This blog is the first in a five-part series focusing on opportunity generated by volatility in today’s mobility profession. We’ll review volatility’s impact on immigration, tax, and policy/programs, as well as the opportunities presented for internal structural change and growth. We will end the series with a timely discussion of organizational change management.

 

Volatility is commonly defined as “characterized by or subject to rapid or unexpected change.” Given all that is occurring in our world pandemically, socially, politically, culturally, and economically, we believe it is fair to say we are living in volatile times.

 

The mobility profession is not immune. Corporate mobility programs grapple with changes driven by COVID-19. Reduced relocation activity is impacting every sector of our business. Global economic headwinds are forcing businesses at all levels of the supply chain to consider any number of options including cost reductions, reorganization, bankruptcy, closure, or mergers/acquisitions.

 

Working from home (or from anywhere, frankly) has become ubiquitous; video meetings and all other forms of electronic communication are the norm. This “Work from Anywhere” (WFA) concept, while not new, has captured significant mindshare among HR, Talent, and Mobility professionals alike – and understandably so.

 

At one end of the spectrum, mobility professionals are faced with how best to navigate a “perfect storm” created by the pandemic and further exacerbated by recent immigration orders. Here WFA has appeal. With a laptop and phone, many employees can easily and productively work anywhere, regardless of whether they are on assignment or returned home, even if temporarily.

 

At the other end of the spectrum, some corporate leaders view WFA as a way to significantly reduce the number of relocations and/or their overall mobility program scope. Why relocate someone if they have proven to effectively work remotely? Move the job to them, not the other way around. Of late, mobility professionals globally have cause for sleepless nights.

 

Despite its surface appeal to some as a cost-cutting measure, WFA doesn’t come without costs of its own. Some of those costs can be quite complex and significant. Tax considerations come to mind immediately. A dispersed workforce may cause a variety of compliance issues. Immigration compliance also enters the equation, as do mobility policy benefits and program structures.

 

So, what to do with your corporate mobility program?

 

We believe within volatility is opportunity. Opportunity to strengthen programs and policies and position them for the future. Opportunity to identify red flags in supply chain performance. In short, opportunity to change.

 

So, what does it take to facilitate change? Often, not much, particularly if working in an environment already full of change and – you guessed it – volatility. Such an environment provides the necessary rationale to review any and all processes and programs. Depending on the scope of the changes, it may take a clearer understanding of the art of change to navigate these waters.

 

As noted above, in the subsequent four blogs in this series, we’ll dive into volatility’s impact on immigration, tax, and policy/programs and the opportunities presented for internal structural change and growth. We will end the series with an in-depth discussion of organizational change management.

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