However, many organizations are falling behind when it comes to implementing technology to enhance mobile teams. Research suggests that millennials crave international experiences, desire workplace flexibility, and want more dynamic project-driven work. Moreover, with the millennial generation, where 8 in 10 are willing to relocate for a job they love.
Brynne Kennedy, CEO of global mobility platform Topia, provides insights for what these means for businesses in terms of recruiting top talent from the millennial generation. Brynne is also the Founder of #Mobility4All, a nonprofit that empowers those moving poverty and conflict, and to which Topia contributes 1 percent of its revenue.
Digital Journal: Thanks for the interview. How is the world of work changing?
Brynne Kennedy: There are three major trends changing the nature of work today. Millennials are the majority of the workforce; more than any other generation they want shorter work ‘sprints’ meaning that companies must move them regularly between roles and locations. Companies operate in the most complex, interdependent global economy we’ve ever seen; this means that having a globally skilled, connected and diverse workforce is more important than ever.
Rapid technology advances mean that AI and robotics could, by some estimates, overtake nearly 50 percent of jobs in the next decade; so companies are looking at how to build resilient and adaptive workforces that can shift to new roles and locations as these automations happens. These trends make organizational agility and talent mobility critical to the future success of companies.
DJ: In terms of increased mobility, which demographics is this most appealing to?
Kennedy: It’s important to first recognize that when we say increased mobility we are talking about ALL types of mobility that are overall increasing. When you look deeper what we see is that mobility with shorter durations is increasing the most. Employees are increasingly spending amounts of time in different locations to do their jobs – often as a part of a project team, company expansion or to fill a skills gap – and commuting to and from different locations. This is happening across all demographics, but it is most pronounced with millennials and with people of all demographics who work in industries with critical skills shortages.
DJ: Does mobility work well for individuals or teams best?
Kennedy: Mobility can be successful for both individuals and teams. The key to effective mobility of any type is to have a strong internal mobility team, mature mobility systems and infrastructure to connect the many complex aspects of mobility and the many fragmented vendors today, and to focus heavily on the experience that an employee and his / her family has while being mobile.
DJ: What are the advantages for employees?
Kennedy: Mobility assignments (of all types) benefit employees by building cross-location competencies, networks and learnings. This is very important in today’s global business environment. There is a saying that the route to the C-Suite is through a global zig zag, and we see this often.
DJ: What are the advantages of this way of working for businesses?
Kennedy: Companies use talent mobility for many reasons. A few of these are to attract and retain talent by offering mobility as an incentive to employees, to fill critical skills shortages by matching skills from one place with demand for them in another place, and to build adaptive and diverse workforces with a leadership pipeline that has diversity and an employee base that can learn and fill new roles if prior jobs are replaced by automation.
DJ: Are there any downsides?
Kennedy: Mobility assignments can be very stressful for employees and their families, and can create risks in retention and productivity if they are not handled well. Companies can mitigate this with a focus on their employees experiences through a combination of engaging technology and personalized support. Managing talent mobility can also be very challenging and cumbersome for company teams.
Mobility touches a lot of different parts of a company – HR, compensation, payroll, finance, tax to name a few – and uses a lot of different vendors and information sets such as immigration data, tax data and cost of living data to name a few. Managing all of this can be a very time consuming and manual process. Companies can mitigate this by implementing a technology suite, like Topia, that connects the mobility ecosystem and unifies data, processes and experiences for all mobile employees.
DJ: What types of technologies facilitates mobile working?
Kennedy: The most important thing to facilitate mobile working is a mobility suite that connects the ecosystem of providers, data and processes. I think of this as the “backbone” of mobile working — and without all of the benefits of mobility and future of work discussions cannot happen. In addition to this, technologies that facilitate collaboration, such as Slack, Google docs and videoconferencing – also make mobile working easier.
DJ: Is the technology available fully up to the task?
Kennedy: Topia is the first global mobility suite that connects the ecosystem and unifies data, processes and experiences, agnostic of which providers a company works with for relocation, immigration, tax and other services. We have a relocation offering (Topia Move) that many of our customers choose to use, but we can connect the ecosystem with Topia Move or another provider. The other offerings in the market are point solutions that only touch a part of the ecosystem or focus exclusively on the relocation segment. So in general, the technology available has not been up to the task — and hence global mobility teams and employees have suffered. But with Topia, companies finally have a full solution.
DJ: What services does Topia offer?
Kennedy: Topia is the first global mobility suite that connects the ecosystem and unifies data, processes and experiences, agnostic of which providers a company works with for relocation, immigration, tax and other services. We have four offerings in our technology suite. Our Topia Plan application empowers companies to scenario plan for their mobile workforce generating cost projections across policies and locations.