By Clare Allen, Consultant, Deloitte
A global mobility business partner by our definition is ‘a global mobility professional who supports the business to meet their overall organisational goals through collaboration on global workforce and skillset requirements’. A successful business/global mobility relationship is one where ‘the business and the global mobility teams’ have a relationship built on trust’.
So how does this all look in practice and how can you develop business partnering skills?
- Align your goals
Firstly, during conversations with the business, overall organisational goals need to be at the forefront of the discussion. For a global mobility professional this means you need to understand your business; to see things from the perspective of the business area you are aligned to, or even the business as a whole. Your conversations will go a lot more smoothly if you have common understanding and objectives; you are after all on the same team with the same goals! This goes some way in mitigating the sometimes ‘operations only’ perception of global mobility as it broadens the conversation from pure policy and process advice to overall organisational goals.
Our top tips:
- Learn the language of the business so you can express your ideas in a similar fashion
- Understand their strategy / vision and think about how mobility can play an enabling role
- Incorporate business strategy and language into your day-to-day communication
- Obtain a seat at the table
With the make-up of cross border travel diversifying across move types and locations¹, we are also seeing the scope and approach of global mobility teams expanding. You do not need to look too far into the past to recall a time when global mobility was focused mainly on the governance of policies. Now 45% of mobility teams are involved in attracting and attaining top talent, and 25% are involved in overseas expansion².
For global mobility teams to successfully manage this expanded scope they will need to use their subject matter expertise to contribute to strategic workforce planning conversations. To avoid potential cross-border compliance issues emerging after strategic decisions are made (e.g. country expansion, increased resource requirements, impact of acquisitions), it would be beneficial if global mobility were part of these conversations as early as possible. To ensure that mobile workforce issues are identified and, if necessary, addressed, global mobility requires a seat at the table!
Our top tips:
- Keep an eye out for communications on business changes, e.g. winning a new client, business expansions etc., and get engaged to present the mobility perspective
- Where possible get yourself invited to key stakeholder business meetings. Be bold - either ask in person to attend, or suggest global mobility issues where you can add value to obtain a spot on the agenda
- Start with familiar, business relevant discussion areas, e.g. tax or immigration compliance, and then broaden the conversation, e.g. mobility talent selection
- Emphasise data insights to add context and value to conversations, e.g. “did you know X number of assignees are at risk of redundancy at the end of their assignment due to insufficient roles being available in their home country?”
- Be pro-active to build trust
Further, global mobility teams need to work pro-actively to build business relationships and develop trust. A business partner relationship built on trust is one where:
- The business has faith in the capability and reliability of the global mobility team to deliver what’s best for the organisation and its employees;
- The global mobility professional is credible, having the subject matter expertise to back up the issues they are raising;
- The global mobility professional has developed a level of familiarity where they provide the business with a feeling of safety and security;
- The global mobility professional clearly exhibits an understanding of the bigger picture of organisational focus and goals.
Any relationship is developed over time through meaningful interpersonal interactions. I encourage you to try some of these tips for yourself and develop your own take on what a global mobility Business Partner means for you and your organisation.
Do let me know how your relationships develop or if you’d like to talk further on how Deloitte can help you build your business partnering skills.