During Mahabharata, Pandavas were exiled from Indraprastha and the war was inevitable. Krishna asked Arjuna to travel to Devlok and get the weapons from Indra and the know-how of the same. Arjuna traveled and learnt the technology of Pashupatastra, which proved to be handy while killing Jayadrath. Krishna has taught us many management lessons during his reincarnation and one of the lessons was to mobilize your stars (HiPo’s) to develop them and make them ready for all the contingencies which future may pose. And seeing the war as a definite future he asked his apprentice to travel to Devlok and be prepared for the war.
But in this age, are we investing enough in global mobilization for the purpose of talent management? No.
Global Mobility assignments have increased by 25% in the past decade and as per PWC, the figure will increase to 50% by 2020. But according to the Brookfield Global mobility talent survey, only 10% of respondents report that the role of the Global Mobility function is aligned with the wider talent agenda and actively engaged in workforce planning and people effectiveness. A separate survey by Move Guides and RES Forum found that only 18% of global mobility professionals believed their talent mobility program met all of their expectations.
When asked about the single biggest mobility challenge that their companies face, 23% of respondents cited assignment cost, 22% said compliance with host-country laws and 11% said career management while on assignment.
And despite the high cost associated with the mobility, a whopping 95% of respondents responded that they don’t know how to calculate the ROI for the international assignments.
Another reason could be the missing link between “Mobility & Talent”. According to David Collings, professor of HR management at Dublin University “For most organizations, the focus is on tax and compliance, and mobility becomes a downstream function that’s not involved in the decision around who goes”
Mobilizing your high potentials on International assignments could prove to be one of the factors which define the success or failure of your HiPo programs. The value-add that these international assignments bring to your HiPo programs could be at a different level, such as:-
- Higher Engagement Levels – Filling a position internationally shows the organization’s trust in the employee in carrying out the international assignment. This further contributes to a great sense of organizational identification.
- Challenging Assignments - The top emerging markets for international assignments—Brazil, China, India—also present the greatest problems, according to respondents, whether it’s immigration, cultural adaptation, and specifically, security in Brazil, environmental health concerns in China and government regulations in India. The assignment gives the HiPo’s international experience and develops him/her for future important tasks in subsidiaries abroad or with the parent company.
- Performance Improvement –International assignments deliver a net positive effect on performance for the organization, both for the percentage of people who are identified within the high-performance category, as well as for individuals generally, when tracking their performance over time. As per the study done by PwC, there is a 13% net performance improvement of expats on assignment and 23.7% of returned expats promoted in the first year of repatriation.
The organizations need to start calculating the ROI not only on the success of the assignment but also on the engagement levels of the HiPo’s, the experiences, and the robustness of the HiPo program created.
Because once we start looking at the ROI only then we can see beyond the cost associated with the international assignments for the HiPo’s. And only then we can be ready with our Arjunas to face the inevitable competition which is awaiting each and every organization.