pandemic, born from a need for mobility teams to increase and customize the level of support they offered assignees through lockdowns.
Jo Danehl is Director – Global Skills at Crown World Mobility and has a unique insight into the changes that have occurred. She says: “For those businesses running large scale programmes with more than 400 or 500 moves a year, the pandemic shone a very bright light on their fragility. For example, some companies went into lockdown and didn’t know where their employees were.
“Although they were on assignment in Switzerland, for example, it turns out they were actually living in Italy or France just across the border. What the pandemic did was trigger a very strong focus on understanding the employee experience more. Out of that came a focus on employee wellbeing which we believe is here to stay.”
Jo adds: “In the past, the majority of those planning assignments thought their employees could learn everything they needed to know from the internet. But now, having experienced the pandemic and the additional stress of being on assignment and in lockdown, they’ve had a renewal and so want to tie the global skill services into their wellbeing initiatives. I think there is more focus on how moves can affect people.”
Digital nomads and work from anywhere
The pandemic saw a surge in remote and hybrid working. That way of working has been undergoing an evolution since the reopening of work and office locations, following lockdowns and social distancing.
Now, mobility teams are grappling with “work from anywhere”, and how to provide staff with the ability to work in any location, mainly on a temporary and time-limited basis. This is particularly evident where employees are foreign nationals and have working rights in other countries. As a result, the scope of mobility teams is expanding to manage this new population of employees.
Our clients are now asking us to produce bespoke policies around this – which is being further fuelled by the emergence of “Employer of Record” companies, allowing organisations to tap into talent and markets previously unavailable.
Work from anywhere also requires additional cultural training, as the subtle variations of behaviour and norms found in different countries can be more difficult to learn without operating in-country.
A change in the assignment landscape
Another trend that has been bubbling to the fore in recent years is a shift in assignment types. We continue to see a reduction in traditional long-term assignments. These benefit rich, complex assignments have proven costly, and whilst they still play a role for many organisations, it’s driving an increase in both short-term assignments and permanent transfers. With the volatility and rapid pace of change in many countries, this requires different approaches to assignee policies, including the need to source short-term property rentals, work visas and intensive training to embed the critical skills required in the country.
The last three years has undoubtedly led to an increase in demand for mobility teams to be agile. Whether faced with soaring costs, conflict in countries previously considered stable for business operations or the need to respond to an unprecedented global health crisis, the ability to be agile and flexible in the face of adversity has never been more pronounced. Macroeconomic uncertainty is showing no signs of curtailment, so being able to respond to challenges rapidly, while keeping the needs of assignees at the heart of decision making, is imperative.
Becoming more sustainable has gone from being something that businesses felt they should do, to something they now must do. It’s occupying a central focus among business decision making, from procurement to operations. Mobility teams – and assignees – are increasingly showing a willing to ensure they are positively contributing. This means that policies are changing, and companies are offering relocating employees with greater, greener choices. For example, it might be that employees want to live inside the city, to reduce commuting and carbon footprint. They might want to live near public transportation instead of receiving a car allowance. These elements, along with other facets of sustainability which drive greater diversity, equity and inclusion, are becoming more prevalent as mobility teams seek to improve the contribution they make to their organisation’s sustainability credentials.
Crown World Mobility will dive deeper into these emerging trends, and others, as part of its annual trends report which will be released in early 2023.