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How to position Global Mobility as the key to business growth

Global Mobility initiatives like offering visa and relocation support present an opportunity to attract top talent and gain a competitive advantage. 

While this statement is true, your leadership may not be convinced of the ROI without some data to back it up. To help you make a compelling case, we gathered insights from companies that invest in moving their talent across borders for both the short and long term.

First, a quick view of our sample size: 240 business leaders and HR decision-makers whose businesses are based in the UK, Ireland, Germany, and the Netherlands, working in companies of varied sizes. These companies have programs that support employees to work from a different, international location than where they currently live. Respondents include business owners and CEOs, directors, vice presidents, C-level executives, team leads, HR professionals, Global Mobility specialists, and senior managers. These professionals operate in various sectors, with the most represented industries being software and technology, retail, and financial services.

Let’s look at the stats you can use to get more leadership buy-in for your global mobility initiatives. 

Click here to see more 2024 trends in the industry.

Global Mobility as a competitive advantage

In the survey, we asked these professionals: what does Global Mobility do for the business, and how does it solve today’s challenges?

They all expressed varied perspectives on Global Mobility but shared one common theme: it is not just a luxury perk that takes the stage at times of prosperity. It has been a critical business enabler that can supercharge performance, profits, and culture at times when every advantage can make or break a company. 

An overwhelming majority of our respondents (78%) said that relocated employees improve their performance at work. Relocations create opportunities for employees to further develop their careers — a benefit 70% of respondents pointed out.

According to 87% of respondents, short-term mobility options like workcations also boost employees’ job satisfaction. Relocations create opportunities to experience personal growth, a benefit confirmed by 66%. And 74% said relocated employees were more likely to engage with the company culture.

What prompts these results? We’ve already established that Global Mobility is an investment, but the important nuance is that it’s an investment in a company’s most important asset: its people.

In the end, supporting employees’ mobility is a demonstration of trust. By doing this, they say to their employees: “We trust in your potential and value your input to the team — and here are the actions to back that up.” In return, employees invest back into their work and demonstrate higher levels of productivity and engagement. Not only that, but they actively seek out employers who support their development.

If that opportunity does not materialize, they do not hesitate to change employers, costing companies much more in the process than a relocation ever would have.

“The market will look elsewhere if you don’t offer some flexibility around hybrid and international working.” - Reece Procter, Global Mobility Lead at Personio

This point brings us to another component of Global Mobility ROI: gaining talent and improving retention through reducing bad hires.

Tackling talent shortages and improving recruitment ROI

Most people reading this will be painfully familiar with talent shortages, but the scale of the problem continues to grow with every piece of research or news. For example:

  • In 2022, Germany’s Institute for Employment Research (IAB) found 1.74 million vacant positions across the country.
  • In the UK, four out of five businesses struggle to fill talent gaps.
  • The Dutch government has allocated €123m to tackling the labor shortages in engineering and ICT.

“We’re trying to get the best talent while there’s a skilled worker shortage within Europe. Offering a relocation package to candidates outside of Germany has been critical in getting the right people in the door.” - Lorna Ather, Global Mobility Manager at Delivery Hero

In these three countries, the average recruitment process takes up to six months. With that come higher recruitment costs and an inability to close skills gaps. When companies do fill the position from a limited talent pool, there’s the risk of it not being a good match.

  • 82% of respondents from these countries have had a bad hire, while more than a third said they have experienced multiple.
  • Choosing the wrong employee harms overall productivity, 44% of respondents said.
  • 39% said bad hires impact company morale.
  • The damage can spill externally, with 35% confirming that a bad hire has also hurt customer satisfaction.
  • The financial figures are even more alarming: participants reported that a bad hire could set their companies back $42,000 on average.

Given these figures, it should come as no surprise that enabling employees to move beyond borders for work is something every participant in our survey invests time and money towards. Notably, 40% of respondents in the UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands said they go so far as to sponsor more than 50 visas per year — a figure that suggests Global Mobility is offered at scale, enabling the entire company.

Global Mobility ROI calculations

Regardless of where respondents were relocating talent to and from, all reported a high return on investment. We asked them to capture what their mean relocation costs were per relocated employee, and then the financial benefit they observe for each year from their impact on revenue, productivity, and culture.

To determine the ROI gains that relocations can deliver, we used this formula:

Take the perceived financial benefit of the relocated employee (the return) and subtract the relocation cost (the investment). This gives you the net return. Divide that answer by the relocation cost and multiply by 100 to convert the percentage ROI gain.

Click here to use our Global Mobility ROI calculator!

If we look at all responses, the mean relocation cost is $26,260, while the mean perceived financial benefit is $48,660 per year, leading to an ROI gain of 85% if the relocated employee stays for one year. Given that relocations are typically a one-time expense, that ROI gain continues to grow with every year the employee stays at the company. That equates to 270% for a 2-year tenure. In other words, relocations deliver a near 2X return on their costs in the short term and can reach a near 4X return with relocated employees who stay for 2 years. The numbers just keep growing after that.

These benefits don’t materialize only when relocating international talent to an existing hub. They also apply when local talent moves abroad, whether for a short-term trip or a longer-term relocation. 

Localyze can help you meet your Global Mobility goals too — book a demo with one of our experts today!

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