Inspiring the Next Generation of Workforce Mobility Talent 12.10.2020 | Ellie Sullivan

corporate relocation

Not long ago Kerwin Guillermo, Global Head of Employee Mobility at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, reached out to me and several other leaders in the workforce mobility industry to support JAM, the Joint Academe-Mobility initiative.

Although I love both strawberry jam and a solid guitar jam, I wasn’t familiar with this particular type of JAM. But it turned out to be a pleasantly inspiring surprise: a curriculum that connects university students focused on global HR with workforce mobility mentors to help them better understand our industry and how it drives global business.

For my part in the class, I prepared a case story on how one of our client companies solved a global compliance challenge, and another on how companies are managing mobility amidst the pandemic. I also shared several thought leadership pieces and whitepapers to help students better understand and appreciate the real world issues global HR managers face in deploying (and protecting) critical talent.

Students engaged in team competitions that had them working under the tutelage of their industry mentors (folks like Tanya Mariottini, Director of Global Talent Mobility at Expedia, and Tom Bruhn of Ineo) to research and write an authoritative paper and present their findings to a panel of judges. The presentations were quite impressive and demonstrated a deep learning that was far superior to anything I remember experiencing in a college classroom.

During a virtual ceremony to announce the winners, each team had the chance to comment on how valuable this immersive learning was compared to classroom study. They remarked on things like the challenges of scheduling meetings with global teams and the importance of delegation, but the most common sentiment was how little they knew about the importance of talent mobility before taking this course.

That last point struck a chord with me and echoed the real world challenges that mobility professionals — on both the corporate and relocation management companies side — face every day in trying to raise the profile of what we do and how it impacts everything from recruitment to retention. The good news is that the experiential learnings these students absorbed will set them on a path to be gainfully employed, and empower them to add immediate value to their companies as new hires. (I was also happy to be a guest on a recent Love + Relo podcast where the course curriculum and the caliber of the students was discussed in detail).

Bottom line: this was an inspirational collaboration and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate. More importantly, it is an initiative that promises to fuel our industry with new talent for years to come and is long overdue. Good luck to the Fall 2020 JAM students!

Kudos to Hubert Zydorek and Leticia Castro de Campos for their work in matching students with mentors.

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Written by Ellie Sullivan


Ellie Sullivan, SCRP, SGMS-T, has over 30 years of experience overseeing critical mobility advisory initiatives, including policy benchmarking, proprietary research and tracking global trends and best practices. She is also the creator of our proprietary Optimization Lab format, which brings together Weichert SMEs and client stakeholders for day-long workshops to analyze current program challenges, identify solutions and create a road map to the ideal future state.

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