Relocation: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
Posted by: Cindy Madden, Director, Consulting Solutions
The only thing that stays the same is everything changes. This cliché is never more true than in the world of relocation—a theory verified in recent feedback from Cartus clients.
Twenty years ago, for instance, cost wasn’t the primary concern that it is today. Back then, relocation was about the experience. It was about senior level globe trotters with enviable responsibilities, and organizations went to great lengths to ensure their excursions were the best they could possibly be. While “easy” may not be an accurate way to define the job of a relocation professional in the 1990s, it was probably a lot less challenging than the same role in 2017.
Challenges Impacting Relocation
What are the factors impacting not only international assignment acceptance, but also the design of relocation policies? Cartus clients identify the following:
- Remote working—Twenty years ago, virtual offices were somewhat futuristic. But, today working remotely is common, and it provides organizations with the ability to reach beyond borders with ease. And, with such capabilities, the need to physically move people permanently diminishes. But how do organizations use a remote worker’s skills to impart knowledge to the organization? Or how does the organization provide “hands on” learning to that remote worker?
- Information availability—Before everyone knew how to Google, relocation providers were expected to provide esoteric information to clients and transferees. Today, however, that information is at their fingertips, 24/7. What is important is ensuring that information is delivered accurately, in a timely manner, and in the way the employee wants to receive it.
- Tech-enabled self-service—With the amount of available information, there is an expectation that everything should come with the option for self-service. The attitude we’re encountering says “if I must talk about travel, something’s wrong.” While most people want support they want it delivered without conversation, via a website or an app.
- Compliance expectations—There is a growing demand for technology that eases the compliance burden. Essentially, tools (phones, SaaS resources, GPS, etc.) are making it easier to report on transferee location, movement, cost estimation, immigration liability, visa and work permit renewal dates, taxable benefits, tax fulfillment, and more.
Challenges force us to consider alternative approaches to our ideal outcome. Given the challenges with which we’re currently faced, all stakeholders have an integral role in achieving it.
- Assignees/Transferees: Adjust thinking from: “What will you do for me?” to “What do I need to do and know?”
- Relocation professionals: Adjust approach from: “I will take care of this for you” to “Here is where you can find an article/video/app that will help you do that.”
- Employers: Change offering a single policy based on employee job level to a targeted matrix of benefits combining job level and move purpose (strategic, growth, skills transfer, skill gap, voluntary, etc.)
Find out if you are Ahead of the Relocation Trend Curve
As we explore relocation trends and challenges with our clients, it’s clear that many “traditional” practices are on their way out, while some practices are just emerging and companies have little experience with them. Find out what other companies are saying about what’s disappearing, what is already an established practice, and what’s breaking through in relocation by downloading our White Paper on the Evolution of Relocation Industry Trends.
Also, be sure to join me for our Worldwide ERC® webinar, Trends in Relocation - What's Hot, What's Not, and What's Just Not Going Away, on June 27 at 2:00 (ET), where we will explore the relocation and assignment trends of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I look forward to your attendance and input!