Creating Policies To Manage Talent Mobility

The following is a guest piece by Brynne Kennedy.

In 2013, I was sitting at a client discussing how to transform their policies for increasing talent mobility. The company has a large amount of employee mobility, driven by a headquarter in a second-tier city, and a corporate culture that values diversity, customer experience and employee career empowerment.

Additionally, the company was growing quickly. Employees moved to start new jobs at the HQ, open offices in new locations and provide maternity cover, among other reasons. We were looking at how to govern all of this employee movement – that is how to create a framework that simultaneously enabled it and managed the company’s costs and compliance, while supporting families with a great relocation experience.

Our client was steps ahead of many other companies at the time. They had already centralized their budget for geographic movement (global mobility) and started to think about an expanded talent mobility definition and alignment with the broader talent and business strategy.

But they were struggling to make it all happen, and that’s what we were discussing – specifically how to innovate in policies and frameworks. I have had the ‘policy redesign conversation’ with countless companies around the world since then. It generally starts with looking at how to transform traditional corporate relocation from a back-office, reactive part of HR to a core part of talent development strategy.

It almost always touches on selection (how to select the right employees for the right opportunities), tracking success (how to ensure goals are clearly met before an employee moves on to another opportunity), compliance (how to support increasingly frequent mobility in line with current tax, immigration and geopolitical frameworks) and cost (how manage budgets and approvals).

In more recent years as the Talent Mobility Revolution has taken off, the conversations have almost always moved on to then discuss the policies for job, location and employment movement, and how to bring this all together under one talent mobility definition and leader.

Companies today know that their talent mobility is rapidly expanding – both in volume and breadth – and that their policies must evolve to enable and manage it. The Chief Talent Mobility Officer should own and design these policies as a part of the transformation, but they must be adopted as a core part of overall business operations and strategy.

In our expanded definition of talent mobility, enabling employee movement – across geographies, jobs, locations and employment – is the foundation of an F3 (Flat, Fluid, & Fast) Company. But supporting continuous movement of workers inside and outside of a company can be easier said than done. Your policies are the framework to make this happen.

Any company or business leader that wants to make talent mobility work must reinvent their policies for the talent mobility era. Those that do will reap the rewards in employee engagement, innovation and growth. Those that do not, will lose out to their more forward-thinking competitors.

This piece was excerpted from Brynne Kennedy’s new book “Flat, Fluid, and Fast.

Brynne Kennedy is the founder of Topia, a relocation and talent mobility company used by customers worldwide. While CEO, she grew the company to global operations, raised more than $100 million and helped tens of thousands of families transition to new jobs and communities. Brynne also started Mobility4All, a charitable initiative that supported refugees and worked with TechNet to advise lawmakers on policies for economic growth and entrepreneurship.


Tanveer Naseer is an award-winning and internationally-acclaimed leadership writer and keynote speaker. He is also the Principal and Founder of Tanveer Naseer Leadership, a leadership coaching firm that works with executives and managers to help them develop practical leadership and team-building competencies to guide organizational growth and development. Tanveer’s writings and insights on leadership and workplace interactions have been featured in a number of prominent media and organization publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, Inc Magazine, Canada’s national newspaper “The Globe and Mail”, The Economist Executive Education Navigator, and the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center.

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