Talent mobility: essential tools and approaches for 2020 By Olivier Meier, Mercer Here is a compilation of articles detailing tools and approaches that are increasingly used by HR teams to introduce more agile, reactive and (internal) customer-focused solutions to manage workforce mobility as well as to reorganize the mobility function itself. These approaches are originally based on best practices from project management, IT product development, and marketing but are becoming essential to take talent mobility management to the next level and adapt it to the realities of the future of work. 1. Design thinking Design Thinking is a collaborative approach to finding new ideas and solutions based on the input from all stakeholders, as opposed to trying to impose processes on people and make assumptions based on theoretical concepts disconnected from the day-to-day activities of employees. The fundamental questions behind the Design Thinking philosophy are: How to put the employee’s experience at the center of the solution development process? How to learn from stakeholders and end users’ experiences to simplify processes and make tool and solutions intuitive and easy to use? 2. Agile management The Agile manifesto first issued in 2001, describes how IT team could overcome the limitation of traditional project management by introducing self-organized teams featuring mixed competencies who would work in an adaptive way to deliver incremental value to the business. The Agile approach is designed to foster adaptation, transparency, and on-going feedback. HR, and particularly the team in charge of mobile talent, can benefit from the Agile thinking and approaches. Whether you are looking for ways to improve global mobility project management or considering a wider reorganization of the HR function, the Agile methodology offers compelling tools that you need to know. 3. Talent mobility analytics The adoption of analytics is accelerating, and its use is growing 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, which is whetting the appetite for process optimization, bringing to the forefront the real value of talent mobility and the importance of making more rational decisions about it. While talent mobility analytics has not reached full maturity yet, it is an increasingly important trend that should not be ignored. 4. Collaboration networks Formal processes and organization charts don’t tell the whole story about how teams work. Actual collaboration patterns are more fluid, and the human interactions between the stakeholders are more diverse and complex than what we see on official corporate documents. As organizations strive to become flatter and agile, understanding the collaboration patterns within and between business units becomes even more relevant. Collaboration network analytics provides HR professionals with tools and new ideas to understand the ways employees interact with each other. The objective is not necessarily to spend time on long analyses. Even talent mobility professionals who don’t have the resources to conduct in-depth analyses could still benefit from looking at their practices through the lens of collaboration analytics and reflect on how collaboration patterns influence the success of international business units and mobile employees. 5. Talent mobility automation The concept of automation conjures all sorts of images in the mind of HR professionals: unrealistic vision of HR teams freed from menial work as well as fear of more job losses in a function already threatened by outsourcing and delocalization. As the adoption of automation accelerates, HR and mobility teams cannot stay out of the debate and need to develop a clear vision for the implementation of new technologies as well as practical strategies to ensure that automation benefits both the company and the employees. The adoption of automation should be part of a wider reflection to help HR become a people-centered function that places a premium on exceptional personal and digital employee interactions, with employee satisfaction as the key success metric.