The global mobility industry has faced significant challenges throughout 2023. Looking ahead to 2024, we can expect the landscape to change in a number of significant ways as a result of emerging trends and shifting workplace expectations. As companies navigate the future of global mobility, key strategic considerations and steps are being identified to balance employee well-being and organisational success. From the value of hiring expat talent to the impact of remote and hybrid working on global mobility, the year ahead presents a dynamic and transformative environment for the industry.
Flexible Global Policies
Companies are increasingly adopting flexible relocation policies to prioritise culture fit and enable employees to work across multiple countries. They are also designed to accommodate long-term legislative changes and ensure equitable policies for all employees. For example, a core/flex relocation policy blends pre-defined support services or benefits with various optional services that employees or business line leaders can choose from to adjust as needed. This approach allows for a more direct and personalised alignment of benefits and needs and can help companies gain a recruiting edge, tailor relocation benefits more closely to employee or candidate needs, and make employees feel more valued and invested in the process.
Focus on Compliance
As a result of anticipated regulatory updates and changes to employment laws, the employee relocation industry is expected to face significant compliance challenges in 2024. One of the difficulties in addressing HR compliance concerns is adjusting to a shifting regulatory environment and navigating variations in employment laws caused by the rise in remote work. Key areas that organisations will need to focus on in response to new regulations are data privacy, cyber security, and equity.
In the relocation sector, staying abreast of these developments and obtaining compliance data promptly are recognised as strategic advantages. Global compliance will become even more critical as companies expand into multiple regions, requiring a comprehensive understanding of mobile employee compliance, local regulations, tax implications, social security, and immigration issues. Collaborating with HR departments and incorporating risk management activities will be fundamental for successful global mobility programmes within corporate departments.
Rising Demand for Short-Term Nomad Visas
The rise of remote work that sparked a growing demand for short-term nomad visas, enabling professionals to work globally with more access than tourist visas and greater flexibility than traditional work permits, is not going away any time soon. This shift provides a unique opportunity for organisations to tap into a global talent pool without the need for traditional visa sponsorships. HR teams play a pivotal role in navigating this landscape, necessitating a thorough understanding of changing visa requirements and the development of onboarding processes for remote employees.
As employees continue to express a growing interest in extended remote work, those HR teams that haven’t done so already will be required to develop internal programmes that align with these wishes. This may involve sabbaticals or geo-flexible arrangements, allowing organisations to retain valuable talent while supporting employees’ aspirations for extended travel or remote work.
In navigating these changes, HR emerges as a strategic partner in shaping a flexible and responsive work environment for the future.
As a hangover from lockdowns and the geoeconomic challenges of 2023, companies will continue to face cost pressures in the global mobility space. Rising property rents and dwindling availability forecasts for 2024, for instance, will affect relocating employees, making it harder for them to find affordable housing. Where organisations cover the monthly rental payments, this results in increased outlay, which puts pressure on HR to find cost-effective solutions for housing employees who are relocating.
Negotiating lower rental rates with landlords is challenging, so exploring alternative housing options such as shared accommodations or co-living spaces may be options that need to be explored. HR will also need to consider the impact of cost pressures on other aspects of global mobility, such as transportation and relocation allowances.
By finding creative and strategic ways to address these cost pressures, HR departments can help organisations navigate the challenges of a changing work environment while still supporting their employees’ needs.
Attracting Global Talent
In 2024, organisations will need to be more adaptive and innovative in their strategies and policies to attract and retain global talent. A key element will be the increased use of technology and digital tools to facilitate remote working and collaboration. With the advent of technologies such as VR and AI, organisations can provide a virtual workspace, allowing them to expand their talent pool beyond geographical limitations. This also implies the need for policies that support flexible working hours, considering the different time zones of global employees.
Moreover, organisations should continue to focus on creating a diverse and inclusive work environment. For this, recruitment policies should be centred around equal opportunities for all, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, or nationality.
Providing opportunities for continuous learning and development will also be crucial to attracting and retaining global talent. These may include skill-building programmes, mentoring initiatives, and offering opportunities for employees to work on diverse projects.
As the quest for talent becomes more competitive, organisations that adapt swiftly by harnessing the power of technology and fostering an inclusive and learning-oriented culture will hold the edge.
Sustainability in Relocation
Sustainability will become a key consideration in relocation. Organisations will increasingly need to look at ways to reduce the environmental impact of their relocation processes. This will include everything from choosing eco-friendly transportation options to implementing sustainable practices in housing and office spaces.
Organisations will recognise the need to further reduce their carbon footprint and explore ways to make their relocation programmes more environmentally friendly. This will involve initiatives like using reusable packing materials, donating or selling unneeded items, choosing sustainable properties, and embracing green transportation options.
By integrating these sustainable practices into their relocation processes, organisations will not only reduce their environmental impact but also enhance their brand image and contribute to broader global efforts to mitigate climate change.
Emerging trends and shifting workplace expectations are preparing the global mobility landscape for a significant transformation in 2024. From the increasing value of hiring expat talent to the impact of remote and hybrid working on global mobility, the year ahead presents both challenges and opportunities for organisations and employees alike. Major changes in immigration, social security, and tax legislation will continue to shape the global mobility landscape, requiring companies to adapt swiftly to stay ahead of these developments. By understanding and embracing these trends, organisations can position themselves to navigate the evolving global mobility landscape in 2024 and beyond, ensuring they are well-equipped to attract and retain talent in a rapidly changing environment.