The emerging model shift in global talent mobility

Today’s businesses have more mobility, more challenges, and more choices than ever before

In order to develop people and compete for top talent, today’s employers must strive for a more seamless and gratifying mobility experience. Building a best-in-class vendor team, and unifying them to provide integrated support, is one way to elevate mobility at a reasonable expense and effort. The resulting gains—successful moves and satisfied mobile workers—can yield enduring benefits for any organization.

It is time to reframe the conversation

​We’ve all heard the request: A “one-stop shop” where mobile workers are supported by a “single point of contact.” Many enterprises have asked for it, and most service providers have tried at one time or another to deliver it. There are variations—“single point of coordination,” “counselor,” and “case manager”— but all speak to the same theme. We must find a way to streamline talent mobility.

This appetite for change is well founded. Workforce mobility, once limited to particular roles and industries, is a now a widespread business and HR imperative. The volume, goals, and types of movement have multiplied. So, too, have the customary risks; organizations face ever-expanding financial, logistical, and regulatory hurdles. Co-sourcing and outsourcing solutions proliferated in response. An industry once underpinned by a few specialized vendors now features dozens of providers with varying combinations of experience, resources, and skill. In short, today’s businesses have more mobility, more challenges, and more choices than ever before. The drive to simplify is instinctive.

The “single point of contact,” or SPOC, gained traction as a way to reduce noise amidst stressful conditions. The appeal is clear: One cross-functional expert guides an employee side-by-side through the entire process of his or her move. In practice, however, this model typically falls short. Mobility may outstrip the support model with its broad range of personal needs, sensitive concerns, interdependencies, pressures, and risks. Experience shows that no single person can navigate this environment as effectively as a well-organized team.

It is time to reframe the conversation. The goal should not be one point of contact, but rather the best contact(s) at the right moment(s), working together toward a common end. This is why many organizations are retiring the SPOC concept and replacing it with a powerful new model: A carefully selected and highly collaborative vendor network.

The network concept dissolves barriers among service providers, requiring and incentivizing them to perform as a unified team. Here, the employee is encircled by a suite of diverse mobility specialists. Members in the network collaborate with the employee, and with one another, empowered to share information and problem solve within established guidelines.

The impact on worker experience can be transformative. As mobility advances, it is increasingly unrealistic to expect that one contact—or even one vendor operation— has the skills to address every possible variable during a move. He or she would need to be a bona fide specialist in customs, immigration, insurance, travel, equity, home sale, employment law, and tax, among others. If not, the value to the employee would be greatly reduced. The network model eliminates this generalist role and substitutes direct access to skilled professionals.

The collaborative network is not about having the smallest number of contacts. It is about selecting the best contacts for critical competencies, and positioning them to engage seamlessly with employees.

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