The talent you need isn’t always where you need it to be. To me, that sentence embodies the raison d’être of Mobility. I like this statement because, if you think about it carefully, it can cover all sorts of reasons for talent movement. And that is exactly what Global Mobility is involved with these days: an ever-growing use case for Global Mobility services.   

Mobility is solving for:

  • Employer-initiated mobility (assignments and transfers)
  • Employee-initiated mobility (work from anywhere)
  • Purposeful talent development and deployment
  • Reactionary mobility – helping employees displaced by conflict
  • Talent acquisition across borders
  • Domestic mobility, globally
  • Immigration-only needs

And the list keeps growing, getting weirder, and genuinely more wonderful every day. As a case-in-point, I had a great call with a client the other day looking to solve yet another use case for Global Mobility: helping with return to work.

The call was so much fun as it was a chance to ideate and innovate another great Global Mobility solution. What did we discuss?

The challenge

During the pandemic, the company’s distributed workforce grew significantly. The company grew rapidly from a small, largely in-person start-up to a much bigger company with employees distributed all over the U.S.A. (as well as in the other countries in which they operate). This was amazing for the company. It allowed them to hoover up the best talent and grow to meet company strategy.

Fast forward to today: the company is sitting on an amazing pool of talent... yet they are finding that they need to be in-person to get the best out of their employees. So, what is the company wanting to do? They are selecting business hubs where they have a sweet spot of wicked awesome office space, room to acquire more talent, and the best locations for meeting client needs -- and they want as many people as possible to start working from these hubs.  

So, what’s the problem?  People are reluctant to move.    

Mobility to the rescue!

There are many reasons for employees to be reluctant to move. The key is to try to address those potential barriers to movement with well-crafted solutions. Creativity is also needed because we can’t bankrupt the company by throwing expensive traditional domestic relocation packages at all of the distributed employees -- not to mention that this company skews towards early career, where traditional domestic policies are not likely to be the ticket to get people to move!

The good news is that the company sees Mobility as a solution. So, what solutions might they consider?  

This is what the client and I riffed on…

  • Super Accessible Lump Sums: Offer a transparent (and cost-predictive) lump sum program. Offer it to anyone who meets the distributed criteria. Market the heck out of it as a great incentive to move and a way to cover costs.
  • Services: Some of the younger talent may never have established their own household or moved before. Offer great resources to make a move less daunting.
  • Points Approach: Take advantage of points-based offerings which give employees cool non-traditional support like gift cards and household set-up services.
  • Rental Support: Provide 2-3 months’ rental support in the new location. Help the employee get over the hump of up-front costs and provide an incentive to move with some up-front free rent.
  • Partner Support: Offer career counseling for the partner to make it easier for the family to move.
  • Mortgage Support: As rates are high now, offer mortgage support to help buy down or make a mortgage more accessible.
  • Reverse Mobile Support: Once moved, offer support to fly back to the “home” location or bring friends to see the employee’s cool new home.
  • Market the New Hubs: Work with the marketing team to develop campaigns to promote the virtues of the new location.
  • Align Compensation: If there are higher salary ranges in the new hubs, indicate that these will apply to movers.  

These are just some of the ideas we bandied about. They can be used as stand-alone solutions, combined, or mixed in with traditional relocation support. Of course, before implementing any of these solutions, the company will need to consider tax implications, cost of solution, claw-backs, vendor ability to support, etc. Nonetheless, we left the hour-long call with some viable solutions to move forward.


While a big takeaway here is that Mobility can help with return to work, the bigger message is that the future of Mobility is all about solving unique talent challenges. The constant here is a dynamic need for new solutions. That is why the Mobility function of the future is a “business”. The “business” offers new products and evolves old ones to solve for an ever-changing set of use cases for Mobility. The function is creative, advisory, and focused on helping meet global talent needs. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a future I want to be part of!

If you are interested in brainstorming on unique mobility needs, give me a shout! 


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