It’s that time of year again. The New Year. 2023! How can it already be? But, alas, we have successfully journeyed one more year around the sun and can now embrace all that may come to fruition in the year ahead. As world events continue to unfold, we have no doubt that 2023 will present its challenges. But, with great challenge comes great opportunity. Opportunity that XONEX is ready to embrace. As we look to the future, we happily predict that we will share meaningful moments with our clients (in person this year!) as we together strategize on how to maximize the value of relocation programs, while also supporting lofty talent acquisition and retention goals.
It's also a time of year that all of us at XONEX reflect on the partnership we bring to our clients. It is Baker’s Dozen season, after all, so we are currently asking all of you: are we serving you well? We take our job seriously and we feel strongly that a great provider must 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.
But, that said, what is it that stands out about a partnership at the end of the day? Surely, we must all come to the table with great IT, cyber security, extensive reporting, cutting-edge programs, and reliable supplier partnerships. In the end, however, what facilitates the most success? We've come to the conclusion that the most important intangible part of the relocation equation is trust. In fact, I think you can apply this to any industry. Whether you are hiring an accounting firm, a lawyer, or a mover, it all boils down to two questions: are you on my team and can you help me win? Any good service provider should understand this concept and, in return, every strategic HR professional that outsources should know how to find it.
So, how do you determine if your relocation management company is a trustworthy partner? Based on several discussions that we have had with peers, prospects, clients, and friends, there are five components to a trusted relationship:
Transparency. It’s important that your partner is transparent, that critical information is shared and that any fees and costs are properly disclosed. If they can’t be up front with you at the beginning of the relationship, what makes you think they will be upfront later? Relocation is a sensitive benefit with a lot of moving parts that impact two very important areas: the corporate bottom line and valuable human capital. You need to be in the know.
Accessibility. Is your partner there for you when you need them? This really goes for any partnership, but in relocation it’s critical. You, and your transferees, should be able to reach your relocation company when you need to. Do you have access to leadership? Are your concerns acknowledged and addressed in good time? If you find yourself in the land of unreturned phone calls and emails, then you need to re-evaluate your partner’s commitment. Whether you are a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond, shouldn’t make a difference.
Communication. The best teams in the world succeed because they communicate efficiently and clearly. You must have an open-door communication policy. Does your provider freely make policy suggestions based on industry changes? Are they open to suggestions and process changes without getting defensive? Do they do what they said they will do? Communication is everything in a partnership and it should never be one-sided.
Accountability. Perfection does not exist and anyone who says otherwise is lying to you. A great partner will always hold themselves – and their partner network – accountable when mistakes happen. While a simple concept, we don’t often see this come alive in practice.
Partnership. The best relocation companies will act as an extension of your organization – essentially, your right arm. This means that they will work to learn and understand your corporate culture, motivations, recruitment and retention strategies, and your budget. They shouldn’t try to change you and the way you do things to conform to a one-sized fits all program. In fact, while best practices and benchmarking are a key components to good decision-making, relocation programs must fit within the general context of culture, finances and company goals. Surely, if something can be done better it should be addressed – but it needs to make sense for your business, your budget and your talent.