Helping Mobility Professionals Be More Strategic: How to Implement Analytics and Metrics For more on this topic, watch our free on-demand webcast. Yvonne Traber Talent Mobility Business Leader Mercer Sigrid Nauwelaerts Regional Director, Talent Mobility (EMEA) Johnson & Johnson As the international mobile workforce becomes ever more diverse, many organizations are realizing that analytics and metrics can play a vital role in helping HR, talent and mobility teams play a more strategic role in the wider business. This article offers a concise overview of current market practice in mobility strategy, before offering insights from Johnson & Johnson’s recently reconfigured approach to mobility management. Current Market Practice in Mobility Strategy Segmentation is increasing in multinational organizations’ mobility policies, which are also diversifying to meet business needs. The mobile workforce is growing, and non-traditional approaches such as commuting, short-term assignments and local/local plus are on the rise. Guidelines for all need to be established so that they can be monitored, however, and thus some businesses are likely to revise their global mobility strategies and processes along the way. Refining international management processes is also high on the agenda, as is flexibility, which is extremely popular among assignees (particularly Millennials), but can be challenging to manage. Making Your Data Work for You For some companies, centralizing the administration of international assignments streamlines operations. Indeed, more than a third of respondents to Mercer’s 2015 Worldwide Survey of International Assignment Policies and Practices had fully centralized their global mobility administration team within their corporate center. Such a move has many benefits, particularly from a governance perspective, but improving the use of analytics and metrics could also transform the way mobility teams work and how they contribute to the wider organization. A staggering 90% of European companies do not use metrics to track assignment success and results, and only 21% use specialist software to consolidate assignment data. As the management guru Peter Drucker once stated, ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure.’ Using analytics to measure the value of international assignments will undoubtedly help businesses improve their performance in terms of retention, reward and performance. For example, are you retaining employees that have been on an international assignment after they return home? Do employees who have international assignment experience have higher rewards compared to their peers – pay rises, promotions, etc? And do employees who have been on international assignment perform better than their peers? To get the best from the mobility data you can access, use fact-based information (descriptive analytics) as a springboard for creating potential policies (predictive analytics) that could help the mobility function position itself more effectively as a strategic asset and ambassador for the mobile workforce. For some organizations, simply knowing precisely how many assignees they have (and where, and for how long) can be a huge step forward, but for those businesses with more detailed data to hand, using current statistics and trends to gauge future requirements will be enormously helpful. By finding out your current turnover figures, for example, you can look into unwanted churn rates, and tackle issues ahead of time to improve retention. Furthermore, investing in analytics and metrics has an important role in the ongoing trend towards simplification and process efficiency in mobility management. Creating an accessible global ‘dashboard’ via which all parties can access assignment information and costs has many potential benefits: holding all the data in one central portal will not only reduce the administrative burden dramatically, but ensure compliance issues can be tracked more easily, and facilitate visibility on policy exceptions and total program costs. Perhaps most importantly, though, working smarter in this way will create an international assignment management process that is ready to meet your company’s evolving needs, and move the right talent to the right place at the right time. This journey of continuous improvement is one that Johnson & Johnson’s talent management team has recently embarked on, and a change of mindset was at its heart. The Talent Mobility Strategy and Journey at Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Founded in 1886, Johnson & Johnson is one of the biggest businesses in the world, with more than 275 operating companies in sixty countries. A market leader in three sectors – consumer products, medical devices and pharmaceuticals – J&J has over 128,000 employees worldwide. Talent mobility is part of J&J’s global talent management division, reporting in to the director of talent acquisition. In early 2015, talent mobility decided to transform its brand, seeking to swap their traditional, and rather static, role as fire-fighting facilitators for one as expert advisors who could not only help employees navigate challenging career transitions but also provide strategic support to J&J’s businesses, which must themselves continuously evolve in line with market conditions. Transforming the Service Delivery Model Radically changing the existing service delivery model was the key to the talent mobility team’s transition. Almost all ‘transactional’ services have now been outsourced to a third-party provider – fully trained by J&J in association with Mercer in all aspects, including package calculation – and only complex moves, such as those which require the setting up of operations in new locations, are now handled in-house. Alongside the external mobility services team, a global mobility centre of excellence, based in New Brunswick, is responsible for company-wide governance on issues such as strategy, policy, technology and vendor management. The centre is also responsible for ensuring program duty of care and compliance, and manages US domestic relocation programs and services. A new advisory services team, organized by region, has two main roles: The mobility advisory team acts a strategic partner to HR and business on talent mobility and planning issues, and also assists with the structuring of complex assignments. The IDP and development assignment support (DAS) team offers support for assignments intended to ‘accelerate’ talent objectives; it also manages the IDP project, an internal J&J initiative whereby talented employees identified during succession planning go on 18–24 month assignments. Freeing up the talent mobility team from the day-to-day details of assignment planning and facilitation means that they are now able to focus on building effective relationships with HR and business leaders; the team has a better grasp of their overall strategy and commercial goals, and thus can offer effective, tailored mobility solutions. Developing a talent mobility dashboard has also helped the team increase its impact in the organization. The dashboard offers quarterly ‘snapshots’ of the impact and value the team is delivering globally through its different services. It can be challenging to show everything touched by J&J’s various talent mobility subgroups, but by using easily retrievable data from up-to-date sources, the dashboard presents easy to digest information on important issues in an accessible and holistic way. Partnering with the Business At J&J, talent mobility has four primary strategic priorities: connect; shape; lead; deliver. To that end, the talent mobility team works with the business to: Set goals. Naturally these will vary from company to company, but could include increasing the number of female assignees, or junior staff, for example. Drive behavior. Encourage the behaviors needed to meet goals, ensuring that these have been clearly communicated to all parties. Track performance. Collect and track mobility data and business insights based on the defined measures. Evaluate success. Assess performance against the measures and determine a subsequent action plan. To better partner with your business, consider: Are the right people in the right functions? How will we measure success? Are we sending talent to strategic locations? Do we have robust talent pipelines? Summary: Building a Strategic Talent Mobility Team How are other HR functions supporting the business in engaging talent and creating a pipeline for future leaders? Can you leverage their ideas? Develop and strengthen business expertise and acumen: at J&J, a new skill set has been required in talent mobility since its change of mindset, and it is vital that mobility professionals can understand commercial concepts and imperatives. Try ‘Uber’ thinking in the mobility space: be disruptive to effect change where appropriate, but it is essential that you are on top of your game when it comes to issues such as compliance. Realize that data is central to the strategic mobility planning process. At J&J, alongside a strategic plan and a business plan, a talent/succession plan must be drawn up that includes international assignment demographics, global mobility performance data, home/host talent data, and other relevant surveys. Mobility trends, risks and challenges, and the broader market landscape are also factored in. From this, the business will be able to make the right mobility investment to meet its short- and long-term talent and commercial needs. Working through this process results in not only a framework for strategic decision-making in the mobility space but also in clear and measurable objectives, demonstrated return on investment and a robust partnership between HR, global mobility and the wider business.