Illustration of global workforce standing on different continents

Back when Covid-19 dramatically curtailed travel in 2020, it was hard to imagine how global workforce mobility could recover. Now, four years later, the pandemic is largely gone from headlines, and global mobility is a top priority for organizations.

In fact, the pandemic has made mobility more important than ever. So why has this happened, and how can your organization ensure the success of your global mobility programs? Let’s take a deeper dive.

Global Mobility and the Battle for Talent

Even before 2020, organizations sometimes had to struggle to find employees with the essential talents for key roles. But the pandemic intensified this issue by sparking the Great Resignation.

Although quit rates have returned to pre-pandemic levels and layoffs are up, employers are still struggling to hire for openings that require in-demand skills, such as AI and information technology.

One way that organizations can mitigate the talent shortage is by expanding their pool of job candidates. Instead of considering candidates only from their city or region, employers can now open up jobs to qualified people worldwide. In a survey last year, 87% of employers said they’re recruiting foreign nationals for jobs in the U.S.

But that’s not the only way embracing global mobility can help organizations attract and retain talented employees. During the pandemic, remote work skyrocketed. Covid restrictions eventually eased, but employees did not want to give up the flexibility that remote work afforded them.

Global mobility helps employers provide that much-coveted flexibility. The opportunity to go on international assignments — whether short-term or long-term — can attract job candidates and help keep current employees engaged and happy.

The Value of Language and Cultural Training

But to take advantage of these benefits, organizations must have robust global mobility programs in place. Employees expect mobility programs to provide services that are customized to their unique needs.

Remember that an international move has a profound effect not just on an employee, but also their family. Even if the employee easily adapts to an international relocation, they won’t be able to give their best to a job if a family member is struggling. If things don’t get better, they may ultimately decide to return home.

To avoid costly failed relocations, organizations should ensure that they’re supporting the well-being of both the employee and their family. They should also look beyond the initial move in how they support expat families.

For example, a family doesn’t just need help finding a house or apartment in their new country. They also need language skills and cultural knowledge to make friends and go about daily life.

So what does that look like? Check out our case study about how Fluency Corp worked with a family that relocated from Argentina to Canada. We helped the daughter of the family learn about idioms and other cultural references to help her fit in as she began middle school in a new country.

With the mom of the family, we focused on helping her learn the vocabulary she needed to manage household tasks like shopping and making appointments.

Features of Successful Mobility Programs

While we specialize in language and cultural training, we also see firsthand how other support services help expat families as well. So if you’re creating or revamping the global mobility program at your organization, here are some key features to include.

Keep in mind that you may be able to handle some of these areas with in-house staff, but may need to partner with specialists to provide other services.

Help with the immigration process. Dealing with all the bureaucracy and paperwork associated with an international relocation can put a serious damper on your employee’s productivity. Make sure you can help them cut through all the red tape.

Financial planning assistance. Unfortunately, the bureaucracy doesn’t stop after your employee is settled in their new country. Expats have to deal with things like setting up a bank account in their new country, budgeting for daily life in a culture they’re unfamiliar with and figuring out their tax situation.

Connect your employees with experts who can help them navigate these challenges.

Support for mental and physical well-being. Moving to a new country is stressful, and we all know that stress can take a toll on physical and mental health. Your expat employees might run into challenges getting the care they need in their new country.

For example, there may be few mental health providers overall. Or an employee might not be fluent enough in the local language to describe their symptoms to a doctor. You can address these challenges by giving employees access to telehealth appointments with U.S. providers or a hotline they can call to be matched with an in-person provider in their country.

Don’t forget families. As we mentioned earlier, an employee’s family can make or break an international location. Relocation benefits that support expat employees’ families include counseling, career placement for the employee’s spouse and school placement for children

Language and cultural training. We know we already talked about this topic as well, but we want to underline the importance of this training. All aspects of an international move are easier when an employee and their family have language and cultural fluency. Corporate language training programs work best when you can tailor them to each employee’s unique needs.

We also recommend that you ask any training providers you are considering about how they assess employees’ language proficiency, provide feedback and keep you posted on the employee’s progress.

Fluency Corp’s Track Record

We have a long track record of helping our client companies set their employees up for success on international assignments. To learn more about what we offer, you can watch video testimonials, see some of the major companies we’ve worked with, and read about how our classes work. We’re also happy to answer your questions directly. Just get in touch.