More and more businesses are facing the challenges associated with global mobility management (GMM). Aragon research predicted in ‘The Rise of Global Mobility Management’ report[i] last year that GMM is expected to have grown by 31% by 2023. This week CEO Today hears from Roderick McKeown, COO at buzzmove, on the challenges and future digitisation of GMM.
As the COO of a data and tech business helping people and businesses move, catalogue and protect their ‘stuff’, it seems clear to me that digitisation and video survey technology have a big role to play in supporting this trend.
When you move home, as part of the big decision to opt for one property over another, you check the area. You suss out transport links, schools, gym, grocery delivery services, etc. When relocating or expanding your business, the same principles apply. Advances in video survey technology are helping this process and enabling businesses and removal firms to plan the logistics of a move more effectively.
But the physical location – or locations – of a business is just one part of the challenge. We all know a business is only as good as its people. The nature of how people are being employed and deployed globally is shifting. Whether you are moving or expanding, on home turf or overseas, you need the right people on the ground to run the show for as long – or as little – as needed.
As such, talent is increasingly calling the shots in the business world. Nowhere is this clearer than in the field of global mobility.
Businesses are finding they need to operate effectively in different countries and different cultures, moving people into new locations and recruiting skills from overseas. At the same time, in an uncertain economic environment, companies are under tremendous cost pressure and need a flexible, adaptable workforce willing and able to get on with the job, then move on. Even businesses not working outside of their home country are looking globally for talent they can recruit for short and long-term contracts.
A report on International Trends in Insecure Work[ii] found temporary employment across Europe has increased in recent years while self-employment has fallen marginally. It’s a trend that looks set to continue. Figures from FIDI[iii] – the global alliance of professional international removal and relocation companies – found that 62% of companies plan to increase their use of short-term assignments over the next 5 years. Interestingly only 54% offer any form of cross-cultural training. More worryingly, only 3% of organisations rate themselves as world class in global deployments. It feels like people are parachuted in then left to their own devices. Not the best way to get the best from your talent.
These findings seem to be reflected in a study last year of 250 multi-national businesses[iv]. In the research, 98% of firms said they see a globally mobile workforce as important to achieving their objectives with a third (35%) believing it to be critical. More than half (51%) of the businesses questioned said sending staff on global assignments has improved the performance of their international operations and 44% said it improved employees’ skill level.
However, the research also found staff don’t necessarily want to move permanently to another country. More than a third (38%) of firms said staff increasingly want to work abroad on short-term contracts and commute from their home country, with 27% saying that staff don’t want to relocate permanently.
So there’s a gap between what today’s workforce and employers want, and what those employers feel able to deliver.
When buzzmove launched remote video survey technology for removal companies, we imagined it would prove popular for domestic house moves and office relocations. What we didn’t anticipate was how popular it would prove with companies that specialise in global mobility moves.
On reflection, this demand makes perfect sense looking at the trends in global mobility management. Video surveys by our removal partners are helping solve many of the problems associated with the rise in short-term assignments both here in the UK and overseas.
For a start, a video survey creates a digital record of the employee’s possessions for the move. This not only provides comfort for the employee, of course. It also enables the removal firm to price accurately and plan logistics appropriately.
With the increasing trend for short term contracts, ‘travelling light’ is key for those moving into temporary accommodation. This is reflected in the volume of possessions to be transported. Through a video survey the removal firm can quote based on a true understanding of what they are moving.
The fact that the survey can be completed in less than 20 minutes via the employee’s smartphone means less time out of their day and less inconvenience.
The technology can also aid the process of sourcing accommodation in the UK or overseas, enabling the business and employee to check accommodation and deal with relocation agents remotely.
Finally, I think most importantly, video technology can help with cultural training and awareness, with videos of the local area where assignees are moving to. Some people love the adventure of heading into the unknown. But I think most would feel comforted to be able see via video link where their new home and workplace will be. This can help them settle into their new role and new location all the sooner.
There’s no denying that technology and digitisation is changing the way we live and work. Generation rent is only going to grow along with the increasing numbers of people working in the gig economy. As such, managing a constantly shifting workforce looks set to become the ‘norm’ for businesses the world over. Video survey technology is set to play an important role in supporting this movement of talent globally, and help businesses and employees transition into new locations with ease.