What is the future of Global Mobility?

The future of global mobility is evolving to become worker-led, fully integrated, and legally reformed. This article explains what these changes mean for your organization and how you can keep pace.

Jemima Owen-Jones
Written by Jemima Owen-Jones
October 12, 2022
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Key Takeaways

  1. Global mobility has evolved to mean a company’s ability to support a global workforce, fulfill workers’ preferences and win the war on talent.
  2. Organizations must keep pace with innovative ways to attract, retain, employ, and deploy top talent seamlessly in a competitive marketplace.
  3. Partnering with an EOR provider such as Deel will be an advantage.

The future of work will not rest on remote work alone. As the international marketplace opens up again, we will see a rise in international mobility in physical terms.

To ensure companies future proof their approach to global mobility, they have two options:

  • Build an internal mobility department: Organizations with sufficient resources can hire global mobility consultants or train existing team members to navigate global mobility policy, immigration legislation, and cross-border compliance in-house.
  • Partner with an EOR: Organizations looking for a one-stop shop global mobility solution can partner with an employer of record (EOR) such as Deel and make use of specialist teams of mobility and legal experts equipped to take care of international employment contracts, visa procurement, relocation logistics, employment law, immigration requirements, global mobility tax, global payroll, mandatory and relocation benefits, and global talent management and compliance.

Below we explore how the future of global mobility is evolving and how you can prepare. 

What is global mobility?

Traditionally, global mobility meant a company’s efficiency in moving employees to different countries as expatriates or for business trips and assignments. Today, global mobility has evolved to mean a company’s ability to support a global workforce, fulfill workers’ preferences and win the war on talent.

Global mobility as a strategy for business success helps to:

  • Match talent supply to business demand
  • Tap into new markets and talent pools to close the skill gap
  • Keep workers engaged and improve retention
  • Develop workforce agility and the ability to pivot
  • Enhance workforce diversity to promote new ideas and perspectives

1. The future of global mobility is worker-led and experience-driven

Global mobility is redefining the employee experience. Companies must transition from a paternalistic approach to global mobility to a worker-empowered approach to capture and retain the best talent and fulfill international business objectives.

Mobile, tech-savvy, and flexible millennials represent an ever-growing part of the global workforce. This new generation of workers will foster greater global mobility and allow companies to relocate employees more efficiently and at a lower cost than traditional expatriates.

However, millennials have different prerequisites and expectations from the traditional workforce. They typically view their careers as portable and fluid and prioritize lifestyle and personal development opportunities over static roles, linear career progression, and corporate ladders.

A mobile employee might pick a mobility program based on the following factors:

  • Direct career opportunities
  • Intensive learning experience
  • Involvement in location-based operations and critical projects
  • Financial benefits, e.g., higher pay, saving opportunities, tax obligations
  • Higher quality of living
  • Integration into local life
  • The ability to contribute to local society
  • Personal family considerations

Long, static mobility programs that offer little cultural exposure, career growth, or work-life balance are likely to be disregarded.

Design a holistic mobility program that prioritizes worker experience

Companies must design holistic global mobility programs that align with workers’ career and lifestyle goals and foster excellent employee experiences. When designing your mobility program, you should plan the entire employee journey to ensure employees remain engaged and invested. Consider the following:

Location risk assessments: Before relocating workers, companies must ensure that the destination is safe and appropriate for the worker.

Cultural assimilation and adaptation training: Companies must facilitate a smooth relocation process and transition from one culture and assignment to another.

Financial security: Companies must design and adjust compensation structures to consider exchange rates, cost of living differences, travel compensation, and pay rises.

Flexible benefits: Instead of standardized expatriate packages, companies should provide flexible cafeteria-style benefits and allowances that enable workers to choose what’s relevant to maintain their specific lifestyle, help them stay mobile, and support their families.

24/7 support: To ensure the health, safety, and well-being of mobile workers, companies should provide 24/7 support via mobile apps, chatbots, and self-service solutions.

Monitoring: Companies should monitor their workers’ movements to ensure they remain compliant as they move between jurisdictions and arrange repatriation if necessary.

Education: Mobile employees require financial and tax education to help them make informed decisions that can help them remain compliant, save money, and plan for their future.

Data management: Companies should collect, consolidate and disseminate mobility data using real-time reporting systems to flag issues and inform future global mobility strategies.

Policy development: Companies should continue to revise and update their internal policies to support mobile workers, providing greater flexibility based on the distinction between core, non-negotiable features and items adapted to local circumstances.

EORs like Deel can enhance your employee experience, providing tailored training, onboarding services, localized employee benefits, and additional features like the ability to withdraw earnings in crypto. EORs can also easily modify worker contracts if an employee wants to relocate or travel for long periods.

2. The future of global mobility relies on integrated talent management

Companies must develop an integrated approach to global talent management to efficiently hire and deploy talent, uphold a duty of care, and track and improve the progress of their mobility programs.

In the past, talent mobility involved a multinational corporation relocating employees or assignees to new locations for international assignments. Today, talent mobility depends on an ever-expanding group of virtual and remote workers and travelers with different mobility needs.

Modern workforces comprise a variety of mobile workers:

  • Third-country workers: A worker hired in a country outside the corporate headquarters and their home country
  • New movers: Employees who want to relocate to a new country of their choosing
  • Digital nomads: Workers that want to take their work with them as they move from country to country
  • International gig workers: Independent contractors, contract firm workers, on-call workers, and temporary workers that want to pick up work and fulfill roles in different countries of their choosing
  • Frequent flyers: Employees that need to complete regular and extended business travel to different countries
  • Commuters: Employees that want to live in the country of their choice and frequently commute to the host country

These workers add significant value to a company’s global mobility, yet few HR teams are capable of tracking and managing such complex movements. This inexperience can present various company challenges from an employee experience, compliance, and cost perspective.

Companies that can coordinate mobile workers across teams and geographies using a single integrated digital ecosystem will have the best chance of supporting a mobile workforce and avoiding compliance issues.

Deel can manage your entire global workforce via one central hub. We take care of employment contracts, visa procurement, compensation plans, global benefits, onboarding, equipment supply, employee support, global payroll, international taxes, and offboarding from the Deel dashboard.

3. The future of global mobility is legally reformed

Companies must stay abreast of the latest legal and regulatory developments to remain compliant and efficient in the future of work.

Modern mobility demands the ability to move people and things to places effortlessly. However, the current mobility process is process-heavy, cost-prohibitive, and complicated with unnecessary bureaucracy and inefficient loops with intermediaries.

Fortunately, global mobility is driving a sea change in today’s legal and regulatory environment. This change is forcing governments to rapidly create, modify, and enforce new regulations that will reform visa processing, work permits, international tax compliance, and much more.

Keeping tabs on these developments at a global level requires continuous education, research, and monitoring of regulatory agency websites.

EORs like Deel comprise teams of legal experts trained to stay up to date on the latest international employment laws and regulations to ensure your global workforce can navigate the global mobility landscape with greater confidence and precision.

Unlock your global potential with Deel

Workplace mobility holds the power to create great international employee experiences and bring you closer to your ideal business outcomes—but it’s a complex process to navigate alone.

Deel can assist you in uniting mobility, talent, and human resources to attract the best workers, provide the right experience, and remain compliant so your business and workforce can thrive in the future of work.

Our in-house legal experts and HR professionals handle everything, from selecting the proper visa and forms to working with local governments. We hire international employees through our EOR solution, can manage global payroll, and handle the visa application process while working directly with lawyers to streamline the process for everyone involved.

Learn how Deel makes global mobility less complex with global mobility services and support for your global workforce.

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