Written by a Global Mobility leader in the technology sector
Global mobility policies and procedures already form a melting pot of organization wide strategy and polices in the delivery of assignment programs. So it follows that the inclusion of ESG in our thinking and actions is a natural evolution of how we work.
Some of the ESG agenda simply codifies areas we have already been working on. I also see the changing global mobility expectations in our employee base, alongside those same employees’ expectations around environmental areas, create an additional dynamic that requires careful thought to avoid tension between competing objectives and aspirations.
For example, the Social Sustainability aspect (using the CHESS Framework terminology) is already at the forefront of policy creation and assignment support in terms of duty of care, health and safety, and the general well-being of assignees and their dependants. Plus, increased awareness in the C-suite on the social responsibility aspect may create new opportunities. Specifically, revisiting policy positions, where the company should be providing more support than previously possible, when it was viewed purely from a cost perspective.
When we turn to HR / Corporate Sustainability and Environmental Sustainability we can see immediate tension between the growing aspirations around “work from anywhere” work patterns and the increased environmental footprint from travel arising from these work patterns.
It would be perverse to limit or end home leave trips for assignees, which are widely recognized as important for wellbeing and supporting successful repatriation, due to environmental concerns whilst at the same time enabling temporary international remote working or nomadic work arrangements for another set of employees.
Additionally, there are increasing concerns about the impact on real estate markets / housing availability for local communities caused by housing being withdrawn from the long-term housing market in favour of short term lets used by nomadic workers.
Returning to the broader range of subjects set out in the CHESS Framework, as we see a greater awareness and interest in recognizing that ESG is about more than the environment and climate, this paper sets out sets out a clear and succinct roadmap for global mobility teams get started or further develop their approach in this area.
From networking groups, I have heard of opportunistic cuts to policy items citing environmental concerns, so viewing the approach in the round will help push back against inappropriate changes that are more about cost-cutting.
As I have commented above, there will inevitably be tensions between the competing priorities within the overall strategy, so this is an excellent opportunity for global mobility to lead the thinking on what to prioritize and how to mitigate the impact on assignee well-being and the overall EVP whilst helping their organization deliver on its wider strategy and remain consistent with its values.
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.