Future-proof your leadership team by integrating global talent mobility and succession planning strategies
Oct 30, 2023
The Importance of Global Mobility in Succession Planning
According to McKinsey, most companies worldwide (87%) have skills gaps or expect to within a few years, and as we discussed in a previous blog, Manpower Group puts the talent shortage at a 17-year high. Therefore, succession planning must adapt to stay relevant as the global workplace evolves.
The skills shortage is intensifying, meaning businesses must find new ways to develop a strong pipeline of leaders and ensure business continuity. Ways which incorporate the globalised nature of business while satisfying evolving employee expectations around mobility and flexible working.
This blog explores the crucial role of global talent mobility in succession planning, how to navigate potential challenges and how to future-proof your leadership team.
Bridging Global Mobility and Succession Planning
Succession planning no longer relies on identifying an individual working at the same site as the departing leader. In today’s ‘work from anywhere’ world, a globally mobile workforce can be deployed anywhere at speed to facilitate expansion into new markets. When global mobility and succession planning align, organisations can draw from global talent pools and access the best talent from across the business, filling gaps in leadership regardless of geography.
Understanding Succession Planning in a Globally Mobile World
Developing a globally agile talent pool gives businesses unrestricted access to diverse skills, cross-cultural competencies, and the transfer of knowledge and best practices. This enlarged talent pool ultimately makes it quicker to identify and fill key positions while keeping expertise in-house and developing individuals. It’s obvious that robust succession planning ensures business continuity, but factoring in agility to combat market trends and challenges is what truly supports sustainable talent planning when scaling.
Why Talent Movement Across Borders is Crucial for Future Leadership
Businesses need fast, effective ways to ensure future leaders can travel and work without falling foul of local restrictions. With the right planning and employee buy-in, multinational organisations develop more profound cultural competence and broader skills, quickly negotiating different business environments and the global aspects of business. Identifying key personnel early on is a key component of developing a mobile-ready workforce.
How Global Talent Mobility Fuels Effective Succession Planning
The alternative to retaining and developing leadership, i.e., finding replacement staff, is not just tricky in today’s climate but also costly. HR specialist Centric HR found that employers should expect to pay up to 213% of an employee’s salary to replace them.
Developing globally mobile teams mitigates the risk of leadership gaps by enlarging the internal talent pool and improving employee engagement. This makes businesses less reliant on external recruitment and focused instead on internal development, employee satisfaction and knowledge and skills sharing that accelerates growth.
Cultivating Future Leaders: The International Experience Advantage
Strategically aligning employee development with known openings (identified during the early stages of the succession planning process) builds strength in depth for globally mobile businesses.
You might need an experienced pair of hands to manage an overseas subsidiary or support entering a new market. Scaling with a trusted team member leading the charge gives greater peace of mind than managing the unknowns of a new recruit.
Promoting Leadership Diversity through Worldwide Talent Mobility
Developing and redirecting talent worldwide creates a diverse leadership team, where recruits are identified and nurtured for their abilities rather than their locality.
When moving staff on a global scale, inevitably, there are language, culture, and local knowledge challenges to overcome. Any issues are mitigated within a robust international mobility program designed to facilitate smooth, efficient transitions.
Global talent mobility ensures compliance with local regulations on tax, immigration, and employment law, taking away the everyday relocation stresses of employees who are free to focus on transferring their knowledge and best practices wherever they are.
Building Resilience: The Intersection of Staff Movement and Succession Planning
Developing staff through international assignments increases their ability to adapt, learn and ultimately deliver for your enterprise. Allowing staff to work from their preferred location also increases engagement and retention.
This combination of development and trust ensures you have a talented, adaptable, motivated individual ready to step into a vacant leadership position.
Incorporating Global Talent Mobility into Your Succession Strategy
According to Gartner, only one in four employees is confident about their career path at their current organisation. Incorporating global talent mobility into your succession strategy fixes this problem because it widens employees’ horizons and engages them with exciting experiences on an international stage.
The same study found three-quarters of those seeking a new job were interested in external roles. Ask yourself: if you recognise the value of your top employees and invest in overseas opportunities and enhanced career development packages, will they need to exit the business?
Key Steps to Include Global Mobility in Your Succession Plan
A succession plan (in brief) usually follows a five-step process:
- Identify key positions within your organisation.
- Set clear objectives.
- Identify relevant employees.
- Develop selected employees.
- Record and analyse data.
To include global mobility in your succession plan, two more steps are generally included:
Partnering with an expert mobility software partner such as Centuro Global gives you access to detailed HR, tax, travel, payroll, finance, and immigration resources, covering hundreds of countries and providing access to experts on the ground in your target markets. With mobility software in place, setting, tracking, and analysing your data is simple, leading to an agile framework that maximises growth opportunities while flexing to market demands.
Challenges and Solutions when Merging Employee Movement and Succession Planning
Data management is central to the success of modern succession planning, allowing HR and talent teams to monitor the performance of individuals while introducing more comprehensive learning and development, inclusivity and diversity, and training initiatives across borders. Find out more about unlocking training and development opportunities for globally mobile employees.
However, data management is resource-intensive and complex without suitable systems. The solution is up-to-the-minute automated services, crucial to removing administrative stresses when catering to regulations, cultural differences, and logistical hurdles.
Evaluating the Impact of Talent Mobility on Succession Planning
Evaluating the impact of talent mobility on succession planning comes down to two things: the impact on the employee and the effect on the business. However, a company’s ability to evaluate success in these areas comes down to its data quality. Therefore, setting quality objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) is essential for mobility and succession success.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Mobility and Succession Success
Some common KPIs for mobility and succession success are:
- Percentage of positions with identified and ready successors.
- Number of international assignments/assignees.
- Retention and attrition rates.
- Time to fill leadership roles.
- Diversity of leaders within the business.
- Number of promotions vs external hires.
- Employee satisfaction and engagement.
Learn more about setting KPIs for assessing the ROI of global mobility programs.
Assessing the Returns of a Global Mobility-Informed Succession Strategy
The ROI of a global mobility-informed succession plan should focus primarily on talent retention. The strategy is largely successful if top talent is retained, contributing to speed-to-market and business growth.
Research by Oxford Economics and Unum found the average cost of turnover per employee (earning £25,000 a year or more) is £30,614, making for a costly alternative to employee retention. Hiring top talent externally results in hiring costs, onboarding and training, and a loss of productivity as the new recruit finds their feet within a globally active business.
That’s not to say that individual businesses shouldn’t have different measures of success. Part of the planning process is to establish what success looks like to your company and measure it accordingly.
The Future of Global Talent Mobility and Succession Planning
Globally, mobile businesses span various industries and sectors, making targeted succession planning essential. Global retailers, logistics and shipping operations, and consulting firms need to cost-effectively move talent to where it’s needed, but each has very different objectives and needs.
Therefore, the future of global talent mobility and succession planning should be targeted to each company’s unique requirements to generate the best ROI. However, here are some common themes to consider.
Emerging Trends in Global Talent Movement and Succession Planning
To continue to balance all the spinning plates involved in deploying top talent internationally, emerging trends like the below should be considered against company objectives:
- Remote working/hybrid working and virtual teams. Workplace expectations continue to evolve. What’s exciting for international leaders are the opportunities this represents.
- Global skills shortages. There’s a shortage of international talent, and, therefore, succession planning has never been of greater strategic significance.
- Diversity and inclusion. The world is waking up to the fact that diverse workforces outperform those lacking diversity.
- Focus on soft skills. A hot topic for a while now, leaders with soft skills are emerging as preferable to those with hard skills (which can be taught, after all)
How Technology Can Support Your Global Mobility and Succession Strategy
Technology, such as AI, can support your global mobility and succession strategy in several ways. Access to up-to-date resources makes researching, strategising, and planning quicker; you can build a strong business case upfront for why globally mobile talent is essential to business growth.
Decision-makers can act with agility using AI-based insights; notifications of changes to legal and regulatory requirements in real-time are layered with the tracking data of individuals to create a holistic mobility picture.
Ultimately, AI-powered global mobility solutions like Centuro Connect automate many administrative processes that make global mobility overwhelming for teams with conflicting priorities.
Preparing Your Organization for the Future of Talent Mobility and Succession Planning
Getting stakeholder buy-in is essential for preparing your organisation for talent mobility and succession planning. When HR, talent, legal and administrative teams contribute, it results in a comprehensive program that is easily adapted at pace to meet assignment challenges.
Revisiting the key steps to include in your plan, partnering with an expert provider and introducing global mobility software early in the program can significantly impact results because your objectives and data collection will be robust from the start.
Identify and develop leaders by:
- Identifying key positions within your organisation.
- Partnering with a global mobility provider.
- Introducing global mobility software.
- Setting clear objectives.
Frequently Asked Questions on Global Mobility & Succession Planning (FAQs)
We’ve answered frequently asked questions on global mobility and succession planning below.
How can global talent mobility enhance our succession planning strategy?
Globally, mobile businesses have a broader employee base to draw from when growing in new markets, solving challenges around skills gaps and talent shortages. Teams can react quickly, deploying talent already well-versed in company culture and values.
What are some common hurdles in integrating global mobility into succession planning?
Data and information management is the biggest hurdle to success in global mobility and succession planning integration. To develop an agile program that identifies key personnel and adapts to market challenges, robust objectives, KPIs and data collection are required.
How does staff movement impact the development of future leaders?
Enabling staff to operate internationally develops adaptable leaders with diverse skills, cultural awareness, and a strong understanding of global business. These leaders are more likely to stay longer, becoming advocates for your business.
How can technology facilitate the blend of global mobility with succession planning?
Human-led platforms powered by technology provide accurate resources and allow administrators to manage data and track processes more effectively. Utilising technology, teams present more robust business cases to decision-makers.
What are the best ways to measure the success of a mobility-focused succession plan?
Set robust KPIs against objectives, ensuring the data you collect is high quality. But remember, your program is nothing without your people. Explore what success means to your business rather than focusing solely on quantitative data.
Conclusion: Maximizing the Benefits of Global Mobility for Succession Planning
Global mobility helps to solve challenges presented by worldwide skills gaps and staff shortages. When entering new markets, globally mobile leaders can share diverse skills, cross-cultural competencies, knowledge, and best practices, making it quicker for local teams to adapt when scaling. Here are our final thoughts on blending global talent mobility with succession planning.
Reflecting on the Advantages of a Mobility-Driven Succession Strategy
Global mobility drives succession planning focused on internal development, employee satisfaction and knowledge and skills sharing to accelerate growth by providing accurate information and removing administrative burdens. Compliance with local regulations on tax, immigration, and employment law is easily factored in. So, too, is robust data capture, supporting agile succession programs.
Practical Steps for Successful Integration of Global Talent Mobility in Succession Planning
Front-loading global talent mobility into the succession planning process gives greater direction and frees up team members to focus on driving change. Introducing international mobility steps into your programme ensures the quick filling of leadership gaps regardless of geography.
Looking Forward: The Future of Succession Planning in an Increasingly Mobile World
As employee expectations of the workplace change and more onus is placed on soft skills, identifying and developing adaptable leaders with high emotional intelligence supports a modern succession planning process. Global mobility technology can make it easier to develop, deploy and ultimately promote these future leaders.
To find out more about integrating global talent mobility with your succession planning, contact us.