Assignment apathy versus nomad mentality

Technology has enabled many of us to do our jobs from practically anywhere as long as we have an internet connection. However, there are certain jobs that, while fundamentally carried out at a desk, still require human interaction.

One of these professions is journalism, as reporters need to get to the heart of a story via interviews and press conferences. We recently had a conversation with the Head of Global Mobility at a media organisation who told us that even when they were working from home on an overseas assignment, their journalists were not unreasonably still expected to be out and about and covering all angles of stories.

Is there a point to relocation?

However, she also revealed that there is an apathy creeping into the world of mobility. Some employees feel that if they can work remotely then there is little point going through the upheavals of a relocation. Subsequently, the desire within this organisation to work abroad is decreasing.

House keys

While there is a broad understanding that relocations improve retention and accelerate progression, the company wants to understand the root cause for this decreased appetite. It is looking at whether it can be addressed via the assignment packages that are on offer, whether the opportunity is truly understood by its target employees or if there are concerns about being separated from family members following the pandemic.

To help understand why the organisation is not getting the expected volume of internal applications for international postings, it is carrying out a survey in which its employees are asked a series of detailed questions. This will seek to understand if the barriers are financial, familial or if there is a concern surrounding separation anxiety.

Senior leaders’ role

The intention is to find the concrete reasons why there is less interest in relocations and then articulate the benefits of the process to the target audience. The global mobility team understands that there is only so much it can do to persuade reluctant assignees, so it is engaging the support of senior leaders who may already have been on an assignment earlier in their careers.

It’s vital that leaders are engaged on what a relocation can mean for an employee’s career. They can paint the picture that a relocation is not merely filling a role and instead highlight a more holistic approach that considers what happens when the assignee returns home, which could be years in the future.

When the organisation has pulled together the data from the survey, they will be able to amply demonstrate the value of assignments. Senior leaders can then add to this with their own experience and become genuine advocates for the relocation process.

Learn more about assignment apathy – and how it can be overcome – in our report into the anticipated trends in global mobility for 2024, which you can download here.

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