Emerge stronger: Empowering the future

A journey through COVID-19

June 9, 2020



Katherine Avery

Katherine Avery

Principal, Global Mobility Services, KPMG US

+1 408-367-2237

Robert Smith

Robert Smith

Senior Manager, Tax, Global Mobility Services, KPMG US

+1 408-367-2787

Prepared and engaged: The journey continues

As we’ve journeyed through the COVID-19 Curve, we’ve illustrated how and why your organization must adapt to changes in employee and business needs, and the importance of preparing for the changing landscape of the future of global mobility.  COVID-19 has truly defined a new workforce reality with global mobility as a central player. 

As organizations continue to adapt to a “new normal”, the role global mobility plays in the organization is expanding to encompass new working arrangements, including, in many cases, a shift to a Work Anywhere environment. The adoption of key learnings from the COVID-19 Curve is critical to remain agile and adaptable during this transformation. These key learnings should also ave provided global mobility with business context, broader data sets, and better predictive analytics allowing you to forecast change more quickly and be a change agent within your organization.

If we’ve learned one thing from COVID-19, it’s that change is constant and that organizations continue to require fluidity in operations to meet changing needs, especially as we learn more about Coronavirus and its economic and social impacts. This means that the journey you’ve been on continues. The tools you’ve gathered and experiences you’ve had during the COVID-19 Curve better prepare you to take on new challenges as they arise and to reflect on what improvements and changes must be made to position your Global Mobility program for the future. 

Future-focused: The future of mobility is yours for the making 

As we’ve noted, the journey through COVID-19 has truly been about transformation and how you react and adapt to those changes over time. Whether working to support employees through the emotional, psychological, and physical struggles related to the virus, or empowering your employees and business to succeed, the COVID-19 Curve includes key takeaways that you can apply to any transformational or change-focused opportunity.

Learning and adapting, especially within global mobility, are essential to ongoing success, not actions to be done only when necessary. An adaptable, flexible attitude, and being comfortable with the uncomfortable, allows you to search out new perspectives and drive change. In many cases, this search for knowledge and ongoing validation is based on simple, organizationally-minded questions such as: 

  • Where does mobility currently stand within the organization, both reputationally and strategically?
  • How visible is your global mobility brand? Is global mobility’s key strategic role and value viewed favorably and well-understood by key operational stakeholders, employees and the business?
  • What industry or global trends are affecting mobility? 
  • What is the future of mobility and how do we get there?

As you emerge into the New Reality with new validated information and a fresh look at your analytics, you should continue to observe, validate, and update global mobility’s strategic goals and value within the organization. This includes how to better structure mobility and cross-functional teams, how to provide strategic insight, and how to strengthen mobility’s impact and focus as many organizations move to more flexible working arrangements or a Work Anywhere environment. These observations will assist you in answering the above questions ultimately leading to mobility’s long-term success and ability to emphasize current needs while transitioning and proactively adapting to future needs.


In our last checklist, we have decided to focus on key areas of introspection for global mobility teams. The information here is critical to making sound decisions about the future but relies on the information you’ve gathered throughout your response to the COVID-19 Curve.

The checklist allows you to take a current and future look at your program identifying where you are today as well as where you want to take your organization. We suggest downloading the pdf and marking where you’d like to be in the next 12-24 months. This exercise can be done alone, or better yet, with the Global Mobility team together. Once completed, feel free to share this information with your KPMG team to learn about how we can assist you in your journey.

Service Delivery

Global mobility operating models differ from company to company and between centralized or decentralized structures. Service delivery is meant to define how you’ve structured your mobility program and understand where you are today and where you want to go in the future.


Mobility is truly a people-focused function within the organization. Mobility departments’ take on this differs with some departments providing a more individualized service approach, including more hand-holding throughout the entire move process while others are more organizationally minded setting policy parameters and working more with the business to define workforce and talent development needs.


Process is how moves are managed within the organization and aligns with how you structure your ongoing interactions with key operational stakeholders and often with external third-party service providers. Internally, organizations normally take a decentralized or centralized process approach which either puts more focus on managing an individual move or the process associated with all moves.


Technology, for many, is the backbone of a mobility program. Having the right systems, right technology-enabled process governance, and consolidated data is key. That being said, mobility departments greatly differ in their technology approaches, including their reliance on technology on a truly global scale.

Actionable Insights

Accurate, actionable insight is key to correctly tracking moves and remaining compliant in today’s increasingly connected world. With this in mind, many organizations continue to struggle with manual data and tracking processes. Understanding your current and future technology needs can greatly impact your efficiency and compliance.


Control and policy governance play an important role in ongoing compliance and successful management of a mobility program. Some programs managing issues on a one-off basis and others automating their controls. 

Concluding the COVID-19 Curve:

In conclusion, no one could have prepared us for the challenges and changes that COVID-19 would bring. However, the COVID-19 Curve and our experience in living through this time can both prepare us for future business disruptions and provide us with the needed information and time to transform current operations to ensure we are future-ready.