The 2018 Global Workforce Symposium: My Retrospective

I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2018 Worldwide ERC Global Workforce Symposium, held in Seattle, WA. Many attendees (including myself), were extremely surprised how lucky we were with the lack of rain! The location was excellent and the company even better!

I was delighted to attend a number of interesting seminar sessions, meeting with many new and familiar contacts from within the Global Mobility sphere whilst also running Alchemy’s ‘Smile for Something Worthwhile’ competition. I wanted to share with you my 2018 Symposium experience…

Exception Requests

I found that if you ask a Global Mobility professional what they enjoy about their job, exception requests would not be at the top of the list; however this seemed to be a hot topic of conversation at the Symposium. My contacts told me that Global Mobility professionals all have their fair share of exception requests, these can be very time consuming and, in most cases, increase forecasted budgets making them unpopular.

A financial services business told me that they have been working closely with their relocation service provider to come up with solutions to this problem; exception requests are on the rise. Throughout various discussions and testing their Global Mobility provider has come up with the potential solution of eliminating exception requests altogether by moving to a ‘no policy’ policy.

Improving Assignee Experience

During the Symposium, Global Mobility teams had opportunities to brainstorm ideas on how to improve the assignee experience and minimise stress. One Global Mobility leader explained that they wanted to add to their assignee experience and take some strain off ‘moving in day’. Working with one of their partners they came up with a great idea; order all employees and their families pizza (yes pizza!), on the day they move in, so they do not need to worry about arranging a meal. This is a small gesture with minimal costs to the company, however the impact on the assignee experience and relocation is huge. Who doesn’t love free pizza?

Other benefits

I was present for some other discussions focused around the benefits organisations provide their employees and how they can improve global mobility offerings. A global technology company understands that pets are considered a part of the family these days, which is why pet relocation is an important benefit to their assignees. The Global Mobility Manager of a global sporting brand, discussed how they have been working to add alternative policy types and benefits options to their Global Mobility program. Alongside this they are providing more cash options whilst ensuring consulting to employees is an integral element of the programme, allowing for individuality and flexibility when it comes to relocation.

Global Mobility Blunders

This was a very interesting session which was held by speakers from a global moving company and packaging organisation. They were open and able to review the circumstances discussed with good grace and humour (which is always easier in hindsight). There was a mention of an assignee’s tax being overpaid, which ended up costing the company almost $50,000 over a 10-year period!

And another tale of a Hiring Manager moving a candidate themselves instead of following the process with the Global Mobility department. Each one of these Global Mobility headaches was thankfully resolved.

Smile for Something Worthwhile

As well as discussing the positives and negatives of the Global Mobility sector (along with lots of laughs), I also had a wonderful time taking part in Alchemy’s ‘Smile for Something Worthwhile’ charity fund. Contributors donated a dollar whilst posing for a photograph. The subject of the ‘most fun and memorable photo’ decided which charity benefitted from the donations with Alchemy matching the total. It really was such a pleasure to take part.

I will look back at my time in Seattle fondly, I had a great conference and was able to meet face to face with many people I have been speaking with for years, as well as meeting many new contacts. To those of you that also attended this year, I look forward to seeing you again in the not too distant future!

Written by Amber Pittard – Global Account Manager – Global Mobility & Expatriate Services at Alchemy Global Talent Solutions.