With the year-end in sight, it’s time to look forward to what’s shaping the world of global mobility in 2023 — what are companies and organizations focusing on to be better prepared to meet the demands of the future; what are the technologies and trends guiding how we think about global mobility, and how we serve the globally mobile.
Global mobility has shifted forms and priorities since the pre-pandemic years — new ways of working and traveling have put their mark on the industry, as have recent world events. So while global mobility is on the rise it still continues to face a number of difficulties with lingering pandemic effects, economic challenges, the war in Ukraine, and a global climate crisis all affecting business and mobility decisions.
If there is anything the last few years of uncertainty and struggle have taught us, it is to stay nimble and willing to reassess. Building resilience for the future means being aware of the issues that are influencing it; below are some of them.
Talent Retention, Not Acquisition
One of the things to be aware of is that after several years of talent acquisition being a top priority for many companies, that has now shifted to employee retention. 41% of respondents in the annual report from Lattice said that employee engagement is their main focus (only 17% said the same about talent acquisition). A full 86% of HR teams say they are working on improving employee engagement for next year.
For employers, this means a greater focus on providing what employees are looking for, such as flexibility in the form of hybrid work and “work anywhere programs,” a company culture that aligns with employee values, and opportunities for continued learning.
The User/Customer Experience in Focus
The user/customer experience is becoming increasingly important and here technology is playing a big part. The role of technology is expanding and going from being used as a great tool for streamlining processes and providing information to becoming more immersive and interactive. Bernard Marr says in an article on LinkedIn: “Transformational digital technologies do not exist in isolation from each other, and we will see the boundaries between them blurring. New solutions for augmented working, hybrid and remote working, business decision-making, and automation of manual, routine, and creative workloads combine these technologies in ways that enable them to enhance each other.”
AI, in one form or another, looks to be part of every business solution. Its many applications can impact everything from efficiency and productivity to delivery and presentation. Bernard Marr says in his article on LinkedIn: “[B]usinesses must ensure they embed the right technology throughout their processes and in every area of operations. At this point, there is very little excuse for being in business and not having an understanding of how AI [ . . . ] will impact your business and industry.”
HR Analytics Tools
Continuing with technology, digital tools for HR analytics are becoming crucial as they can be used to enable greater transparency when it comes to such things as equity and compensation. And they can allow for diverse performance indicators and data integration.
ESG Is Here to Stay
ESG as in Environmental, social, and Governance (and the larger expanse of these concepts) will continue to grow in importance for all industries. Employees and clients alike demand companies take responsibility. Every business should have an actionable plan with goals and timeframes that are well communicated. Many feel the global mobility arm of companies is uniquely positioned to be at the forefront of these actions, as this blog post on theresforum.com indicates: “Global mobility policies and procedures already form a melting pot of organization-wide strategy and policies in the delivery of assignment programs. So it follows that the inclusion of ESG in our thinking and actions is a natural evolution of how we work.”
“Green” Business Travel
Business travel is making a comeback and is expected to increase by 33.8% by the end of this year according to GBTA (Global Business Travel Association). One of the concerns now that people are starting to move around on short-term trips again is how to make this type of travel more “green.” For now, much has to do with building awareness around transportation options. For example, promoting train travel instead of flying where that is an alternative. Or carpooling; in the US for example, 81% of business trips are taken using the traveler’s own vehicle.
How we Ship Goods is Changing
There is a shift in how we ship goods and what kind of goods we ship across the planet. The last few years’ difficulties with freight by sea, in combination with airfreight becoming more affordable, have meant people are forgoing sea freight to a greater degree and are using airfreight instead. At the same time, many who are relocating are opting to mostly bring personal items of sentimental value, and are leaving big pieces of furniture and household goods behind.
Flexible work conditions have become a tool for recruitment and retention and as work-life balance is becoming increasingly important to workers, so is the ability to have a flexible work situation.
The Digital Nomad Trend Continues
The number of digital nomads worldwide has gone from 7.3 million in 2019 to some 35 million by the end of 2022. This is a form of work that is expected to keep growing and for employers, it means adjusting internal and external policies to meet the needs and requirements this brings. (Read more on what this entails here). It’s interesting to note that 73% say they pursue the digital nomad lifestyle because they want a better work-life balance, and 55% give their love of travel as one of their top reasons.
By: Felicia Shermis