"Learn to speak about mobility in the language of customer experience and business impact – not mobility speak"

Laura Rodriguez of Johnson & Johnson talks to us ahead of the FEM Americas Global Mobility Summit.

FEM is delighted to confirm that Laura Rodriguez, Global Director, Talent Mobility at Johnson & Johnson will be joining us for a Mobility Masterclass on 'Mobility’s changing role in facilitating immigration program management', at the FEM Americas Global Mobility Summit 2018 on May 23-24 at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, San Diego, CA

"Someone is always doing some part of Mobility better than you are. The Mobility community is very collaborative – leveraging the knowledge and experience of so many experts in one place a few times a year is well worth the time away from the office.  For me, attending the FEM Conference falls under “thinking time” and “thought leadership and development”.  

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

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

LR: My interest in global mobility dates back to my graduate school days. While working on an International Business Management degree, my focus was on global HR. During my career at Johnson & Johnson, I gravitated to HR roles that supported country clusters, regions and finally to enterprise Talent Mobility. I joined Talent Mobility in May of 2010 and really enjoy this HR specialty. 

FEM: What changes have you seen in that time?  

LR: We have gone from a primary concern for consistency, control of exceptions, compliance – and the ever present cost - to designing policies for increasingly varied talent and business objectives. We are now more focused on differentiated investment for prioritized business and talent needs and agility of response to the rapid changes occurring globally. I am happy to say that we are more advisory and are partnering in the shaping of solutions with our businesses, rather than recipients of “move orders”. We have also shifted the singular focus on cost to a conversation about investment optimization and understanding the value outcomes of those investments (ROI). We must still do all the basics well, but are challenged to apply new technologies to the transactional and to leverage our subject matter experts for helping the business enter new markets and build new capabilities. 

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

LR: Master an understanding of the fundamental component pieces of mobility as quickly as you can. Also, become a student of business and economic trends. In our space, what is happening half a world away (i.e. in government economic policy, labor laws, talent development, immigration etc.) is potentially a disruptor. With the development of more technology for mobility, excellent research sources and information feeds, it is now easier to monitor market trends. Understanding trends - both from a needs and a solutions perspective - will help you creatively adapt your program to the changing needs of your business. It’s also important to learn to speak about mobility in the language of customer experience and business impact – not mobility speak.

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

LR: Catching up on the technology enablement of our work and designing for experience and agility are two that quickly come to mind.  Mobility processes have long cycle times and long supply chains. Building an excellent employee, family, HR or Business Leader experience requires integration of both internal and external partner processes, technology tools and strong program management. The collaboration across sub-specialties is not a “nice to have” – it is a fundamental requirement. I would hope that in the next few years we see more AI and digital solutions coming to bear on our work; that our tools efficiently address repeatable tasks and free us to engage in higher value work and new services. That means a third challenge – Retooling and Reskilling.  

FEM: Why do you think your Mobility Masterclass on ‘Mobility’s changing role in facilitating immigration program management’ is such a challenge for Global Mobility and why is it important that the audience understand more about the subject?  

LR: I think most would agree that Immigration, like Tax, is an especially complex service to deliver across the 190+ countries in the world. It has only increased in complexity over the past few years, as some countries pull in the direction of more protectionist postures while others are liberalizing/incentivizing immigration to meet projected skill gaps. Immigration compliance is the first compliance hurdle; so it is critical to deploying talent. As countries make changes to visa and permanent residency requirements more often, remaining in a “case file management” posture becomes less effective. Case file management sits at the individual employee level – which is where we have been focused in traditional immigration services management. Today we are having more trouble predicting when or if a visa will be approved. We need longer lead times and alternative immigration strategies. Mobility staff and tools need to be equipped to forecast where we may have future immigration challenges, what employee categories or businesses those challenges will affect and a point of view on alternative solutions well in advance of legislative impact. We need for immigration what we have had for some time in the relocation program management space – enterprise level data that we can analyze and contrast to business strategy to inform better decisions. It’s time to talk about what that could look like and ways we can achieve it.

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

LR: That this is a great opportunity to deliver new, value-added services to our businesses, with important and relevant impacts to their business plans. Also that we have a responsibility to address company sponsored visa Employee Experience. As the immigration space has become more complex, employees considering international moves are becoming increasingly confused and anxious, as are their families.  Accepting an assignment or relocating to another part of the world is challenging enough, even when everything goes right. We owe it to the business and to our employees to bring the considerable talents of our function, partners and stakeholders into play to deliver a positive experience.

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

LR: Someone is always doing some part of Mobility better than you are. The Mobility community is very collaborative – leveraging the knowledge and experience of so many experts in one place a few times a year is well worth the time away from the office. For me, attending the FEM Conference falls under “thinking time” and “thought leadership and development”.  

VIEW THE FULL AMERICAS SUMMIT AGENDA HERE

About Laura: 

Laura provides Program Management direction to meet Johnson & Johnson’s changing business needs, identifying trends and emerging capabilities to enable the company’s global workforce strategy. J&J’s Talent Mobility function provides services to employees and managers in over 60 countries around the world, and also manages the International Development Program and U.S. Relocation Services. Laura has 30 years of HR experience within the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. Her most recent positions include HR Transformation and Operations Director for Latin America, Director of Business Services for the Puerto Rico Operating Companies and Latin America and Asia Pacific HR Director for the Global Pharmaceutical Sourcing Group. 

REGISTER NOW FOR THE AMERICAS SUMMIT - MAY 23-24, 2018

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