The first few months of 2023 have seen a myriad of issues impacting the global economy. While businesses adapt to these events, they must also evaluate how they impact their employees, particularly those working abroad.
What Are the Global Mobility Trends Shaping 2023?
A recent poll of global CEOs shows that geopolitical events are among their top concerns for 2023, namely Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The instability in eastern Europe has had a ripple affect across both the region and globe. International businesses’ investments in the region have plummeted. Trade disruptions also have been pronounced, as Ukraine and Russia are major exporters of manufacturing equipment. Ukraine’s inability to make these materials, and the sanctions imposed on Russia, have limited the supply of these items, hindering an already stressed global supply chain.
Global Housing Shortage
As of November 15, 2022, there are more than 8 billion people alive on the planet. The cost of housing has steadily risen for the past decade. The headlines seen throughout the United States are reflective of what’s happening in nearly every other country. In fact, the United States saw the ninth-highest annual home price increase, according to IMF data. Turkey, Australia and New Zealand had the sharpest increases.
A large part of what’s driving up home prices is the lack of available housing. Residential construction traditionally has struggled to keep up with global population growth. The COVID-19 pandemic compounded this issue. New home construction fell 40% and 30% in the United Kingdom and United States, respectively, in April 2020.
The same survey noted that CEOs also expect inflation and recession concerns to impact the global economy this year. While the most recent IMF global outlook saw marked improvement as inflation eases, this worry is by no means over. As IMF Chief Economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas states, “The fight against inflation is starting to pay off, but central banks must continue their effort.”
Although the inflation rate is slowing on paper, costs of everyday items and necessities remain high, impacting the buying power of people everywhere. Additionally, these price increases, coupled with stymied wages for many workers, have pushed numerous households below the poverty line for their first time. Many of the solutions to curb inflation and provide relief to those most affected by it will need to come in the form of policies and safety net programs – something many developing countries may not be able to provide without international aid.
How These Factors Impact Duty of Care
People everywhere are experiencing these stressors. However, those working abroad may be uniquely affected. International assignments carry significant career advancement opportunities, but they aren’t without their challenges, which only heightens organizations’ duty of care for these employees.
Duty of care plans will vary depending on an organization’s needs and employee base. For those relocating employees abroad, there always have been additional considerations such as cultural training and immigration assistance to ensure an employee’s assimilation is as smooth as possible.
The events going on throughout the world must be accounted for when evaluating duty of care efforts and employee care services. Here are some ways you can provide support:
Root your duty of care in agility
So many of the events from the past few years have been defined by their suddenness and fluidity. Certainly, risk assessments should be conducted to identify and prepare for the most plausible threats facing your employees, but your organization’s duty of care must be adaptable to risks that aren’t as predictable.
What does an agile duty of care program look like? The specifics will look different for each organization, but the foundational elements should prioritize responsive communication channels to all your employees, resources that can be immediately deployed and real-time monitoring for emerging threats to your staff and operations.
Invest in employee mental health resources
According to the World Health Organization, mental health disorders are on the rise in every country, across virtually every demographic. These issues often can be accentuated during the relocation process when employees are faced with leaving friends and family and moving to a new city – or country – where little may be familiar.
Nearly 60% of employees reported experiencing work-related stress in a 2021 survey. How organizations approach and respond to employee mental health is something workers are valuing. More than 80% of workers say that an organization’s efforts to support employee mental health is an important consideration when evaluating a new position. Your duty of care plans must heavily account for employees’ mental health, particularly those working abroad. This includes having resources that are easily accessible for those in other countries with different languages and cultures.
Pull in additional resources and experts to help navigate new normal and unknowns
The challenge facing many HR and relocation professionals isn’t knowing what to do, it’s finding the time to do it. However, this distinction matters little to your employees should they feel neglected at any point. This is where having trusted partners to augment your team’s bandwidth and expertise can be immensely helpful. The right ones can assist with any of the points mentioned above, allowing you to focus on your core responsibilities.
They also should be able to review your duty of care policies – and relocation strategy as a whole – and align it with your organization’s overarching objectives. This could entail demonstrating a clear ROI for your relocation efforts, improving the productivity of your staff or decreasing employee turnover, among other goals often championed by leadership.
Hilldrup Specializes in Global Mobility and Duty of Care
When done right, global mobility allows workers and companies to grow across the globe. These ventures carry many variables that must be tracked and accounted for in order to ensure a successful assignment and the safety and well-being of those employees working abroad. Hilldrup specializes in global mobility programs that reflect the unique needs of employees and support their employer’s duty of care burden. Contact us today!