A change of direction – Sustainable Global Mobility, introducing the CHESS Framework. The RES ForumWritten by Mark Ethelston, Head of Mobility, Gallagher

Ask any global mobility professional what trends they have seen in the last five to ten years and you will most likely hear, amongst other things, that they have seen a decrease in Long-Term Accompanied Assignments and an increase in Short Term Assignments. We have also seen the creation of more and more assignment types such as Rotators, Fly-In-Fly-Out, Frequent or Extended Business Travellers and several others.

These assignment types have grown to enable businesses to address some of the issues that we have all come across, such as split families, dual careers, split roles and increasing cost.

This has created a big change in Global Mobility (GM), as we once knew it. For the most part, these developing assignment types have addressed the issues that they were created to address, but they have done nothing to support Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).

However, with government regulations requiring organisations to be more transparent in areas such as diversity, equal pay, modern slavery and carbon emissions, this makes ESG efforts critical to long-term value and growth and has already started to impact GM.

We are hearing from clients that key stakeholders are increasingly making decisions based on ESG credentials. Consumers, investors and those procuring services are choosing brands and partners based on their ethical behaviour and their record on climate change, favouring businesses with robust ESG frameworks.

As unwelcome as the pandemic has been, it has given us insights into how we can achieve a sustainable business. That said, this hasn’t manifested itself as less mobility. Talking to our clients, and others in the industry, it’s clear that many of those who deal with GM are busier than ever. This indicates that the virtual environment, that many of us have become used to, is not the solution.

As businesses move towards net-zero we are being asked to support client’s GM programmes to be more sustainable and to formulate more sustainable GM policies.

In a similar way that companies are tying business leader’s compensation to environmental targets, we have been exploring ways for our clients to incentivise assignees to act and make decisions in a sustainable way.

In addition, we have been helping clients review partners and suppliers to ensure they meet criteria around sustainability.

It will be interesting to see if the traditional, Long-Term Assignments become more popular again as the requirement for overseas assignments grows but the appetite for frequent air travel and hotel stays shrink to meet environmental targets.

It’s certainly an exciting and challenging time but we can be sure that we will see GM trends change again as these targets and initiatives grow.


RES Forum research

This piece is from the RES Forum’s research paper – Sustainable Global Mobility, introducing the CHESS Framework. You can download the paper here.


About Gallagher

As part of Gallagher Multinational Benefits and HR Consulting, our Global Mobility advisory teams are specialists, who can help clients translate intent into practice, by simplifying the complex, fast moving, costly and time-consuming world of Global Mobility. We work with our clients to identify opportunities for implementing the most practical approach for their company when redefining and developing agile strategies.