2015 Trends & Insights

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1 Asia Pacific Mobility The Asia Pacific Mobility Brookfield Global Relocation Services Trends & Insights report is reflective of the global economy which is strongly tied with the economic realities of the Asia Pacific region. Pan-regional growth in Asia Pacific has resulted in stronger economies and a middle class with enhanced spending powers and it continues to attract, retain, and grow multinational companies. For 2015, Asia Pacific should experience robust growth throughout the coming year with GDP forecasted at 5.5%, according to the International Monetary Fund s (IMF) most recent economic outlook for the region. Although this growth has been a bright spot against some of the weaker or less robust economies in other regions of the world, it has created unique talent challenges in the region. Asia Pacific has seen salaries continue to rise and shortage of talent continue to exists at every level in many companies, from entry level to the most senior level positions. Companies who manage talent on a regional and global basis understand that navigating the challenges brought forth by the regional business climate is best addressed by developing and employing appropriate mobility strategies. Over the past several years, as more companies have developed and implemented or modified their policies and programs, Brookfield has seen practices emerge and then become commonplace as companies continue to learn from each other and implement strategies that prove successful. We continue to identify mobility trends that companies are likely to see as a result of the particular Asia Pacific landscape. Some of these are new trends we are currently seeing, some are ones that are a subset of the wider global mobility landscape, and some are ones that we anticipate will emerge stronger in the future. The trends and insights presented below by Brookfield represent a summary of mobility trends and economic direction which we believe will impact mobility strategies during Each trend or insight is structured to include responses that mobility leaders may consider as they strategize their activities to facilitate mobility, to mitigate its cost, ensure compliance and align with the wider talent and business objectives of their companies. We discuss below what we see as some important trends, insights and emerging practices in Inside: Talent Management Comes to the Forefont in the Region The Sustained Push to Manage Mobility Spend Increased Use of Alternative Regional Hiring Strategies Business Need Drives Continued Need for Diverse and Flexible Policies The Rising Importance of Big Data and Predictive Analytics for Mobility BROOKFIELD GLOBAL RELOCATION SERVICES 2015 TRENDS & INSIGHTS ASIA PACIFIC MOBILITY BROOKFIELDGRS.COM 1

2 Talent Management Comes to the Forefont in the Region The unique architecture of the talent landscape in Asia Pacific is marked by an increasing demand for skilled employees coupled with parallel scarce supply of strong talent to fulfill those needs. Rapid growth in certain countries has made finding talented workers a top priority for companies and has also increased the need to import, at least temporarily, talent in certain markets. These realities have pushed global mobility in the region firmly into the talent management arena. Talent management for mobility consists of aligning mobility practices with candidate selection, career management and development activities, all of which are designed ultimately to increase assignment return on investment. Assignments often fail because the assignee (and/or their family members) may not possess the necessary cultural skills and global leadership skills or aptitude to be successful. Retention of international assignees following repatriation is also a major mobility challenge. And in order to address the talent shortage long term, future leaders in Asia Pacific will need to possess core leadership skills as well as a global mindset for success. Key Ideas Investing in proven candidate assessment and selection programs Building out developmental programs, especially those that include global assignment opportunities for high potential employees Ensuring their mobility programs are structured to support strong career management for assignees As the talent landscape continues to evolve, companies operating in Asia Pacific are seeking to align mobility with talent management in order to maximize positive outcomes. Mobility leaders will need to make the case for short term investment in order to realize long term gains. Selection and assessment of potential candidates is key, especially among Asian cultures which are highly diverse which means that the adoption of these practices is critical. In addition, ensuring that assignments are wellplanned and are designed as the building blocks to support a well articulated career path is essential. Finally, mobility will need to champion developmental programs that foster young talent and provide them the global skills needed for future leadership success in Asia Pacific and beyond. BROOKFIELD GLOBAL RELOCATION SERVICES 2015 TRENDS & INSIGHTS ASIA PACIFIC MOBILITY BROOKFIELDGRS.COM 2

3 The Sustained Push to Manage Mobility Spend The continued and ever-present drive to manage cost is a top priority for companies globally; and for those operating within Asia Pacific, the reality is no different. Companies continue to expect the smart management of costs as standard operating procedure and mobility leaders must manage to and meet those expectations. Asia Pacific in particular has seen a rise in capped benefits and an increase in the utilization of cash-in-lieu of benefits, with both strategies being employed increasingly as way to manage cost. Increasing the use of permanent transfer and localization are other policy driven strategies that are on the rise in the region. Companies May Consider Reviewing mobility policies routinely to ensure that benefits are aligned to meet both cost and business objectives Capping specific benefits and/or capping moves overall to manage cost Refining policy types and/or considering additional segmentation and implementation of targeted policy guidelines to ensure the most cost effective policies are being used by companies to relocate employees Creatively using policy design both to help manage cost and to create flexibility without losing control of critical compliance The pressure to manage spend has not lessened for mobility. However, there is now recognition at some levels that this cost argument has a significant counterweight. Management of mobility spend must be done in a way so as to not hamper the acquisition of talent or longer term goals of program sustainability. In other words, it must be done in a targeted, creative and, above all, strategic manner, and mobility leaders are best able to articulate how that might best be achieved. Ensuring the appropriate reporting is in place to enable proactive oversight and management of all mobility spend BROOKFIELD GLOBAL RELOCATION SERVICES 2015 TRENDS & INSIGHTS ASIA PACIFIC MOBILITY BROOKFIELDGRS.COM 3

4 Increased Use of Alternative Regional Hiring Strategies For Brazilian companies, most aspects of their mobility program are managed in-house within their company and services are then outsourced to a service provider. According to Global Line s 2014 Brasil Survey, almost half of Brazilian companies (46%) do not have a team dedicated to international mobility for moves into and out of Brazil, whereas in foreign companies only about 12% of respondents have no dedicated team. We see a trend with Brazilian companies to outsource more administration while keeping strategic planning and oversight in-house. As companies continue to mature their mobility program, they will turn to external expert advice for guidance in making their global mobility function more robust and professional. Partly in response to cost considerations as well as to the region s unique talent challenges, companies operating in Asia Pacific continue to seek diverse ways to move talent into and across the region. Two key strategies that are on the rise are the increased use of permanent transfers as an alternative to international assignments and a greater reliance on hiring foreign nationals who are already present in the region. The use of these strategies approaches the cost and talent questions from different angles. First, engaging permanent transfers instead of the more traditional assignment type is clearly a cost strategy. Many of the traditional assignment benefits and allowances are typically not provided for employees moving as a permanent transfer or are provided on a more limited basis or for a shorter period of time. In addition, it also allows companies to deal with employee requests for a transfer in a more economical way. Relying on greater hiring of foreign nationals also addresses talent and cost needs but in a slightly different manner. Importing talent that does not exist at the national level is still necessary at many job levels in the region yet engaging that talent is something companies need to address in a strategic manner. Often companies do not have formal policies in place to address the diverse needs of locally hired foreign nationals. Larger companies that hire foreign nationals locally may provide them with additional benefits for a limited amount of time, but even so, many bypass most if not all of the benefits traditionally afforded to expatriate assignments. In fact, companies commonly provide them with the same benefits as local nationals. For those that provide some form of additional assistance to foreign nationals, the benefits are typically centered on housing and children s education and are almost always phased out. It is worth noting however that some companies add some form of international medical assistance to offset some of the challenges foreign nationals may experience in some of the emerging markets. Companies may consider Engaging in a wide range of recruitment strategies designed to both meet any skills gaps in local markets and make the best use of mobility spend to support those hired Ensuring the existing mobility policy framework can accommodate an increased use of alternative assignment types for Asia Pacific Reviewing the policies that are currently in place for permanent transfers to ensure they are competitively designed to meet both company and employee objectives Mobility s role in addressing Asia Pacific s talent shortage is important and having a clear understanding of how to effectively support alternative hiring solutions is critical. Ensuring that mobility policies are up to the challenge of best supporting these alternatives to traditional expatriate assignments will need to be a focus going forward. If not already in place, mobility should ensure that they have a Permanent Transfer policy that is designed specifically to meet employee requested moves. With Millennials focused on gaining international life and work experiences, especially in Asia Pacific, companies have also found this a creative way to engage and develop talent in a more cost sensitive manner. In addition, mobility may look to develop a policy for locally hired foreign nationals, ensuring it is region specific and designed with the right mix of additional benefits to attract the right talent to Asia Pacific. BROOKFIELD GLOBAL RELOCATION SERVICES 2015 TRENDS & INSIGHTS ASIA PACIFIC MOBILITY BROOKFIELDGRS.COM 4

5 Business Need Drives Continued Need for Diverse and Flexible Policies Continuing pressure to reduce costs has made having diverse and flexible policies a must for mobility, and this is increasingly seen as critical for companies operating in Asia Pacific as well. As much as the drive for increased compliance and global oversight is driving the globalization of policies and the centralization of decision making, there is an equally significant parallel need for flexibility in those very same policies. Companies approach these seemingly contradictory drivers in a variety of ways. One approach is to develop additional mobility policies that are highly targeted. Mobility policies designed for specific employee types or assignment and transfer objectives, or even policies for individual business units, allow flexibility into the mobility program. For example, instead of every employee going on assignment for a set amount of time, all receiving exactly the same types of assistance, the packages offered can be more tailored. Another flexible policy approach is to develop a set of core provisions which are mandatory and must be adhered to across the board which can be combined with flexible options for additional support. These policy types, coupled with the right amount of guidelines to support the intended utilization, afford flexibility to hiring managers to control cost while balancing that flexibility against a core set of mandated provisions, usually related to compliance or duty of care. Ideally they also offer opportunities to employees to obtain the support that is most necessary for their particular circumstances and presumably then the most valuable. Companies May Consider Reviewing mobility policies routinely to ensure that benefits are aligned to meet both cost and business objectives and allowing controlled flexibility where feasible on certain benefits Developing additional policies and/or revamping existing policies to adopt a core/flex policy approach to increase program flexibility Maintaining clear and objective guidelines to accompany any areas of enhanced program flexibility to ensure they are not open to differing interpretation or varying implementation across locations Whether the drive to manage costs is coming from senior management, industry specific challenges, or individual business segments within a company, the demand for flexible policies is on the rise, in Asia Pacific. If mobility is looking to enhance their program in order to strategically increase flexibility overall, a careful and detailed review will need to take place. Any resulting policy changes in this arena will need to be carefully communicated and mobility would do well to spend extra time educating and communicating to business leaders as to the strategic objectives of the changes. In addition to education and communication, mobility leaders can consider developing and tracking measures for success. These will go a long way not only to ensure the policies are used in the way they were intended but also can help position mobility as a more strategic business partner with its internal stakeholders. BROOKFIELD GLOBAL RELOCATION SERVICES 2015 TRENDS & INSIGHTS ASIA PACIFIC MOBILITY BROOKFIELDGRS.COM 5

6 The Rising Importance of Big Data and Predictive Analytics for Mobility The rise in the importance of data driven and predictive analytics is a wider trend that is appearing throughout Asia Pacific. Mobility leaders have long recognized that strong data is necessary to support good decision making and better program management; however, today s mobility leaders are turning to data routinely as a way to add value to the business. For example, analyzing diverse cross sections of data provides mobility leaders with information that can be used to identify areas of cost savings but it can also afford ways to optimize policies, improve processes, and even evaluate and report out on their own performance metrics. Although companies may face challenges capturing and knitting together disparate systems of data, seeking out diverse ways to leverage existing and developing new reporting tools is becoming an increasingly important part of the mobility landscape. Due to the importance of the region for many companies and the diverse set of countries they represent, mobility leaders in Asia Pacific in particular can have unique input in this arena. Moving beyond the anecdotal and the reportable to discerning patterns and underlying stories, mobility leaders can leverage data in key areas such as cost, demographics and talent to increase transparency and continue to add value to the company s overall business objectives. Things to Consider Leveraging a wider and more diverse range of sources, including those available from suppliers, as a way to enhance the minable data sources available to help with decision making and better program management Ensuring that flexible reporting capabilities are a foundational part of the procurement process when sourcing mobility services Using program reporting and spend analysis to identify potential areas of cost savings and also to ensure that any policy amendments to support potential savings are determined holistically as part of a wider cost benefit analysis Determining the availability and accessibility to data points traditionally beyond mobility s control in order to better incorporate or further enhance mobility s imprint on the wider organizational talent management agenda BROOKFIELD GLOBAL RELOCATION SERVICES 2015 TRENDS & INSIGHTS ASIA PACIFIC MOBILITY BROOKFIELDGRS.COM 6

7 Concluding Thoughts As business continues to grow in the region, the volume of mobility into and within Asia Pacific remains strong. Mobility programs in Asia Pacific also continue to evolve in tandem, sometimes in response to more global trends and at other times in response to the unique characteristics of the regional climate. As this happens, mobility leadership will be expected to drive more innovation to support business and talent objectives and this will require a close cooperation and alignment with both the business itself and with the talent function. The trends and insights presented explore many of the current realities for mobility leaders in Asia Pacific and have an important role in mobility program management. Mobility leaders should consider the trends presented but should do so always with an eye toward understanding the fit with their company s culture and recognition that the best approach for their particular case could be divergent from the trend or common practice. Brookfield Global Relocation Services develops and implements comprehensive talent mobility solutions for corporate and government clients worldwide. With deep industry experience and unparalleled insights on the future of talent mobility, we enable our clients to craft mobility programs that will empower them attract, retain and develop top performers. PLEASE SEND FEEDBACK OR QUESTIONS TO BROOKFIELD GLOBAL RELOCATION SERVICES 2015 TRENDS & INSIGHTS ASIA PACIFIC MOBILITY BROOKFIELDGRS.COM 7

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