The critical success factors for mobility teams

Following an unprecedented period of volatility which appears to have changed the world irreversibly, a new approach is crucial to future success. Read the thoughts of Jo Danehl, Global Director – Global Skills at Crown World Mobility, on how an increased focus on wellbeing is likely to be one key factor in this success.

What if the current difficulties we’re all experiencing in the world were normal and the previous years of stability were an anomaly?  If we looked at the economic and political landscape from that perspective, might we be better equipped to develop and grow?

The late John F. Kennedy famously said:

“Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future.”

We believe the world of work has changed so much over the past three years that a rethink is required. In this article, we explore the challenges mobility teams are facing, how they will need to adapt in the future and the new operating model we have developed to support them.

The changing needs of mobility teams

Jo Danehl leads the global team responsible for Crown’s intercultural training, language training and partner support programs. Their work helps mobility teams to build skills within their mobile employee population and broader employee base working around the world.  Jo is in a unique position to see how the behaviour, attitudes and operations in world mobility have changed so quickly over the last three years.

She says: “Business leaders running large scale programmes, for example more than 400 moves a year, discovered a fragility in their programmes during the pandemic. Employers suddenly realised that they had a much bigger duty of care. They identified that they needed to focus more on wellbeing, and do whatever they could to actually address the needs of their assignees coping with hugely stressful conditions during the lockdowns that were implemented across the world.”

Since the pandemic, Jo thinks that some companies believe they have passed through a unique event and can now return to business as usual. However, it’s evident that many have fundamentally changed their approach and are operating in a different way. Jo explains:

“Some companies have had a renewal, and now they want to tie the global skill services into their wellbeing initiatives. During the pandemic, we also reset our thinking of the support structure for Crown customers. We know that the successful operators in the future will look at mobility in a completely different way from now on.”

A different perspective

In the past, lots of companies focused on efficiency, and the approach was to ensure that staff could hit the ground running. Jo explains:

“In the past, training and support was centred on how you would meet the corporate objectives. That’s still a priority, obviously. The change has been to wrap these objectives into a plan that identifies how an assignee is supported through the experience. Moving location is naturally a disruptive event with a major impact on the individual and the business. A much deeper level of thought and support is now required to achieve successful outcomes.”

How easy is it to change?

Right now, we are having conversations with clients about their global mobility programmes and future requirements. There is a much greater emphasis on being prepared, giving assignees flexibility and ongoing training. The question has moved from ‘how do we get you there as efficiently, and in many cases as cost effectively, as possible’ to ‘what is it going to take for you to be able to thrive in this location, whatever life might throw at you in the next three years?”

In Jo’s world that has taken many different forms. Some clients are building in flexibility so that their employees’ needs to build the appropriate skills meet their specific needs. For example, intercultural training programs are broken up so some can be delivered pre-departure to help those employees already working on host country projects or tasks before they leave.

For others, it’s about enhancing the intercultural training provided to assignees by ensuring that the receiving teams are equally as well equipped culturally to succeed.  Some clients have recognised that many of the adjustment issues which can affect an assignment’s success are beyond the scope of the global mobility team. However, intercultural training can be effectively addressed through enhanced coaching or partner support programs. These can be effectively used to bridge the divide between skills and wellbeing.

In our experience, this type of adaptation can be challenging but, with the right structure and planning, can be quickly achieved. We know the result is that employees are happier and more engaged, and therefore increasingly motivated to succeed.


What is Crown doing?

There are a number of major changes we have implemented to make sure we can help organisations in this fundamental shift of outlook. Central to our service has been a change in our operating model.  This article will tell you more about the details {link to “Strategic Support for World Mobility” article}

Our goal is to build the industry’s most robust and dynamic operating model so that businesses around the world can manage their mobility programmes efficiently and confidently, and with their employees’ wellbeing at the centre of their plans.

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