Articles on how HR can take a more strategic approach towards relocation management.
HR professionals beware! Your field may be nearing its expiration date.
While some have predicted that software will streamline administrative HR practices to the point that the actual human element in the “human resources” department will be obsolete, others see this new technology as offering an opportunity for growth.
Switching relocation partners can be a daunting task. You have to meet a lot of folks, go through an extensive RFP process, sit in on presentations, travel to sites and then make your choice. Once that choice is made, you may feel a bit of relief. But, wait. Saying congratulations at this point might be premature. There are still many decisions to make, and processes to set in place, in for a smooth move. With the right partner and a solid transition team in place, however, you should be poised for success.
According to a 2012 report by Ernst and Young on M&A activity, mergers and acquisitions are expected to increase in 2013. I can believe it as many of my clients today are either in the middle of a merger or have gone through one recently. Certainly, mergers and acquisitions are an important tool in the corporate strategy tool belt as companies aim to capitalize on new innovations, reduce costs or enter new markets. But, mergers and acquisitions are tough. More than 50 percent of mergers and acquisitions fail and more than 80 percent fail to enhance shareholder value.
Manpower Group’s 7th annual Talent Shortage Survey through me for a loop. I’m surprised that even at a time when unemployment is at an all-time high, we still have a talent shortage in the U.S. Apparently, a talent shortage is different from unemployed. I am certainly not insinuating that the unemployed are not a talented group of people but, according to this survey, the U.S. ranks among the top five countries experiencing a talent drought.
Last week, while I was sitting on a plane traveling back from a series of prospect meetings, I pondered the ultimate sales question: what are companies really looking for when selecting service providers? For the most part, service providers provide similar services and get the job done in one way or another. Relocation services are pretty much that same as other services, although I will argue that relocation providers need to have an inherent sense of sensitivity and care. We aren’t making widgets here – we are guiding living, breathing families through a stressful life change.
Last week we released a free whitepaper on how to survive the transition between relocation providers. Of course, the first step for any successful transition is to set up a reliable team of professionals that will get the job done, soup to nuts. But, I would argue that every relocation manager should have an internal support team at the ready, regardless of the current state of the relocation program. This way, should any changes be needed, all of the functions impacted by relocation – from payroll to IT – will be available to provide insight and make informed decisions about the program.
Earlier this year, we wrote a whitepaper on the common reasons why companies decide to evaluate their relocation programs – and their relocation partners. We were seeing a flurry of proposal activity from a variety of different sectors, which led us to believe that the companies, previously steadfast on service partnership, were now looking for a better option. Given economic fluctuations, turmoil abroad, cost-cutting efforts and a need for greater service, this was understandable. What started as a due diligence exercise, has led many of these companies to draw anchor and change course.
There are some RFP trends out there that I find puzzling. Now, I’m not anti-RFP. We always put forth our best efforts for the RFPs that come in. I actually find it rewarding to have an opportunity to distinguish our approach to service delivery and cost containment. What puzzles me is how complicated, long and redundant they have become – even as companies are working harder now, more than ever, to be efficient with time and costs across the board. You would hope this would lead to a more concise RFP process, but the opposite has happened.
Why is this happening?
I think that anyone who works in the relocation industry has experienced their fair share of stress on the job. Whether you are an internal relocation manager or you work for a relocation services company, it’s the job to handle as many aspects of a transferee’s move as possible in a seamless, simple and stress free way. Not only does it take a ton of experience and know-how to do so, but relocating is naturally one of life’s most stressful events and relocation professionals often bear the brunt of tempers and anxiety. Consequently, relocation environments are hot beds for stress and HR needs to proactive about helping employees through it in a productive and thoughtful way.