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8 Trends for HR Global Mobility Professionals in 2023

The last few years have seen huge impacts on how we live and work, which have naturally trickled down to company global mobility policies. While many companies relaxed the rules a bit in order to make it through Covid, 2023 will be the year of conforming to regulations while still allowing room for flexibility. Read on to find out more about the top 8 trends we expect to see from global mobility in 2023.

1. More short-term travel

While global mobility used to mainly be about long-term assignments to another location, the last few years have seen less people in the office overall. This shift has led companies and employees to realize they don’t need to be in the office everyday but that some face-to-face time is valuable. This will lead to more short-term assignments, business travel and remote stays rather than long-term assignments.

2. Increase in Relocation Needs

Many companies used 2022 to evaluate their requirements for bringing employees back to the office. For companies who have opted for in-office or hybrid structures, this affects their hiring strategy, which in turn impacts the need to provide global mobility and relocation services to employees. As some companies move to bring people back to the office, at least part time, there will be an increase in relocation needs in order to fill open roles.‍

3. Support for new locations vs moving people to your location

Companies who have opted to allow remote workers will be focused on compliance in new locations rather than bringing people to their current locations. Every country (and state within the US) has different tax regulations and requirements for companies with workers within their borders. Global mobility experts at these companies will be focused on ensuring their company has the right insurance, tax compliance and other necessary business operating services to allow their employees to work in their current location. One way this will be achieved is through creating a strategy for utilizing employer of record (EOR) services.

4. Personalized benefits packages for mobility

For employees who are required to relocate, a one-size fits all approach to benefits packages no longer applies. Employees expect their relocation package to fit their lifestyle and actually be beneficial to them. This means setting a budget and allowing employees to select the services they need from a list of options - from school searches for employees relocating with family to housing accommodations or cash bonuses for those who don’t require other options.

Additionally, employees are looking for more sustainable options when it comes to moving. Global mobility packages will need to start providing options for discard and donate services  for household items or sell and buy back programs for furniture as well as information on the sustainability of different housing options in the new location.

5. Employees self-selecting to new locations

A big trend for 2023 will be employee-initiated transfers and travel. People have experienced the freedom of being able to work from wherever they choose for the last few years, and many have come to expect flexibility. Employees are now more likely than ever to ask for permission to work somewhere else than they have been in the past. Which means that global mobility teams will be tasked with keeping track of where everyone is located and ensuring the company remains compliant with local regulations.

6. Embrace the flexibility…

As more and more employees opt-in to mobility programs, it’s time to embrace flexibility. Focus on enabling mobility rather than placing undue barriers in the way. Build a foundation that allows your company to easily determine what is possible, and find the right partners to help along the way - EORs, visa service providers and settling-in service providers. Flexibility doesn’t have to mean allowing people to work from anywhere, but it does mean providing structure to your program and managing expectations in a way that feels reasonable. Trusting your employees to do what’s right while setting boundaries to protect the company.

7. …But make it compliant

Global mobility specialists will spend a lot of their time in 2023 focused on compliance. This takes the form of educating yourself on where employees are  working from and educating them on compliance requirements in each location. Working with company leadership and managers to provide training on why certain locations are allowed for work travel and work-cations and why others are not will go a long way towards keeping your company compliant with local regulations in different areas.

8. Focus on the data

As the world faces a potential recession, many companies are taking a hard look at their budgets. Global mobility programs are no exception. Focus on the data in order to build the case for your policies. From being able to accurately forecast how long a relocation will take or cost to creating a cost-benefit analysis of moving someone versus leaving them in place and letting them work remotely to knowing the average length of a remote stay or where people are asking to go, data is about to become even more important for building global mobility policies. 

In conclusion

The world has changed to allow for easier remote communication, making mobility programs from the past outdated. Global mobility programs are being redesigned to account for these changes as well as what people want. This looks like less long-term assignments just so people can have face time and more flexibility to allow people to move around as they want. With these changes comes a heavy lift for global mobility specialists to manage expectations on what is allowed and ensure compliance everywhere their employees have a presence. Creating more flexible and intentional programs will go a long way towards employee satisfaction and the success of your global mobility program.

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