Resilience in Relocation: Reflections on the Future of the Industry

For an industry whose focus is on people and movement of people, the shut downs in travel, border closures, employment loss, and a battered economy have severely impacted relocation companies around the world. But the core underpinnings of what we value and excel at as relocation professionals has never been more important: connecting, understanding, listening, being responsive, and supporting people through life’s big changes is what we do best.

This is our calling, and this moment could be a pivotal one in the definition of the future of relocation.

The difference now is adapting to where we can best focus our energy.

Mobility professionals must connect with their clients and employees to understand their unique environment and where their priorities and roadblocks may lie in the months ahead. These are uncharted waters, and clear communication and rigorous attention to detail is essential to success!

One of the most frequent complaints we have heard over the last few months in the industry is from relocating employees who have been transferred mid-pandemic. On top of the stress and pressures that normally come with a relocation, the individual must now acquaint themselves with a new office (remotely), settle in to working from (a new) home, and support their family in a new community (to which they cannot physically connect).

This is not a reprimand of any relocation consultant or company – on the contrary! It speaks to how un-transactional our work is becoming and our key position in the process – made all the more poignant through the relative isolation we are all experiencing at the moment.

The biggest challenge for companies right now is twofold: ensuring people feel as though they are valued and cared for, while remaining proactive, flexible, and adaptive to change. This is the very definition of “duty of care” – the mantra of our industry. Those who recognize this, who are most empathetic to it, and who are most innovative and responsive, will come out ahead in terms of employee retention and reputation.

So what does this all mean for the future of relocation? We have some ideas:

One size does not fit all.

More than ever, RMCs are going to need to bring targeted expertise to their clients, be this through service area, industry focus, or geography. RMCs should demonstrate their expertise through frequent communication with clients to help them anticipate potential changes ahead. They must also find ways of being innovative and value-add, and differentiate themselves from the competition. The question is, who is nimble, resourceful, and well enough connected to pivot and respond quickly?

Connected while apart.

Everyone wants personal, high-touch, and comfort right now. One thing we all miss from being in an office environment is personal interaction. Technology has helped to keep us together, but differently. It has, in some ways, demanded an increased authenticity in our interactions. If you want to be relevant, you’d better find ways to be personal.

Service over scale.

Those RMCs that have built a reputation for being more personal, high touch, connected, and dedicated should be well-positioned to fill critical gaps and support their clients. Large, homogenous, wide-scope, transactional service providers may not be the gold standard in the future. Just because you’re a small shop doesn’t mean you can’t service a big company. RCI is proud to have very recently renewed our contract with a major international tech firm for the above reasons.

Focus on the individual.

People’s mindsets have unequivocally changed. What an employee or relocating employee may have prioritized eight months ago is not the same today, and successful companies are responding with flexible work arrangements and relocation programs. With relocation and HR functions becoming more complex in remote environments, exceptional service from relocation consultants can make a huge difference in the success of the transferee.

What really needs to move?

Savvy employers are taking a hard look at where their resources need to be in order to get the job done. Does the employee move to the job or does the job move to the employee? Relocation today is less about the mechanics of the move than the fit for the assignment. RMCs can assist with helping clients enhance their internal processes to ensure pre-vetting, competence, and overall fit for the individual and family are carefully considered before booking a mover – if at all.

We look forward to bringing you more insights on the future of mobility in the months ahead. If you have questions, comments, or would like to engage in the conversation, please get in touch at  sueh@relocationcoordinates.com.

 



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