Perspectives

Smarter moves

Improving the value of global mobility

For many organizations, growth and even survival hinges on penetrating and scaling operations in rapidly growing and emerging markets unlocked by globalization. That’s a tough challenge, especially when the critical market and production opportunities and critical talent are often not in the same country. Yet a surprising number of companies continue to handle international assignments in ways remarkably similar to how they operated decades ago.

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​For many organizations, growth and even survival hinges on penetrating and scaling operations in rapidly growing and emerging markets unlocked by globalization. That’s a tough challenge, especially when the critical market and production opportunities and critical talent are often not in the same country. Yet a surprising number of companies continue to handle international assignments in ways remarkably similar to how they operated decades ago.

The traditional, and still the most widespread, approach to international assignments typically handles each case as a special event with expectations for comprehensive, high-touch service. This one-size-fits-all approach, however, increasingly overshoots the mark for many situations, unnecessarily raising costs. Additionally, it often fails to meet the specific needs of both the business and the assignee, leaving key business goals unfulfilled and key talent development priorities unaddressed.

More broadly, many executives are uncertain that they are receiving an appropriate return on their global mobility investment, or even that they can measure that return in a meaningful way. And global mobility is a significant investment–one that, in our experience, can easily top $1 million per assignment. It’s an investment that can drive tremendous value, but only if leaders can effectively harness a company’s global mobility efforts to pursue strategic priorities.

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