"...Earn that seat at the table by understanding your industry..."

Jennifer Manis of Halliburton talks to us ahead of the FEM Americas Global Mobility Summit.

FEM is delighted to confirm that Jennifer Manis, Manager, International HR Centre of Excellence at Halliburton will be joining us for a panel discussion on 'Trade, tariffs, and the world beyond the border – how can global mobility help to steer business on a steady course?', at the FEM Americas Global Mobility Summit 2018 on May 23-24 at the Loews Coronado Bay ResortSan DiegoCA

"You can’t know everything about every country and every citizenship-to-host combination. But you can learn the issues, you can get advice from experts."

Rosie Perkins, FEM's Marketing Manager spoke to Jennifer ahead of the Summit...

FEM: How long have you been involved in the Global Mobility sector?  

JM: For the past 7 years

FEM: What changes have you seen in that time?  

JM: Being in the oil and gas industry, I entered Mobility in the “boom” time when we couldn’t deploy enough international assignees fast enough for the growing business needs. I remember one month the US team alone moved over 1,000 people onto new international assignments!  Yet these last 3-4 years have been quite the opposite, when the Mobility and International HR teams are called upon to help localize or repatriate staff (still securing adequate retention), adjust tax structures and international assignment pay packages, and many other cost containment measures.  I am hoping to spend the next couple of years somewhere comfortably in the middle of these 2 extreme places!

FEM: What tip would you give to someone new to the industry?  

JM: Learn as much as you can. We often think we don’t have time to learn because there are so many emails to answer and transactions to execute. Yet, learning the industry is what will ultimately make you valuable to your company. One of the most common complaints you will hear from Global Mobility professionals is that GM doesn’t have a “seat at the table” with leadership. You have to earn that seat at the table by understanding your industry, how it factors into the big picture needs and goals of the business, and how you and your teams can help champion strategies that will deliver value.  This takes some education beyond your own inbox!  Read, attend trainings and industry conferences, read more. Learn as much as you can!

FEM: What do you think are the 3 greatest challenges facing Global Mobility professionals today?  

JM: Today we exist in a politically challenging environment. All the best efforts can be undermined by a new immigration regulation or a new nationalization requirement that seemingly comes out of nowhere. This environment is our biggest challenge.  I think the next great challenges are 1) how to successfully adjust your programs to a more modern, technologically savvy population of candidates (you don’t want to be seen as running a ‘dinosaur’ program, particularly since the changes coming will create cost savings opportunities), and 2) acknowledging and addressing the duty of care that comes with the risk associated with sponsoring people to work outside of their country of origin – particularly in higher risk areas. We simply can’t let the fact that it is easier to get to another country and our employees are less fearful of working in another country lead us to forget there are still valid risks. Each company has the responsibility to mitigate these risks to the fullest extent possible.

FEM: Why do you think your panel debate on ‘Trade, tariffs, and the world beyond the border – how can global mobility help to steer business on a steady course?’ is such a challenge for Global Mobility and why is it important that the audience understand more about the debate?  

JM: The international mobility of talent – an important global commodity – can’t be ignored when we talk about this new environment of trade uncertainty. The current, constantly changing regulations in the immigration, tax/tariff and travel spaces can quickly keep any organization from being able to swiftly deploy needed talent to their or their customers’ global locations.  This is a huge problem for businesses and one that comes directly down on the head of the Global Mobility organization when the complaints roll in!  It is dependent on the Global Mobility and International HR professionals to educate, warn and redirect stakeholders to strategies that work when government regulations, fees and restrictions make traditional methods of moving talent globally no longer effective.

FEM: What is the one message you hope delegates take away from your session?  

JM: You can’t know everything about every country and every citizenship-to-host combination. But you can learn the issues, you can get advice from experts, and you can give your stakeholders the information they need to make business plans – even if that information is as simple as the fact that a certain country is so volatile that no one can know what to expect!

FEM: Why do you think it’s important for global mobility professionals to come together at the FEM Americas GM Summit?  

JM: As I mentioned before, I think gaining knowledge about our industry and learning what other organizations are doing is the best thing we can do for our careers, our businesses, and our international assignees.  I never stop learning. It makes me so happy when someone with a very small program (ours is very large) gives me an absolutely amazing idea that is fully scalable for what I need to accomplish! There are so few forums for this type of education and sharing. I personally have found FEM and the Americas GM Summit to be one of the best options for my career and our program. And I just said that in spite of the fact that they made me answer all these questions. 


About Jennifer:

A native of Houston, Jennifer is an Accounting graduate of the University of Houston Bauer College of Business. On graduating, she became a CPA for the State of Texas, then joined Deloitte where her work with start-up and IPOs introduced her to HR. A successful decade in recruitment led her to Haliburton in 2011 where she managed Talent Acquisition and Retention before becoming Western Hemisphere Global Mobility Manager managing all international assignment programs. She currently leads the company’s International HR Center of Excellence with oversight for 5,000 globally mobile employees.


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