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ADP Europe at Work - A Vision On Mobility


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The emergence of an international mobility culture among young graduates is good news for the HR departments of major groups that have to deploy talents worldwide.

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ADP Europe at Work - A Vision On Mobility

  1. 1. A VISION ON #5 MOBILITY JANUARY 2010 The emergence of an international mobility culture among young graduates is good news for the HR departments of major groups that have to deploy talents worldwide. However, experts and practitioners stress the need for corporations to harmonise mobility policies with their managerial style, as it is also the organisation’s values that are shared via its expatriate employees. Franck Bournois, Fabrice Bouchaud, Hubert Krieger, Professor at Panthéon-Assas Schlumberger group’s Research Manager Paris II University and Director HR Director Practice at the European Foundation of the HR school CIFFOP and Transactions The top manager’s "Mobile"… Even in their "Let’s draw inspiration journey of initiation own country! from Erasmus" An ADP publication
  2. 2. EXPERT Frank Bournois The top manager’s journey of initiation Working abroad is a vital stage in any future manager’s career, according to the co-author of "Comités exécutifs" (Executive committees). But it is not enough in itself. HRMs need to view mobility from the geographical, functional and divisional points of view. At the same time, incentive policies must be in line with a company’s principles of governance. Mobility has become a prime objective for career development, mobility needs to be HRMs. But what is the real challenge? promoted in three directions. First, it is good The main aim of large groups is to secure for a future manager to cultivate his talents the talented people they need to manage in several different countries. But to hone his their units and subsidiaries, especially after general management skills, he must also cross a takeover. The challenge comes in sharing the boundaries between sales and marketing the group’s strategic vision, culture and type activities, accounting and finance, functional of governance. Expatriate managers must and operational aspects and so on… Lastly, of course immerse themselves in the culture if he is to take the group’s strategic vision of their adopted country, but this is of little forward one day, he needs to be able to move benefit if at the same time they do not display from one business area to another. HRMs, a real aptitude for general management therefore, need to promote mobility on three and a full understanding of all the different fronts: geographical, functional and divisional. functions within the company… And making sure that each stage of a manager’s career features at least two of these So geographical mobility alone is not the be-all is no easy task. and end-all? It is obviously relevant in the case of an expert Moving abroad can also be quite nerve- who is required to contribute specific expertise wracking. You know when you are leaving but to a subsidiary. But as regards a manager’s not necessarily when you will return… nor under what circumstances… A number of misadventures have made the Frank Bournois is a Professor at Panthéon-Assas Paris II situation look blacker than it really is. Take University and Director of the Centre Interdisciplinaire de for example the case of expatriate managers Formation à la Fonction Personnel (CIFFOP). He lectures at working for joint ventures in which their group a number of prestigious universities (Oxford, Cranfield, Utah, is a minority partner. They in fact change Liverpool) and has been responsible for the creation of several employer and HRIS. Their return home professional degree courses, including the "Master of International becomes something of a hit and miss affair! Human Resources Management". To encourage mobility, the first golden rule is, therefore, to ensure that the dates and Frank Bournois advises the boards of management of several major conditions for an expatriate’s home-coming are groups (L’Oréal, Bouygues, EADS, etc.), in particular in spotting top- clearly defined. This is what Renault did very flight managers. A former auditor of the French National Defence early on. In this way, the expatriate returns Studies Institute, he holds degrees in law and management science, a doctorate in management from the University of Lyon and an MBA home in a stronger position – provided, of from Aston University. course, that he has been successful. 2
  3. 3. MOBILITy To what extent should incentive policies and accompanying measures be tailored to individuals? The important thing is that an incentive policy HRMs need to needs to be in tune with a company’s method promote mobility of governance. In “mechanistic” organisations, where the culture of procedures predominates on three fronts: (as in many Anglo-Saxon groups), job banks play a vital role and annual interviews ensure geographical, that expectations are fed back to HRISs. functional and Everything is done to facilitate the law of supply and demand. Some major companies, such divisional” as EADS, have extremely advanced methods for assessing and measuring mobility. Career paths are analysed from all three standpoints: Franck Bournois, geographical, functional and divisional. is a Professor at Panthéon- Assas Paris II University and In contrast, nothing could be worse than Director of the HR school introducing complicated processes into “organic” CIFFOP. organisations with a culture of networking and informal contacts. At L’Oréal, for example, verbal agreements are more important than People willing to move abroad no doubt have formal procedures. A manager at the head office different expectations depending on their age meets a young German who has been working and position… in a Portuguese subsidiary for four years and Obviously you do not approach a 25-year-old who would be ideal in a team in Britain… volunteering to work abroad in the same way Spontaneously, he talks to people around him, as a 30-year-old manager with two young contact is made and everyone seems to be all for children or a senior manager whose children it… so it is time to contact the HRM. Two months have left home. Just because a young single later, the young talent has moved from Lisbon to agrees to work in India for a few months Brighton… doesn’t mean he is always going to be “mobile”. Two or three years later you may find he has How can you measure the dividends from become a real stay-at-home! At the very best, someone working abroad? he may agree to move if his wife comes with The company can measure them in the very him and can also find a good job. short term, by capitalising as quickly as possible It is also essential to distinguish between on the experience gained by the expatriate. As those managers who have a real pioneering soon as he returns, he should be offered new mentality, ready to go anywhere in the world responsibilities or move on to the next stage in to plant the company’s flag1 and those who his career. Indeed, if it is to be profitable, the will only accept to go to well-established company’s mobility policy must go hand in hand 1 third-country subsidiaries in selected countries2. HRISs with a real commitment to ensuring staff loyalty. nationals provide invaluable service in helping to On the strength of their experience abroad, 2 host-country identify the right career paths and spot the one today’s managers are quite capable of devising a managers in a million… fourth form of mobility: changing employer! Frank Bournois has authored or co-authored numerous works, including: L’intelligence sportive au service du manager (What managers can learn from athletic intelligence) (2009). Le grand livre du coaching (The coaching manual), Paris, Éditions Eyrolles (2008) Comités exécutifs – voyage au cœur de la dirigeance, (Executive committees – journey to the heart of executive governance) Paris, Éditions Eyrolles (2007) 3
  4. 4. PRACTICES Schlumberger engineers "Mobile"… A Even in their own countr t the forefront of Schlumberger’s 77,000-strong workforce is a group of 9,000-10,000 engineers. These senior technical employees provide top-level expertise to the oil industry at exploration At oil sites throughout the world, Schlum and production sites around the world. From Turkmenistan to the coasts of Angola via is banking on the "world class" of its eng the Indonesian jungle, they clearly bear the Neither locals nor expatriates, these Schlumberger hallmark. qualified engineers never lose their mobile 4,000 foreign postings a year even in their own country. When an American supermajor is looking for a well manager, it prefers an American. A national oil company, on the other hand, will prefer to work with people from its own country. “Our clients want people who are like them” says Fabrice Bouchaud, the Schlumberger group’s HR Director Practice and Transactions. Those who lea However they are uncompromising when know we are it comes to expertise, of course. All these engineers, wherever they are working, must good care of t be familiar with the same leading-edge technologies and the same quality standards as those used in the North Sea or in the Gulf of Mexico. Mobility is the key to getting the right blend of expert skills and local knowledge. To nurture such talent, Schlumberger has Fabrice Bouchaud, introduced a specific international programme Schlumberger group’s geared to mobility and a special status, HR Director Practice that of “International mobile,” enabling and Transactions. 4,000 engineers to change country each year. “Mobility and diversity are core values know-how. “The programme is highly of our business model, and at this level of structured, and their skills are constantly performance, they also give us a competitive monitored,” stresses the HR Director. edge” adds Fabrice Bouchaud. But for all of this, mobility is not an obstacle International locals to building close working relationships with Engineers develop an international mindset clients. After his initial training in various right from the time they enter Schlumberger. parts of the world, a Schlumberger engineer They begin by spending three months in one from Brazil may be offered his first job as an of the group’s eight training centres in France, Account Manager in his own country. Once the United States, the United Arab Emirates or he has gained a thorough grounding, he will even Siberia. They are then assigned to their be assigned to one of the same company’s first jobs in at least two different locations. sites abroad, only to come back later in a Further courses over a period of 36 to 40 more senior position. “The ultimate aim of months help them to build on their technical our policy is to develop this kind of profile, 4
  5. 5. MOBILITy ry! mberger gineers. which combines international experience and understanding of our clients’ specific cultures,” An HRIS designed accordingly The HRIS must be able to cope with this highly explains Fabrice Bouchaud. model. A local HR manager wishing to fill e status, Resident status a post has access to all the information he needs on employees who are available, have The status of “International mobile” is at the the right skills, and whose career aspirations heart of the concept. It allows Schlumberger match the job. He can suggest three profiles to do away with the notion of expatriation. to the manager concerned. Once the choice Mobility becomes second nature to its is made, all he has to do is get in contact engineers. Whether they are working in their with the candidate’s current manager, who home country or abroad, they are considered to should be easy to persuade as he will already be “resident”, which strengthens their relations have benefited from the same mobility model with clients. There is no possible confusion with himself. Schlumberger stresses personal ave the “commuters”, those technicians dispatched development whenever such transfer decisions taking on operational assignments at offshore sites or are made. “If several candidates have the in remote parts of the world. At Schlumberger same qualifications, the job will go to the one them” such technicians are, almost without exception, who will benefit the most by it,” affirms the the only ones to make regular round trips HR Director. “Unlike others, we have a policy between their home country and the country to with no commitment to come back. But those which they are assigned. who leave know we are taking good care of them.” When “International mobile” engineers reside outside their home countries, they benefit from a comprehensive package paid in dollars. It is SCHLUMBERGER the same for everyone, with a coefficient being Schlumberger is the leading oilfield services applied depending on local living conditions. provider to oil and gas companies around the world. This makes it much easier to manage mobility Through its well site operations and in its research between one country and another. “When we and engineering facilities, the company develops suggest transferring someone to Venezuela, he products, services and solutions to optimise customer doesn’t have to worry about what will happen performance in a safe and environmentally sound to his future retirement benefits or health manner. Fields of activities include drilling, well coverage.” testing, production optimisation, subsea solutions... Schlumberger operates in 80 different countries “International mobile” engineers working and employs 77,000 employees of 140 nationalities. in their home countries enjoy specific pay The company’s operating revenues amounted to conditions and benefits, midway between those $27.16 billion in FY08. In 2008, Schlumberger for local employment and expatriation. “This invested $818 million in R&D. package is designed to make sure they are willing to return home without losing out too much, but also to make sure they are willing to go abroad again,” points out Fabrice Bouchaud. Coming home simply paves the way for leaving again. 5
  6. 6. EXPERT Hubert Krieger "Let’s draw inspiration from Erasmus" No more than 0.5% of working-age Europeans move to a different country in any given year. However, the research manager of Eurofound notes the emergence of a mobility culture among young people thanks to foreign study programmes such as Erasmus. Why not make schemes of this type available throughout our working lives? Why is the European Union (EU) keen to promote States who move to a different state. But cross-border professional mobility? the perception that “Americans are movers, Firstly, remember that the right to live and Europeans are stayers” can be misleading. work in another member state lies at the heart Reality is more complex: a European who of the European ideal. Looking beyond this moves from Helsinki to Barcelona has to adapt institutional aspect, worker mobility must help to a different language, culture, labour market, promote a better match between labour supply social security system, etc. An American who and demand on local markets. And lastly, it moves from Los Angeles to New York stays boosts competitivity in a rapidly changing in the same country with the same language globalised world where a high degree of and the same labour legislation – a far simpler flexibility is a must. proposition. Are Europeans sufficiently mobile, from this According to your studies, what are the main point of view? barriers to mobility within the EU? Not particularly, if you compare them with US The primary factor that puts Europeans off citizens. Four percent of Europeans have lived moving abroad is the fear of leaving family in another EU country at some point, whereas and friends. Next comes the fear of losing the 32% of Americans live outside their home state. practical support of their social ties, learning a In terms of flows, 0.5% of the EU working-age foreign language, and coping with the housing population moves to another member country conditions and healthcare system. Indeed, most each year, compared with 1.9% in the United companies compensate for these aspects via their expat packages. But the fact remains that Europe still lacks a real mobility culture. Dr. Hubert Krieger is Research Manager in the "Living Conditions and Quality of Life" unit of the European What prompts the people who do consider Foundation, based in Dublin, Ireland. He focuses more moving abroad? specifically on quality of life and migration in the EU. His role is The top three driving forces that they cite notably to provide information, expertise and advice to EU policy include discovering somewhere new, earning makers and governments. more money and enjoying better working Dr. Krieger previously worked for seven years as a policy adviser conditions. Better weather and meeting new in Bonn for national and regional governments. He holds a people are also popular reasons. These are Master’s in economics and sociology from the University of factors that companies should consider when Cologne, a PhD in labour market economics from the European looking to set up in a new place. To attract University Institute in Florence, and a Master’s in social policy applicants from a wide range of geographical from University College Dublin. areas, they should choose locations with pleasant living conditions, and where it will 6
  7. 7. MOBILITy Youngsters develop the mobility culture for part of their studies, youngsters develop the that is so lacking mobility culture that is so lacking in their elders, and hence shed any fear of moving abroad before in their elders” they even start their professional career. Erasmus is the best thing that Europe has done to promote mobility. Plus the single currency, of course... Hubert Krieger, Research Manager at the European Can Europe really do more? Foundation. Be careful there! Doing “more” is not an end in itself. The long-term side-effects of mobility need to be examined. For instance, policies not be a problem to find accommodation. that encourage mass migration in new EU They should give preference to multicultural, members can result in a brain drain or a youth cosmopolitan cities where expats will quickly drain, thereby leading to an irreversible social settle or even feel at home. imbalance. If an entire younger generation were to leave a country, who would be left to look after Is there a typical profile for the mobile European? their parents after they retire? So the important Without a doubt, young people are the most thing is to do better, with targeted mobility. mobile with 4.7% of 25 to 39-year-olds having already lived in another EU country. The figure So what do you recommend? drops to 4.3% for people in the 40-54 age Both institutions and companies can draw bracket and 3.9% for those the over 55. Another inspiration from Erasmus. Why not expand key factor is the level of education. People with this kind of exchange programme to continuing degrees are twice as likely to move abroad as vocational training? It would also be pertinent those with intermediate or low skill levels. And to develop an EU-wide jobs market, by forging that is true regardless of the country. One might closer links between employment agencies in each think that the new EU member states would lose country. How can you be mobile if you don’t know mainly low-skilled workers, and yet studies show what jobs are on offer elsewhere? Companies that it’s their graduates who are most likely to of any size have their part to play by taking leave. foreigners on work experience placements, for instance. How do you explain this mobility among young people? Europe is reaping the benefits of its international exchange programme, Erasmus. By going abroad As part of his work, Dr Krieger has contributed to a wide variety of publications: Geographical mobility in Europe and its relevance for the social partners, Eurofound conference (2008). Labour mobility in a transatlantic perspective, Eurofound conference report (2007) . "Handbook on quality of life in the enlarged European Union", chapter 15 on Migration and mobility culture, Routledge publications. 7
  8. 8. In the same collection, read also: A vision on Temporary Work A vision on Working Time A vision on Costs and Productivity © ADP Employer Services International - January 2010 A vision on Education Other publication: ADP Europe at work Atlas To receive our publications, please contact: ® Borderless Human Resources