Things to Consider For Avoiding Policy Mistakes in Global Mobility

January 23, 2024 | xpath.global

Developing a comprehensive and effective global mobility policy is crucial for organizations that engage in international transfers. However, HR managers often make mistakes that can hinder the success of these policies. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the most common policy mistakes in global mobility and provide strategies to avoid them. By considering individual needs and planning for the long-term, organizations can create policies that promote employee satisfaction and retention.

1. Failing to Consider Individual Needs

One of the primary mistakes made by HR managers when crafting global mobility policies is the failure to consider the individual needs of transferees. It is essential to acknowledge that each employee has unique skills, experiences, and personal circumstances that must be taken into account. Implementing a one-size-fits-all policy can lead to dissatisfaction and disengagement among employees.

To avoid this mistake, HR managers should adopt a personalized approach when developing global mobility policies. This begins with conducting individual assessments to determine the specific needs and preferences of each employee. By understanding their requirements, organizations can tailor relocation packages to meet those needs. This can include providing language and cultural training, assistance with finding housing, and support for family members.

2. Failing to Plan for the Long-Term

Another common mistake is the failure to consider the long-term impact of international assignments. Many HR managers focus solely on short-term costs and benefits, such as relocation expenses and taxes, without considering the broader implications. This approach can lead to high turnover rates and other challenges in the future.

When creating global mobility policies, it is crucial to take a holistic view that considers both immediate and long-term effects. HR managers should assess the long-term impact on employees and the organization as a whole. Failing to plan for the long-term can result in disengagement among employees who do not receive adequate support to adjust to their new location. This can ultimately lead to high turnover rates, which are costly and time-consuming for organizations.

To mitigate this risk, organizations should provide ongoing support and resources to employees throughout their assignments. This can include regular check-ins, career development opportunities, and assistance with repatriation after the assignment concludes. By focusing on the long-term success of employees, organizations can create a more sustainable global mobility program.

3. Lack of Strategic Alignment

A strategic approach is essential when developing global mobility policies. HR managers must ensure that the policies align with the company’s overall business and talent strategies. The policy document should clearly support the organization’s strategic objectives and communicate the purpose of mobility to the audience.

To avoid this mistake, HR managers should start by understanding the strategic objectives of the mobility program. If the goal is to attract top talent and offer an above-market program, the policy should be employee-focused, offering attractive benefits and support throughout the mobility journey. By aligning the policy with strategic objectives, organizations can enhance their employer brand and attract and retain top talent.

4. Targeting the Wrong Audience

Before drafting a global mobility policy, it is crucial to identify the intended audience. Different groups, such as the business, employees, managers, and HR, may have varying information needs and preferences. Tailoring the policy to meet the requirements of each group is essential for effective communication and understanding.

For example, a process-oriented policy may be suitable for the business, while an engaging document that promotes mobility can resonate with employees. The language used in the policy should be carefully chosen to match the audience. Persuasive language may be effective for certain groups, while formal language may be more appropriate for others.

By targeting the right audience and using appropriate language, organizations can ensure that the policy is well-received and understood by all stakeholders.

5. Overcomplicating the Policy Document

In an attempt to cover all possible scenarios, some organizations make the mistake of including too much information in a single policy document. This can lead to confusion and misunderstanding among employees. Instead, policies should be clear and concise, focusing on the benefits provided to the employee.

To avoid overcomplicating the policy document, organizations can structure their policies based on move type and length. This approach ensures that each policy is targeted to a specific scenario, making the entitlements clear to employees. By separating policies based on move type and length, organizations can provide tailored information to different audiences and avoid confusion.

6. Lack of Flexibility

While policies should provide clear guidelines, they should also allow for flexibility to accommodate unique situations. A rigid policy that does not account for exceptions or special circumstances can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction among employees.

HR managers should build flexibility into the policy framework, allowing for individualized solutions when necessary. This can be achieved through a case-by-case review process or by incorporating flexibility clauses into the policy document. By considering exceptions and providing options for unique situations, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being and promote a positive employee experience.

7. Inadequate Communication

Effective communication is vital when implementing global mobility policies. HR managers must ensure that employees understand the policy entitlements, requirements, and available support. Failure to communicate effectively can result in misinformation, confusion, and non-compliance.

To enhance communication, organizations should develop a comprehensive communication strategy that includes multiple channels such as email, intranet portals, and face-to-face meetings. Clear and concise language should be used to explain policy details, and employees should have access to resources that provide further clarification or assistance. Regular communication updates can also help keep employees informed about any changes or updates to the policy.

8. Insufficient Training and Support

Providing adequate training and support is crucial for the successful implementation of global mobility policies. Employees should be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate the challenges of international assignments.

Organizations should invest in training programs that cover cultural awareness, language skills, and practical aspects of living and working in the host country. Additionally, HR managers should ensure that employees have access to support services such as relocation assistance, healthcare, and legal advice. By prioritizing training and support, organizations can empower employees to thrive in their new environments and contribute effectively to the organization’s goals.

9. Ignoring Compliance and Legal Considerations

Global mobility policies must comply with local laws and regulations. Ignoring compliance and legal considerations can lead to significant legal and financial risks for organizations.

HR managers should work closely with legal and compliance teams to ensure that policies align with local labor laws, tax regulations, and immigration requirements. Regular reviews of policies should be conducted to address any changes in regulations and ensure ongoing compliance. By prioritizing compliance and legal considerations, organizations can mitigate potential risks and maintain a positive reputation.

10. Lack of Evaluation and Feedback

Continuous improvement is crucial for effective global mobility policies. HR managers should regularly evaluate the impact of policies and seek feedback from employees and stakeholders. Ignoring evaluation and feedback can result in outdated policies that do not meet the evolving needs of the organization and its employees.

Organizations can implement feedback mechanisms such as surveys, focus groups, and individual interviews to gather insights and identify areas for improvement. HR managers should analyze the feedback received and make necessary adjustments to the policy framework. By embracing a culture of continuous improvement, organizations can ensure that their policies remain relevant and effective.

11. Failure to Collaborate with Experts

Developing global mobility policies requires expertise in various areas, including HR, tax, legal, and compliance. HR managers who attempt to handle all aspects of policy development without collaborating with experts may overlook critical considerations and make costly mistakes.

Organizations should consider partnering with mobility consulting firms or engaging with internal subject matter experts to ensure comprehensive policy development. These experts can provide insights into best practices, industry trends, and legal requirements. By leveraging external expertise, organizations can create robust and compliant global mobility policies.

12. Neglecting the Employee Experience

The employee experience is a critical factor in the success of global mobility programs. Neglecting the employee experience can lead to dissatisfaction, low engagement, and increased turnover rates.

Organizations should prioritize the employee experience throughout the mobility journey. This includes providing comprehensive pre-departure assistance, ongoing support during the assignment, and repatriation support upon completion. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions can help address any challenges or concerns that employees may have. By focusing on the employee experience, organizations can foster a positive and supportive environment that enhances employee satisfaction and retention.


Crafting effective global mobility policies requires careful consideration of individual needs, long-term planning, strategic alignment, and effective communication. By avoiding common policy mistakes and implementing best practices, organizations can create policies that support their business objectives, attract top talent, and ensure the success of international assignments. Embracing a culture of continuous improvement and collaborating with experts can further enhance the effectiveness of global mobility policies. By prioritizing the employee experience, organizations can create a positive and supportive environment that fosters employee satisfaction and engagement.

Technology plays an integral role in being audit-ready and mitigating non-compliance. Learn more about xpath.global’s mobility platform: Global Mobility Management Ecosystem – xpath.global

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