What’s going on in the relocation industry?

One of the best ways we help our customers is by always staying on top of the news and trends affecting our industry. Many different factors impact the relocation market, so we are constantly reading different reports and monitoring issues to help our clients stay ahead of any big changes. Below are just a handful of some of the ways that the corporate relocation industry has been growing.  Use the table of contents below to jump from section to section to learn more.

  • Big Data
  • Cyber Threats & Security
  • Talent Management
  • Diversity & Inclusion

Big Data in Corporate Relocation

One of the most recent big changes that we’ve been hearing lately is an increase in the need to apply big data. The promise and hype of big data has led companies to believe virtually any question about their customers – or employees, in the case of HR – can now be answered with enough data mining and analysis.The problem? While data can be tremendously useful for improving business functions like corporate relocation, too many companies focus on the “big” and not the “data,” going down a seemingly endless rabbit hole.

TOO MUCH DATA

According to an IBM study, 90% of all the data in the world has been created in the past two years, with people generating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. (That’s 2.5 billion gigabytes, enough to fill 78.1 million base-model iPhones.) The amount of data captured every day, frankly, is too vast to comprehend, and few companies are collecting, analyzing and securing it all in an efficient manner.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?

The best way to make your data efforts manageable is to start with your company or department’s goals that your relocation strategies support. This, in turn, will help you determine the data specific to those goals you should capture and analyze. For example, if there’s a company goal to increase efficiency and productivity, you could start with minimizing the time spent reviewing exceptions to your company’s relocation policy. To do so, you could track those requests throughout the year and identify the most common ones, along with the amount of time your HR department spends on them. While there might be a cost to adding these benefits, it could ultimately save money by improving productivity, as well as making your relocation package more competitive within your industry.

There are other common issues like failed assignments, retention rates and recruitment success that a simple data strategy can help address. If you’re not sure how your relocation efforts relate to your company’s overarching goals, this could be a great opportunity to meet with leadership to make sure they are aligned.

HOW TO SHARE DATA?

Many executives prefer to make decisions based on data, but that doesn’t mean they want a 20-page report of numbers and charts. They are far more likely to understand and recall your findings and recommendations when the data is “translated” into a visual like a graph or infographic. One study shows that people only remember 20% of text without a visual.

Do you have questions about the best way to share data throughout your organization? Contact us today!

Cyber Threats and Relocation: Keeping Your Company and Employees Safe and Secure

Contrary to many TV shows and movies, most data hacks aren’t solely the work of a computer mastermind. One of the biggest risks a company faces is from those employees who have access to sensitive information like customer records. While some data security incidents can be caused by a disgruntled employee who maliciously steals and/or releases the information, two common causes of data hacks are from an employee accidentally releasing malware into your system and third-party businesses and partners who compromise the data. According to a 2017 Dell survey, nearly half (45%) of employees engage in some amount of unsafe behavior during the workday. These actions can include connecting to unsafe WIFI or a personal email to access confidential work and losing a company work device.

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR ORGANIZATION

After all this, it might seem like a forgone conclusion that a data hack is imminent for your company. While no company should consider themselves immune from one, there are a number of steps and safeguards organizations can implement to protect themselves from cyber threats. These include having a formalized data security policy and incorporating data security best practices into your employee onboarding and ongoing training.

MOST COMMON PHISHING SCAMS

According to Symantec’s 2017 Internet Security Threat Report, email remains the most common entry point for malware into an organization. Some of the most common “tricks” for hackers that employees should look out for include:

  • Dangerous attachments and links – particularly invoices: One of the ways hackers are most successful in gaining access to a company’s network is by sending employees emails with fraudulent links or attachments that appear to be about important business matters – most commonly, invoices. It’s not a surprise as no one wants to be late on an invoice. However, these often include an .exe file that runs a program designed to give a hacker remote access to the computer.
  • Slightly “off” email addresses: The general rule of thumb is to only open messages from known contacts. So, naturally, hackers are now attempting to have their messages appear to be from someone the recipient already knows or a seemingly reputable organization. They’ll do so by changing a letter or adding a hyphen to the email domain. For example, an email domain may normally appear as “@companyname.com,” whereas the fraudulent version would appear as, “@company-name.com.” If the tone or content of a message appears off, look to see if the email address is a fake one.
  • “You’ve been hacked” popup: Another common trick are popups alerting a person of a hack. They look and read like an official warning, urging the user to either click on a link or install a program to resolve the problem. What this really does is give a hacker access to the computer, and subsequently, the network to which it is connected.

These days, with more and more information stored online, it’s critical to make sure that not only is your platform secure, but that your employees understand the many different threats that can potentially harm your business.

Aligning talent management with global mobility

Global mobility is becoming an increasingly important aspect of any relocation strategy for companies with international aspirations. It covers the “nuts and bolts” of international assignments: tax compliance for the different destination countries, immigration laws, logistics associated with the shipment of household goods, etc.

But even the best global mobility program will fall short if it isn’t paired with the right talent. At the end of the day, an international assignment’s success hinges on both the employee’s job qualifications and their ability to handle the challenges associated with relocating to a foreign country.A failed international assignment can cost up to $76,000. And yet, part of the assignment’s success (or lack thereof) is often because of move details handled by global mobility. With how seemingly intertwined global mobility and talent management are, you’d think most companies would merge the two when it comes to their international relocation goals. However, only 10 percent of multinational companies align these two disciplines.

Here are a few tips to help you and your company balance talent management and global mobility when it comes to international relocation.

MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS ON THE SAME PAGE

Does your HR department know the company’s international agenda or new business goals for global growth? The first step in aligning talent management with global mobility is communicating this agenda to those who’ll be in charge of recruiting and hiring the individuals who will fill these posts. From here, global mobility can identify the logistics and compliance issues associated with the targeted countries while HR begins to determine possible candidates.

Also, don’t make these plans a huge secret. Share your global agenda with the staff so they can express their interest in potential assignments, and when possible, offer professional development opportunities that can prepare them for international assignments.

CLEARY DEFINE THE “IDEAL HIRE” FOR INTERNATIONAL ASSIGNMENTS

International assignment candidates not only need to be competent for the job at hand, they also need to be up for the personal challenges that can come with an international move – being away from friends and family, acclimating to a new culture, and often, learning a new language. A few general things to look for are leadership skills, the ability to adjust to new culture, multilingual skills and experience working or studying abroad. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on this process because so much of an international assignment’s success depends on finding the right person for the job.

And while this may seem like a step solely for talent management, global mobility’s insight regarding all the compliance issues that a candidate will face will be critical in determining the “ideal hire.”

HELP GLOBAL ASSIGNEES ADAPT TO A NEW CULTURE

Step one is making sure the assignee has a smooth relocation process – another area for global mobility to shine. Problems with immigration or delayed household goods shipments can make an employee and their family immediately start questioning the move. Help them prepare the paperwork they’ll need to complete and update them on exactly when they can expect their belongings.

One of the other common complaints from international transferees is that they struggle with acclimating themselves to their new country. Invest in resources that will help international assignees adapt to new cultures. Do the research and create guides of host countries and cities where your company is also located. Include things like neighborhoods to live in, commuter tips and common social norms like greetings and attire. There also are some great online tools that can help “newly minted expats” adapt to life overseas.

If you have questions or concerns about how the best way to approach helping international transferees get up to speed as quickly and easily as possible, contact us today!

Diversity and Inclusion – Is It Time to Revise Your Relocation Policy?

More and more, companies are seeing the value of a diverse workforce. Not only does it help the organization reflect the nation’s, and the world’s, increasingly diverse population, it also helps bring new ideas and perspectives to common business challenges. And as individuals with different backgrounds and needs come on board, it’s necessary that companies subsequently review their policies to ensure that they are inclusive of everyone. Without question, this includes relocation policies.

On one hand, part of the benefit of relocation policies is the consistency they bring – no more spending excessive time and resources developing a relocation package for each and every transferee. A proper policy should provide the common move-related needs of your employees. But it’s important to consider how narrowly you may be defining “common,” and if certain employees are excluded from receiving the same level of benefits as others.

Arguably the best way to ensure your policy’s benefits are inclusive of your workforce’s diverse needs is to do an internal audit. Whether through focus groups or surveys – or a combination of both – asking your employees directly about what offerings they’d prefer will give you clearer insight and help them feel cared for.

DOES YOUR POLICY ACCOMMODATE DIFFERENT NEEDS?

Whether by design or not, many relocation policies traditionally have been written for married employees who have children and own a home. It’s fair to say, this isn’t reflective of everyone in your organization. Does your policy offer “equal benefits” to those with different needs, such as younger millennials or single parents? For example, a common relocation “perk” is some degree of home-sale assistance. But not everyone owns a home. In fact, more millennials are opting to rent instead of buy for a variety of reasons. Adding rental assistance benefits can be more accommodating to this demographic.

WHO IS COVERED UNDER YOUR POLICY?

For those policies that include benefits for immediate family members, how does your policy identify those individuals? For example, caring for elderly parents is the cultural norm for many ethnicities. Given your employee base, does it make sense to include relocation assistance for these individuals as well? Conversely, fewer organizations are including domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples, unless they are married, preferring to have the same standard apply to all employees.

IS THE POLICY LANGUAGE INCLUSIVE?

Part of your review shouldn’t only be of the specific offerings of your package, but also the language used to outline everything. More than a third of employees are minorities, half are women, and more than 10 million Americans identify as LBGTIQ. Rarely is exclusive language used in such documents intentionally, but unintentional biases can and do occur, leaving many feeling marginalized when reading over your company’s materials. Harvard’s Professional Development Program has some helpful tips for making your policies more inclusive.

As has always been the case, there’s no right answer for what benefits your relocation policy should include being considered “inclusive.” It simply should meet the needs of your employees, which starts with routinely assessing the assistance they need to have a seamless relocation. It shouldn’t be assumed that everything is OK just because you haven’t heard otherwise from your employees. Not everyone is comfortable speaking up and being proactive with issues like this can be a strong and positive message to your employees. If your policy hasn’t evolved with your organization’s workforce, it might be time to look things over.