London, UK,

So what are our priorities in Global Mobility?

Asks David Wells, Human Resources Director, Global Mobility

Leading a team of 30 HR professionals with a passion for Global Mobility means we must mobilise our talent across borders, wherever in the world the demand may be.

At Amec Foster Wheeler, where people are our most important asset, the role of Global Mobility is magnified. We have a need to mobilise people quickly, efficiently and compliantly to support our customers’ objectives and in line with their agreed costs. Last year, we mobilised over 1,200 people to some 50 different countries worldwide. At any one time, we are usually managing an active assignee population of between 1,700 and 2,000 assignees, often working in some of the most remote and challenging places in the world.

So what are our priorities in Global Mobility? Ensuring we do the right thing and move people in a compliant way, and managing our duty of care to our employees – ensuring they are deployed as effectively as possible are our two main priorities. In order to meet them, we have a unified approach to mobility. This includes moving people using consistent processes with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, providing expertise on the ground in the right locations (ie we have Global Mobility staff in five different countries supporting the business on a regional basis), ensuring that our policies governing ‘moves’ are competitive yet cost-conscious, providing accurate and timely advice to the business and our assignees, and underpinning the work we do with the right systems and external expertise where needed.

At the moment,our major focus is on integrating the two legacy approaches to global mobility by bringing the best practices of legacy Amec and legacy Foster Wheeler together to create the best way of managing global mobility for Amec Foster Wheeler! Much of this work will be completed by the end of this year.

And what makes a strong Global Mobility professional? In order to succeed in Global Mobility, I would say four characteristics are key: a passion for the subject, a natural curiosity about the world, an understanding of different cultures, and the ability to combine technical and ‘soft’ HR skills. These need to be combined with commercial awareness and the ability to navigate and demystify legislative complexity.

Global Mobility professionals face a unique set of HR challenges. Our work reaches all corners of the globe and we are at the heart of an incredibly diverse business. Global Mobility plays an integral role to the success of our business.

Meet the blogger

David is HR Director Global Mobility for Amec Foster Wheeler, leading a team of 30 HR professionals whose role it is to mobilise staff across borders. David has over twenty years of Global Mobility experience, including ten years in the mining and oil and gas sectors, and two years as an international assignee in Singapore.

Our Global Mobility team is responsible for moving large numbers of our people on international assignments, both those assigned to projects as well as moves related to career development and meeting our talent management objectives. The team defines and executes the policies and processes which govern the way we move our people, advises the business and individual employees on immigration and employment law requirements when moving employees across borders, and manages the contractual documentation required for employees to transfer from one location to another. In addition the team supports our international assignees throughout the lifecycle of an assignment, from initiating the start of an assignment to repatriation or the next move at the end of an assignment.

David is currently completing the integration of the legacy Amec and Foster Wheeler global mobility approaches, to create a single approach to moving our employees around the world.