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The compass and the map: how Global Mobility and Strategic Workforce Planning can help us navigate a boundaryless world

In the ever evolving and increasingly boundaryless world of work1 and global skills scarcity2, CEOs are focussing on creating functions that can recruit talent globally – from inside and outside the organisation3. Two critical areas of HR stand out for their strategic importance in delivering this: Global Mobility and Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP). While they may seem distinct at first glance, professionals in both domains are increasingly discovering valuable overlaps that enrich their understanding and practice. I came face-to-face with SWP professionals during a recent conference on the topic in London. With a decade in the world of Global Mobility under my belt, my drive to attend this conference was a keen interest in exploring the synergies between SWP and Global Mobility and the potential to uncover insights that can drive innovation and efficiency in both fields.

Those of us who have worked in the field, know that Global Mobility encompasses a wide range of activities to facilitate the deployment of personnel in alignment with organisational goals. From expatriate management to compliance with international regulations, Global Mobility professionals play a pivotal role in ensuring the seamless flow of talent across geographic boundaries, physically and virtually. The success of these initiatives hinges not only on logistical proficiency, which has long been our focus, but also on a deep understanding of workforce dynamics and strategic objectives, which may be less familiar to us as Global Mobility professionals.

This is where SWP enters the picture. SWP involves analysing and forecasting an organisation's future talent needs to ensure that it has the right people in the right roles at the right time. By leveraging data analytics, predictive modelling, and scenario planning, SWP enables Business & HR leaders to anticipate changes in skill requirements, identify talent gaps, and devise proactive strategies to address emerging challenges. In essence, SWP provides the strategic framework for Global Talent and Mobility initiatives to work with and deliver organisational objectives.

One area of significant synergy  between Global Mobility and SWP lies in talent segmentation and mobility strategies. By collaborating closely with SWP teams, Global Mobility professionals can gain valuable insights into the evolving skill profiles and talent pipelines within the organisation. This enables them to tailor mobility programs to meet specific talent needs, from developing global leaders to filling critical skill gaps in a diverse and inclusive way.

Moreover, SWP can inform decision-making in Global Mobility by providing data-driven forecasts of future talent demand in different regions and job functions. Armed with this foresight, Global Mobility practitioners can proactively adjust their mobility policies and practices to anticipate emerging trends and capitalise on strategic opportunities. Whether it's expanding into new markets, leveraging emerging technologies, or adapting to changing workforce demographics, SWP serves as a compass guiding Global Mobility strategies towards long-term success.

Furthermore, the intersection of Global Mobility and SWP is particularly relevant in the context of talent retention and career development. SWP helps identify high-potential employees and critical talent segments, enabling Global Mobility professionals to design mobility experiences that not only meet immediate business needs but also align with individuals' long-term career aspirations. By incorporating talent mobility into broader career development frameworks, organisations can enhance employee engagement, foster talent retention, and cultivate a dynamic, globally minded workforce.

In conclusion, my key takeaway from the conference is that the convergence of Global Mobility and Strategic Workforce Planning represents a strategic imperative for organisations seeking to thrive in an increasingly interconnected and dynamic global marketplace. By recognising and harnessing the synergies between these two disciplines, organisations can optimise their global talent management strategies, enhance organisational agility, and gain a competitive edge in the war for talent.

If you are interested in discussing strategic planning for your global workforce, please do get in touch with me here.


  1. Deloitte 2024 Global Human Capital Trends
  2. Future of Jobs Report 2023
  3. Fortune / Deloitte CEO 2023 Fall Survey