Often when talking or reading about how global mobility fits into the structure of a business, it’s done from a numbers perspective. There is no doubt that the economy of global mobility is important. However, there is another, less examined key aspect to consider — the people involved — those supporting global mobility efforts, and those being supported by global mobility programs.
These are the human resource teams and service providers who have to balance cost vs value on a daily basis, and who have to keep up to date on conditions, policies, and regulations, domestically and across the world. They are the ones who know that every implemented policy and crunched number will ultimately affect not just the directly impacted employee or business unit, but also the greater “ecosystem” surrounding them.
They are the employees who work, travel, and move across borders, and who are asked to produce at a high level regardless of where in the world they are, or how attuned to a new culture they are. These are the employees who are asked to work remotely in a multicultural group, across time zones and language barriers without missing a beat. They are the ones traversing continents to represent, give presentations, and negotiate deals in culturally appropriate and effective ways.
In short, they are the very diverse group of individuals behind the catchall term “Global Mobility”.
Spending time on the finer points of global mobility at this juncture may seem counterintuitive to some considering the recent struggles the industry has experienced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. And, yes, it’s true that cross-border movement has been hampered. But, cross-border collaboration has not.
Thought exchange and teamwork across borders are as commonplace now, if not more so, as before the pandemic — technology has made sure of that. The need for intercultural knowledge and understanding of how to collaborate across borders and across cultures has not diminished, if anything, it has increased. As a global mobility service provider, Globiana has seen this first hand.
“Keeping a global view of the process of global mobility is as important now as it ever has been,” says Globiana CEO and Founder Elena Mosko. She points out that it’s easy to forget that cross-border collaboration, whether in person or virtual, is a high-stakes venture. It is well known that the negative effects of failed cross-cultural communication and adaptation are many and can be severe — for individuals, their families, and businesses alike. What is less well known are the greater cultural impacts and how those shape how we as people — and by extension businesses — view each other. How we lay the groundwork for trust and understanding. How we build for the future.
So, what is the responsibility of individual companies and global mobility service providers when it comes to the bigger picture of promoting understanding and bringing in the human aspect in what is traditionally a transactional part of business? Do individual companies have a responsibility at all?
As a company with the tagline “Humanizing Global Mobility”, it may be clear where Globiana stands on that question. But what does that tagline actually mean and how does it translate to what we do and how we approach clients? “Globiana was originally developed as a complement to the benefits side of the global mobility business, but as time has gone on, there has been a recognition within the leadership and the broader team alike, that we have a role to play in filling a bigger gap,” says Elena.
The core of what we do is to bring down cultural barriers — within our team, which is multicultural and based all over the world, and through the products and services we offer. But a recent internal survey shows that to truly live up to our tagline we have to do more than break down barriers, we also have to promote an inclusive worldview, we have to help build bridges.
As one team member put it: “This includes remembering that people are much more than their job titles or where they come from. It touches on how we form relationships with people who are not in our physical vicinity and how those relationships affect our lives.”
And yet another said this: “The attitude that there is always something wonderful to learn from each place and person, and that there is much to contribute without the fear of judgment.”
Likewise, living up to the tagline means being deliberate in how we choose to grow our team and how we support other vendors and clients who share our vision, awareness, and agreed-upon engagement.
Why does all of this matter? It matters because, for one, the way we see it, it’s just good business sense to invest in cultural understanding and outreach — that’s how you build lasting networks, make deals, and forge relationships. It matters because it is a validation of the importance of the diversity on our own team, as well as of the diversity of the clients we serve. And it matters because ultimately, it’s about worldview.
By: Felicia Shermis