No Global-Mobility Plan=Missed Opportunities

December 3, 2014 7:20 pm

Why you need competent managers who can take on international assignments

Unlocking the Value of Cross-Border Assignments

NEW YORK, Dec. 3, 2014 — Despite being a key driver for financial and talent-retention success in leading organizations, most businesses view global mobility (GM) as a low priority, and many do not have a GM strategy in place.

As three trends—complexity, speed to market, and global reach—converge, the need for competent managers to take on cross-border assignments grows.

That is according to Unlocking the value of cross-border assignments, a new Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBR-AS) survey conducted in close collaboration with the global EY professional services organization.

“Governments around the world are requiring companies to comply with often onerous regulations affecting cross-border payroll, tax filings, Social Security, and immigration,” says Leslie Fiorentino, EY Americas Mobility Services Leader. “Big data and data analytics are helping forward-thinking companies bring new insights to mobility programs, and can increase efficiency for employers faced with these additional compliance demands.”

HBR-AS surveyed 695 global executives – including 11 in-depth interviews with best practice leaders – to explore the value companies place on GM and to identify the main challenges to implementation.

Sixty-five percent of top-performing companies with GM strategies reported a positive impact on financial performance, and enjoyed marked improvements in new business growth and talent retention.

Conversely, firms that approach their GM needs reactively (47%) reported that their greatest challenge to success was their reactive approach, while family considerations were also cited as a primary barrier.

A significant 18% of respondents were not even able to identify who served as the lead on GM within their organization.

Interestingly, the report also provides anecdotal evidence that bigger companies are more likely to have a formal approach to GM.

Greater need for long-term GM strategies
The survey highlights that a majority of businesses (63%) say the need for globally mobile employees increased during the past three years, and a greater number (72%) said that demand for such employees is only likely to increase over the next two to three years.

Dina Pyron, EY Global Human Capital Leader, says:

“Global mobility has become invaluable to companies with aspirations for new business. Organizations with a reactive approach will miss opportunities, while those who plan ahead and build a global talent pool will succeed.

“In an increasingly global market, the race for talent is a key determinant of success. Companies should take stock now of where the gaps are in their workforce, and develop a robust strategy to address that gap.”

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

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This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

How EY’s Human Capital professional can help your business
In today’s globally integrated, tightly regulated and increasingly competitive business environment, one critical success factor stands out: people. Our Human Capital services offer a “total picture” perspective, integrating global mobility, workplace effectiveness and talent and reward. Through our comprehensive approach, we can help you make the most of your investment in your people.

Learn more about EY Human Capital at

About Harvard Business Review Analytic Services
Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBR-AS) is an independent sponsored research unit within Harvard Business Review Group, conducting research and comparative analysis on management challenges and emerging business opportunities.

Research from HBR-AS has been quoted by The New York Times,, USA Today, Times of London and on CNN, Fox Business and other major media, and HBR-AS published reports have been distributed at Davos and Rio+20, among other global events.

The report draws upon in-depth interviews with 11 best practice leaders in global mobility and 695 global executives. Survey respondents were globally dispersed including Europe 30%, North America 26%, Asia Pacific 26%, South and Central America 13%, and Middle East and Africa 5%.