The ETF, a Forum for  Expatriation and Talent , was formed in 1996 as a research and development group for major companies to address key issues in international mobility. More recently, the focus has broadened to include the role of international experience in developing and strengthening the international talent pipeline.

The Forum brings together leading practitioners and experts in a confidential environment to discuss and research high priority issues and problems, and to develop thought-leadership and practical solutions.

The work of the Forum is the basis of TraQs’ products, and its consulting approaches and tools. Typically, the Forum runs projects on topics chosen by Members, who meet to define the project scope, provide key input and review draft outputs and reports.

xThe results of projects are shared with all Members. The Forum holds an annual Congress where all members can gather to discuss and debate project results and issues of common concern. The Forum is funded by its Members.

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As a forum for expatriation and talent, the ETF sits at an important intersection in the global human resource management function. Its purpose is to provide a collaborative approach to clarifying and addressing key issues in talent development, mobility and resourcing in a global context – issues that are becoming more prevalent, more critical and increasingly complex. ETF projects are characterised by an evidence-based approach, with new metrics developed to provide greater clarity about where we are and challenging workgroup meetings to help envision where we could be.

With our leaders increasingly focused on exploiting opportunities for growth in new and emerging markets, global mobility is once again high on the agenda. At one end of the spectrum, it facilitates the deployment of resources to important parts of the business that are in urgent need of specialist skills in short supply. At the other, it provides the mechanism whereby our talent can be refined and developed to become the globally competent operators and leaders that will underpin our future success.

Yet, global mobility comes in many and disparate forms: from long- and short-term expatriation, commuter and rotational assignments, through to local transfers and international local hires. How can we ensure that our global mobility policies and practices are sufficiently agile, fair, broad-ranging and robust so as to meet the pressing needs of our business units across the globe – while, also providing a cost-effective vehicle for developing staff at all stages of our global talent pipeline?

For those charged with managing the pipeline of global talent, the challenges are likewise complex. Assuming we have attracted a supply of suitable talent throughout our dispersed empire of business operations, what should we be doing to accelerate their development so that they can sooner become effective on the global stage? How do we encourage line managers to release such valuable resources to grow and develop elsewhere? Can we map out realistic career path options to help our talent avoid career-limiting next-steps? What can we do to ensure that the international roles on offer are truly developmental, and how can we distinguish those that are most suitable from those that are irrelevant to a particular candidate? How can we measure the developmental and career impact of an assignment or other talent management intervention?

The ETF still has much to do!