Talent mobility analytics: setting priorities By Olivier Meier, Mercer The adoption of analytics is accelerating in the field of global workforce management and talent mobility. This trend is driven by the need to enable more talent mobility without increasing cost and complexity, to bring to the forefront the value of talent mobility as well as the importance of making more rational decisions about it. The real added-value of analytics is coming from its relevance to current business issues. International HR managers need to integrate new priorities in their analyses, ones related to upskilling, strategic talent planning, performance, pay equity, wellbeing, and the adoption of technology. Mercer's 2021 Global Talent Trends Study asked participants which types of HR analytical improvements their organizations would pursue in 2021. Data from Mercer's 2021 Global Talent Trends Study on HR analytics HR analytical improvements for 2021 Plan to improve for 2021 Provide today and no plan to improve Learning/skill acquisition analytics 48% 28% Strategic workforce planning modelling 45% 32% Performance data related to flexible working 42% 27% Pay equity analytics 35% 46% People analytics integrated with marrket strategies 34% 25% Mental and emotional wellbeing 31% 36% Metrics about the adoption of new technlogies 22% 17% Mobility and the great upskilling/reskilling effort Analytics can help HR make sense of the skill debate. Mobility play an important role in it: developmental moves help key talent build new skills and allow them to be exposed to new markets or functions. How do we move employees to help them develop their skills? Are all forms of developmental moves equally effective? Can virtual assignments be as valuable as traditional international assignments to prepare future leaders? From managing relocation to juggling with multiple mobility options Mobility management has evolved from supporting relocation to enabling talent moves in a complex global distributed workforce. Mobility is about expatriates but also locally hired foreigners, commuters, business travellers and international remote workers. In the new world of work, there will be a premium for HR teams who can help management navigate the different mobility options. Tracking and analyzing non-linear careers will also become essential as more workers engage in frequent moves, internal gigs, cross-functional projects and various forms of international remote working. Dissipating preconceptions about remote working A company’s culture has a lot of influence on the acceptance of new forms of remote working. Some managers still question the productivity of remote workers. Even in organizations where remote working has been enthusiastically endorsed, it still makes sense to evaluate objectively the performance of remote workers compared to their on-site peers. International working is adding a layer of complexity to the remote working debate. Would periods of international remote working influence the performance of international assignees? Could virtual assignments be as successful as traditional international moves? Companies are experimenting new options and need robust analytics to evaluate their success. What does pay equity mean for mobile employees? Mobility can help foster inclusion and pay equity. The representation of women and minorities in the mobile workforce has a direct influence on their career perspectives and ultimately pay progression. Debating pay equity for mobile employees also implies determining the country of reference: is it the home or the host location? Or is the reference a global market? Traditionally, expatriates‘ compensation has been linked with the home country but there is a growing adoption of host-based approaches and a globalization of the talent market for some jobs (movable jobs.) Furthermore, the rise of remote working also raises the question of pay equity: should pay be based purely on work/skills or influenced by the location? Does talent mobility matter? The value of mobility can be understood only by linking it to business objectives. How do we define success? What is the long-term impact of international assignments on the performance of receiving business units? Mobility is about moving talent where it is most needed. International HR professionals are increasing playing a talent brokering role and helping the business anticipate future needs and identify new talent pools. Talent management and mobility management are often separate functions - analytics are helping building a bridge between teams. Measuring employee fatigue and re-energizing the workforce Employee fatigue will be an important theme in the post-pandemic world of work. It’s not just a question of physical health but also of emotional, social and financial wellbeing. International assignees have been particularly affected by travel restrictions, separation from friends and family, unplanned repatriations and uncertainties about future moves. While many assignees are keen to return on assignment, other may be reconsidering their plans. How we measure wellbeing and more specifically understand the need of the different employee groups? What would help re-motivate assignees? Different forms of support have been offered by companies during the pandemic – what truly worked and can be leveraged going forward? Taking the pulse of digitalization Analytics are required to build a convincing business case for the adoption of new technologies. Which technologies bring most value? How are they used? The pandemic has increased the pace of digitalization and virtual working has becoming the norm in many organizations. At the same time, managing a globally distributed workforce and supporting hybrid workers require better technologies. Measuring the pace of adoption of these new technologies can help avoid a digital divide between employee groups or between functions as well as an expectation gap between HR and assignees.