Holly Maria Creed is Global Mobility Manager at DXC Technology, an IT services and solutions company, and Co-Founder of Next Gen GM, a global mobility forum. Being an expert in this field, she talks about global mobility as a career path, what it takes to be successful in the industry, and how the next generation of global mobility professionals can be better supported in their roles and careers.
1. Earlier this year you co-founded Next Gen GM. What is the purpose of Next Gen GM and how do you support the next generation of global mobility professionals?
Next Gen GM brings together global mobility professionals with less than 15 years’ experience in the industry, to develop their network, share experiences, and expand their knowledge regarding global mobility topics. We have a diverse membership — some members are finishing their studies and want to enter the industry, some are already working in the global mobility field, and others have been working in HR for years but have never dealt with global mobility topics until now. One of our goals is to help create well-rounded professionals who know global mobility inside and out. 2. What feedback have you received from people taking part in the Next Gen GM networking events, and what key learnings have you taken so far?
The feedback has been really positive. People seem to like that we think outside the box and find innovative ways to explore global mobility topics. For example, we have an event coming up this month called Global Mobility Wars, which we are basing on the Hunger Games film series. Industry experts from different sectors will have five minutes to present the reasons their service contributes most to international assignment success. This will then be debated amongst a panel and opened up to the audience to vote. Our events are fun and dynamic, and we haven’t received any negative feedback to date, only people encouraging us to keep it up, which was not what we expected!
3. Why is this new generation in the global mobility sector a key focus for you personally, as well as DXC Technology?
At DXC Technology we understand that most millennials value the opportunity to travel, and we want to use this to our advantage to attract and retain our talent. One of the reasons that I am so interested in this topic is because I am part of this generation. I was inspired to create Next Gen GM, with my co-founder Natalie Chapman, when I recognized that a lot of networking groups are aimed at more experienced global mobility professionals. We wanted to give the next generation, as well as people new to the industry, the opportunity to come together to network and learn from one another.
4. How has global mobility as a career path changed during your time in the industry?
I think that now, compared to when I first started in the industry, there is more fire in people to get that dream job immediately. Every year I mentor second and third year university students and I tell them that, even though they might be in a job that they do not love, they should always remember that they are working towards their larger goal. This is an important message, not only for people who are starting out in their career, but for anybody involved in change management. We are currently experiencing a lot of change in DXC Technology, and comprehensive and long-term project plans have helped us to continue taking all the smaller steps necessary to achieve the vision I wrote in February 2017.
5. How do you think the new generation of global mobility professionals can be better supported in their roles?
Those new to the field need more training, and further opportunities to get out of the office to learn from professionals who are more experienced. I don’t think that people achieve a lot by sitting at their desk, doing the same thing day-in and day-out. This might make them thoroughly competent at a specific task, but it does not encourage innovation or develop other capabilities. I always encourage those new to the industry to make their own opportunities through attending events and webinars, reading widely, and talking to experts in the industry. Even if you think it is not specifically relevant to you and your work, you can probably still learn something from it and build a stronger network.
6. Has there been a generational shift in the way global mobility professionals operate and approach the industry? If so, what has this shift been? If not, does there need to be a shift?
I don’t think generational gaps are necessarily changing, and any perceived differences between former generations and millennials can be attributed to the increase in opportunities available to them. I do think there is more emphasis placed on supporting employees who relocate with the “softer aspects” of global mobility. At DXC Technology we are really focused on ensuring a positive employee experience. While this is an upfront cost, it pays off in the end, with happier employees who are more productive, generate more revenue, and are more likely to stay with the company. The only thing I would suggest is that we need to better utilize technology in global mobility, because this is something that the millennial generation expects and is used to in their daily lives.
7. In your experience, what skills are essential for being successful as a global mobility professional — regardless of generation?
Patience, patience and even more patience! If you lack patience, and if you are not a people person, global mobility is not for you. As a global mobility professional, you spend a lot of time listening to peoples’ problems, sympathizing with them, and sometimes even being a shoulder to cry on. It is really important that you can be empathetic and understanding about why the employee may feel the way they do. It is also crucial that you can grasp all of the various aspects of global mobility and understand the entire assignment lifecycle, without necessarily specializing in one facet.
About the Expert: Holly Maria Creed is a Global Mobility Manager at DXC Technology and co-founder of Next Gen GM, a forum supporting the next generation of global mobility professionals. She writes as a global mobility subject matter expert, and was shortlisted for the 2018 FEM Expatriate Management and Mobility Award for Global Mobility Professional of the Year. Alongside her DXC Technology colleagues, she was also shortlisted for six other awards, with DXC Technology taking home the award for Global Mobility Team of the Year (Large Program).
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