Global Mobility: The Epitome of On-The-Job Training


Previously, Global Mobility meant helping employees move around the world. However, today global mobility is understood as something that aids organizations’ ability to achieve their business goals through the strategic management of their human capital.  

This concept is supported by the PWC “Talent Mobility 2020 and Beyond” report (2013), which says, “The business world is in the midst of fundamental change, and in the next decade the ability of organizations to manage their global talent efficiently will mark the difference between success and failure.”

Building global leadership and management skills enables expatriates to positively impact their organization. In many cases, companies rely on expatriation experiences as a means of developing global-leadership skills. It’s the epitome of on-the-job training.

Due to globalization many organizations view cultural competency as an important skill and a means to prepare emerging global leaders – indeed, in most multinationals today the senior leaders have lived and worked abroad themselves.

According to the Global Mobility Survey of 2012, 41% of companies expect assignments to increase in the next 12 months.  Hardship locations will be dominated by the emerging markets, and already countries such as China, India and Brazil are ranked as the most challenging destinations.

These trends tell us that the notion of expatriation is not going away and that expatriates will require better preparation to be successful as the destinations become more and more challenging. Organizations will be challenged to better prepare their assignees and support the development of their leadership skills by giving them the necessary tools for success. 

Seventy percent of chief human resources officers say that moving people across geographies is one of the missing links in managing the global talent supply chain. (IBM Global Chief Human Resources Officers Study, 2010) The need to have the right talent in the right location and a workforce with local knowledge and a global perspective will be the defining difference between companies that succeed and those that do not.

Diana Anderson