Creating a breakthrough employee experience: mobility brand matters - a #UHR23 blog from Vialto

25 April 2023      Martin Higgs, Communications Officer

Mobility brand matters as it establishes trust between you and your employees for what may be a significant life event for many, namely uprooting and moving to a new country whether this be for six months or two years.  It reflects what you are promising when asking someone to work overseas, and if the reality does not match this then it will result in a negative employee experience.  Brand and employee experience therefore come hand in hand and as anyone who works with overseas workers knows, they talk!

Overseas experience offers universities a host of benefits. 60% of respondents to our HE Global Mobility Survey* indicated that the primary driver for enabling overseas working is to improve research collaborations and alignment with current or future strategies. However, only 16% currently use it as a means to attract new talent and just 2% use it for the professional/personal development and engagement of existing staff.  With the war on talent fierce, there is scope for universities who build a strong mobility brand and positive employee experience to differentiate themselves in the war for talent.

So what is your mobility brand?  What are your employees’ opinions around the opportunities you provide for them to work internationally? Is your selection process fair and does it ensure equality? What additional benefits and allowances are available and who meets any differentials in tax or social security?   Is your policy clear around these points?  Further, what support do you provide such as cultural awareness training, a look and see visit, international health care coverage and family support?  Increasingly in a post Covid world we are seeing employees placing a greater emphasis on well-being benefits over pay. Whilst the HE sector has made great inroads in recent years, with 52% of respondents to our Survey indicating that they now have a formal international working policy, many policies remain light when it comes to well-being benefits and clarity on matters such as their institution’s tax and social security policy.

Creating an experience for your cross-border workers which is positive, equal and consistent is a challenge. It requires time and cost investments, and a need to put yourself in the overseas workers’ shoes to understand where the make or break movements are. Starting with the selection process, through to their deployment and beyond, shaping the right level of support for your employees is key. This includes ensuring they have a designated contact at the University when working overseas, determining how often they need to check-in, as well as confirming the framework and personnel involved in performance management and personal development. And, how do they know they are doing the right thing from a tax and immigration perspective? Interestingly, only 38% of respondents to our Survey provide immigration support and only 32% provide a tax briefing for employees being sent to work overseas, which is low relative to other sectors. These issues need to be addressed with positive overseas experiences championed and shared.

At Vialto Partners we partner with universities to help build your mobility brand and to define the experience that you want your employees to have.  From policy design and implementation, through to employee engagement and associated compliance support - we are here, with immigration, tax, social security and payroll specialists in over 150 countries, many of whom have specialist HE knowledge.  To find out more, please contact:


Marie Green                                                   Gemma Buxton

UK and Global HE Lead                                 Deputy UK HE lead   

Vialto Partners                                               Vialto Partners                      


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