Finding and retaining talent is proving very difficult for companies. But for many, the global mobility of talent is equally challenging. So what exactly is the problem?

Companies want to match and deploy their most talented employees to markets where they are most needed. But they often struggle with the movement of personnel and their family members around the world.

Working overseas promises the opportunity to gain new skills and experience in a different culture.  It can be a potentially enriching experience. But clearly, it isn’t for everyone. Common reasons for employees being resistant include:

·         Fear of not being able to acclimatise and adapt

·         Their life stage – employees are likely to be more unwilling to uproot if they have school-age children

·         Lack of jobs at their level when moving back and expecting to progress

A more structured approach to talent planning is needed. We devised a reporting function for one of our large clients, where each employee has a ‘my profile’ that captures talent information such as their capabilities, potential, languages, and mobility. This is a great starting point for identifying who the talent are and how they could be moved around. There are a number of other ways companies can address this issue:

·         Understand the employee’s desire and willingness to move: facilitate an open discussion about expectations, career progression opportunities, potential work and non-work challenges  

·         Keep networks and communication channels open for talent working overseas – so they can re-integrate back to their original country or move on to a new country

·         Provide support for employee’s family members who are going to be affected by the move – this can have a huge impact on employee’s own transition and adaptation  

·         Provide diversity awareness training and coaching to equip employees for the move

·         Introduce international elements into graduate schemes to build cultural awareness