4 key takeaways from WERC's 2021 Global Workforce Symposium

Ineo had the privilege to attend and participate in Worldwide ERC’s Global Workforce Symposium 2021 last month.

After more than a year away from in-person events, we, like many others, were thrilled to take a step back from our screens and reconnect with industry colleagues and clients under one roof. With COVID protocols in place, the conference was smaller than previous years in terms of number of registered attendees (just over 800), but it allowed for a much more intimate and focused experience. 

As far as content goes, the events surpassed expectations. During a time of transition for the mobility industry, the speakers and panelists offered innovative strategies and painted an optimistic outlook on the future of mobility.

Below, I’d like to share a few key takeaways from WERC’s 2021 conference that mobility practitioners can make note of.

Attracting and retaining talent 

The conversation around talent is one that’s being had in nearly every industry. 4.3 million people quit their jobs in August 2021, a record number that backs up the trend we’re seeing that many have dubbed the “Great Resignation.” 

The mobility industry certainly hasn’t been immune to the wave of resignations and its impact. Like most industries, we’re amid a transitional phase. There’s a lot about the future of work that we don’t know yet, but what we do know is that the desires of the workforce are shifting. In order to attract and retain talent, we need to adapt our talent and mobility strategies to meet the workforce where they are. 

To do this, mobility practitioners need to prioritize ways to create benefits designed for the desires of the current workforce, which includes support for a remote or hybrid policy. It’s also important to break down walls between teams. Mobility can build bridges to other departments, such as talent and rewards, to focus on implementing benefits that not only attract talent but retain current employees. 

Compliance

As compliance is a major component of global mobility, it’s no surprise that it was a recurring topic of discussion throughout the conference. However, this year’s conversations were specifically focused on how to remain compliant amidst the changing workforce. Right out of the gate, think immigration and taxes.

Mobility practitioners are in the business of moving people, but with most employees now leaning toward remote or hybrid work, the role of mobility gets even more interesting and challenging. Compliance becomes especially important for companies with a distributed workforce that crosses borders, which adds an additional layer of complexity. 

DE&I 

A major takeaway from this year’s conference is the importance of DE&I. Ineo’s very own Chief Product Officer, Dan Duffy spoke on the “Industry Update Session: Technology” panel. Dan specifically spoke about technology’s role in both compliance and DE&I. 

Companies that have diverse teams and diverse senior leadership are by far the most successful: it has been proven that they have higher profit margins and higher growth rates.  Additionally, in the ongoing battle to win the War for Talent, employers who can convey a comprehensive DE&I culture in their branding and marketing strategy have a much higher appeal as an “Employer of Choice” for job candidates at all levels, especially those who are Gen-Z or Millennial. 

Strategies to drive ROI

I personally had the privilege of spearheading and moderating a panel titled, “The Money Will Follow: Mobility Strategies to Drive ROI.”

For decades, mobility professionals have struggled over how ROI can be metrically aligned with and driven by program design. These challenges are faced by organizations that operate primarily in one country (i.e., “domestic”), and also by those that are truly global. Instead of defining everything in terms of a US-centric “dollars and cents” approach, forward thinking practitioners in the industry are driving downstream revenue and savings opportunities through  creative, leading-edge mobility program design. 

Companies can get a return on mobility benefits by investing in people who have higher potential and can ultimately get moved and promoted into more impactful roles that bring long-term value to the organization. 

Mobility’s ties to leadership development and succession planning have never been more of an imperative. Mobility will always be valid, and as we move forward into new territories, mobility will increasingly assume a justified seat at the leadership table.

Want to stay up to date on the latest industry trends and best practices? Add these conferences for global mobility managers to your agenda for 2022.


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