Joining Forces to Modernize Workforce Mobility 05.5.2021 | Ellie Sullivan

global relocation

It was extremely uplifting to be among the more than 300 corporate leaders, government representatives and relocation professionals who came together for the inaugural WECAN Summit.

For workforce mobility, this was a landmark event, with Worldwide ERC, EuRA (the European Relocation Association) and the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC) joining forces for the first time to identify ways to overcome COVID challenges, modernize mobility to meet the needs of a post-pandemic world and eliminate the barriers that inhibit global talent deployment and development.

From the opening general session that showcased the leaders of the hosting organizations, WECAN featured unique, tri-regional perspectives of how workforce mobility can help support a global economic rebound and bolster business growth.

One of the more fascinating discussions was an interview with Claude Guay, President and General Manager of IBM Canada, who explained how critical a mobile workforce is to his organization, not just to develop talent, but to fulfill client projects. It was clear that Claude appreciated the work that goes into overcoming talent deployment challenges such as immigration and travel restrictions, and he pointed to how mobility helps IBM create blended teams that produce the best results.

Another session focused on the importance of developing “globally savvy” employees through international assignments with a rich discussion of how remote work and virtual assignments might provide new opportunities for broader diversity.

Other sessions focused on exploring ways to get global cooperation around immigration, digital vaccination records and portable accreditations that hold great promise to lessening some of the barriers to mobility.

Throughout the Summit, attendees were encouraged to educate business leaders, legislators and regulators about the economic value of mobility, and to adopt modern talent management and mobility policies that will fuel economic growth. WECAN leaders acknowledged the struggle to build cross-border cooperation, but they are leading the way, leveraging their collective memberships to advocate for change and simplification.

To demonstrate their commitment, WECAN published a declaration, The Imperative to Modernize Workforce Mobility in a Post Pandemic World, and are using this springboard to motivate us all.

As CERC's Stephen Cryne said, "We firmly believe that countries and industries with a policy infrastructure that recognizes the importance of talent deployment to economic recovery will bounce back more rapidly, and that is why we have joined forces to deliver solutions for modernizing relocation and mobility policies and practices that will drive economic recovery and meet the new workforce realities of a post-COVID world."

Added Tad Zurlinden, CEO of the European Relocation Association (EuRA): “Our declaration today makes it clear that our industry will be partners to government and business leaders looking to modernize mobility policies. National leaders must deliver public policy solutions that ensure business can access and relocate the talent they need to rebuild and recover in the wake of the pandemic.”

Weichert supports this declaration as a rallying cry to our fellow industry professionals. We say WECAN and We Will promote the value of mobility to businesses, governments and communities worldwide. We’ve long declared mobile employees one of the most important segments of the workforce because they help fill talent gaps, prepare leaders and provide upskilling opportunities for employees. Equally important, a more agile workforce allows companies and countries to capitalize on new markets and innovations and ultimately help societies thrive.

To read the full declaration and learn more about WECAN, click here.

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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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