Highlights of FEM’s EMEA Summit on Day One

The final Agenda for the 2016 FEM EMEA Summit in London has now been released, and in this, the first of two articles, I want to tell FEM members and delegates about some of the key highlights of our two-day conference.

Go to the profile of Claire Tennant-Scull
Nov 02, 2016

The morning of Day One of our flagship event, the EMEA Summit is reserved for HR and global mobility corporates only, and it’s a chance for professionals to work through their most pressing challenges with like-minded peers in a spirit of innovation and collaboration.

Work through your most pressing challenges with peer to peer Roundtables

Delegates can choose from nine different Roundtable sessions where they can work through topics including:

  • Engagement vs. compliance: Developing mobility teams to address business needs
  • Managing your programme: Handling currency, inflation and economic volatility
  • Rebranding global mobility to the wider business
  • Managing vendors and suppliers: Best practice use of KPIs and SLAs
  • Proactive not reactive: The journey to a scalable and fit-for-purpose programme

Workforce diversity and women on the move?

One that I’m particularly interested in, especially as we may be about to see the USA elect its first female President, is: Workforce Diversity and Global Mobility's Role in Championing and Driving Change. Tania Thouw, Head of Global Mobility at SAP SE will be moderating a Roundtable session where delegates can debate how to improve the diversity among assignees. This is not just about box ticking. Diversity Matters, a 2015 research report from McKinsey & Company indicated that companies in the top 25 per cent for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are 35 per cent more likely to see financial returns above their national industry medians. The summary report also included research on multicultural teams, from Professor Nancy Adler of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, which revealed that while diversity on a team frequently enables better problem solving and more creativity, if badly handled, it can actually decrease the productivity of the team, so integration and inclusion is something that needs to be carefully managed.

This year too, PwC published its Moving Women with Purpose report that revealed a yawning gap between the genders: Just 20% of international assignees are female, despite demand from women being recorded at 71%. So we’ll be looking at this at our Roundtable session on Day One and again on Day Two, during our workshop: Promoting Diversity: Best Practices in Female Talent Management which will be led by Miranda Arya, Director of NetExpat UK & Ireland and Thatiana Levorato, Global HR Director of Reckitt Benckiser Ltd and Alain Verstandig, President of NetExpat. Just a month or so ago, a researcher from the BBC contacted FEM about this topic too, for an online article that the BBC will feature about the lack of female assignees, so even worldwide broadcasters are now interested in the matter.

Global mobility encompasses a world of topics

It almost seems unfair to focus on just a few here, because I think all our Panel sessions and Roundtables will be covering some really absorbing topics. As we look towards 2017 it’s clear that certain issues such as immigration and the wider implications of Brexit will be commanding a great deal of business’ attention, and the EMEA Summit will be covering the subject from a number of perspectives, but of course global mobility embraces such a variety and range of disciplines and faces all kinds of challenges.

Dealing with uncertainty

After our Networking Lunch, our first Panel Session: Running Global Mobility Programmes in an Uncertain World will be focusing on how to create and manage policy in times of political and economic upheaval. Expansion into new, emerging markets is often critical for businesses, but stability may not be guaranteed. We’ll be asking how can mobility programmes develop their duty of care and what are companies obligated to do for their employees? Where do the lines of responsibility lie between the global mobility (GM) function, the business itself and the individual employee?

We’ll also be looking at how GM professionals can respond when countries experience dramatic political change, or enforce new laws (perhaps outlawing certain behaviours), suffers from a terrorist attack, or when a country’s status is altered such as leaving a political or economic alliance, such as the EU. A simple example of the huge implications of such an event can have, Head of Global Mobility at Aviva says that the company is currently checking the nationality and right to work status of 17,000 employees so that Aviva can be sure of full compliance when Article 50 is triggered.

With a view to these kinds of challenges, we will explore ways of building policies that respond to a world in flux and take into account the need for movement at a moment’s notice. How do you prepare someone to take an assignment in a place that may be undergoing development or change and how can global mobility professionals help convince individuals to take assignments in unconventional or unattractive locations?

Our panellists for this session will be: Andreas Baeuerle, International Assignment Manager at Bosch Khadeeja Islam, Global Mobility Manager at Colt Technology Services Selina Jones-May, Group Director – Global Mobility at WorleyParsons and Vivien Mott, Head of Global Mobility at Aviva, who was a deserved winner of last year’s EMEA EMMA for Outstanding Contribution to Global Mobility.

Choose a Track to follow, or try a number of routes

From 13.50 onwards, delegates can choose from three different Tracks and join panel discussions such as this in Track B, where we’ll look at Driving the role of global mobility as a key business partner within your organisation. With companies moving more people in a variety of ways, it is critical that robust policies and processes are in place, which will help companies react quickly and effectively. So specific points of discussion will include:

  • The route to ‘strategic business partner’, adopting a consultative function rather than a transactional unit
  • Raising key stakeholders’ awareness of the challenges and risks when moving people across borders in a fully compliant fashion
  • How to ‘market’ the GM function, and raise its profile within your organisation, and demonstrating how it adds significant value
  • How robust policies and package design can help the business expand and enhance workforce mobility
  • Brexit scenario planning, potential risks and implications, contingency and action plans

Our panellists for this session will be: Chris Laughlin, Group Head of Reward at Edrington, Vivien Mott, Head of Global Mobility at Aviva, Neerav Shah, Senior Consultant at ECAInternational and Anja Vahldiek, Director, EMEIA Mobility at EY.

Making technology work for you and your business

Alternatively, delegates may be interested in Track C, where I’ll be chairing an exploration of the best ways of Using global mobility technology to support business strategy. Our panellists here (Edward Sides, Senior Global Mobility Consultant at Statoil and Oliver Hole, Associate Director – Policy, Projects & Process at BP International Ltd) will focus not only on the latest strategic trends in mobility technology, but also on how you can leverage the latest technology tools to gain insights into your business, support its strategic objectives and raise the profile of your global mobility programme.

This will then be supported by an Expert Insight session: Exploring the latest technology trends and tools in global mobility, with Vicki Marsh, Head of UK Operations, Equus Software and followed by a Case Study: Driving agility and enhanced client experience through implementing new technology, plus Q&As with Oliver Hole of BP.

However, you don’t have to follow the same track all the way through, so you can mix and match according to your interests and needs.

Assignments and assignees are changing: How can you manage the new challenges they present?

I would finally recommend joining our Panel discussion at 16.20, where we’ll be looking at: Realising the shift from traditional assignments to new types – how to convince employees to move from being assignees to commuters, travellers and localisers, Our panel (made up of Mustafa Bharmal, Director – Global Mobility Services at Honeywell, Nicole Davis-Calinescu, Global Mobility Manager at JLT Group and Nicole Milman, Senior Manager, Mobility Program Development at Philip Morris International and Nick Squire, Director – Global Mobility, Employment Taxes & Reward, Cerberus European Capital Advisors) will be addressing these points and more:

  • Cost optimisation is still a hot topic for global mobility programmes and one of the ways to achieve lower costs is through alternative assignment types
  • What role do commuters, business travellers and localisers have in your organisation? What cost savings have you realised through this?
  • How do you track and manage these new assignment types?
  • How do you have a conversation with the employee to have them buy in to the type?
  • Can you eliminate career expatriates?
  • What new problems and processes will the new types bring to conversations around compliance, immigration, tax and movement?
  • What is a global nomad? How can you leverage them for your business?

Before we finish the more formal discussions for the day, at 17.05, we will also hear from Nicole Milman of Philip Morris International as she examines The generational shift of your employees, the emergence of Millennials in the workforce and the introduction of Generation Z. She ‘ll be asking how, with younger generations more eager for international mobility, can you leverage graduate programmes, interns and junior appointments to identify and build talent pipelines? How can you prepare a generation of travellers to become a generation of expatriates? Is there a difference?

Sally Martin, our Event Director at FEM will then give her closing remarks before we enjoy a well-earned Drinks Reception at 17.40 and declare the Exhibition open.

Don't miss my pick of the Highlights for Day Two

> Click here to register for the EMEA Summit, our flagship event

> For more details, see the Agenda


Go to the profile of Claire Tennant-Scull

Claire Tennant-Scull

Global Director, Content & Events, Forum for Expatriate Management

Claire Tennant-Scull is Global Director of Content & Events at the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM). She produces and chairs all FEM’s Conferences and Summits in Amsterdam, the Americas, APAC and EMEA and oversees FEM's global awards (EMMAs). Claire works closely with key clients, leads FEM’s London Chapter and oversees the FEM website, reports and publications. In addition to her experience in Global Mobility, Claire has more than 20 years’ expertise in publishing, working as a managing editor, writer, journalist and broadcaster, both in the print and digital world. With thousands of contacts across the Global Mobility community, Claire is always keen to welcome new members and to broaden the FEM community.

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