Coping with Coronavirus - making positive steps in the face of adversity

Updated: Apr 15





Coronavirus has created a scary and uncertain time for everyone.


In Global Mobility, first and foremost the priority has been to ensure everyone’s safety around the world. Whether relocations have been put on hold, temporary living apartments extended or travel dates set to the future, relocations have obviously stopped to help contain the pandemic.


With this freeze on movement, it has perhaps created an opportunity to take a look at that ongoing “to-do” list and look at ways to enhance the employee experience.Here are some examples to think about;

●      Revisit your policies.


The Global Mobility market is constantly changing and to ensure your policy stays relevant, don’t be afraid to challenge it. Is your package offering competitive enough to prevent talent choosing a career with another company? Are you seeing too many exceptions for a service that might require a change? Have you seen an increase in relocations ending early? If so, is there a trend as to why - would a day of Cross Cultural Training have helped your employee settle in more successfully? This might sound silly, but does your policy make it clear to your expats what they are entitled to?


I have seen examples where historic policies are being used but certain elements are not clear….however a lack of time has prevented the required changes being implemented.

●      “We have always done it like that”


….how many times have we heard this? I can tell you if I had £1 every time I have, I would be writing this while sitting next to my indoor pool in my mansion in Chelsea. This is an opportunity to challenge processes. Relocation is more than just a process but the process helps ensure the employee has the best possible experience.


One point to consider is the initial contact with the employee. There is a wealth of information for the employee to consume so are you approaching that first impression in the right way? If you have an RMC heavily involved, could they join to avoid adding another call to the employees' busy schedule? We are all learning the importance of video calling at this time - can this be implemented to make the first impression more personable? Do you have the technology to make this happen?

●      Are you up to date with key legislation changes?


Our knowledge of Global Mobility and local nuances is one of the challenging aspects of our industry. The first challenge is to learn it and the second challenge is to keep it up to date! Brexit was the previous big talking point (I bet you haven’t heard the B word mentioned in a while!) but both Brexit and COVID-19 have and will result in; immigration changes, custom changes for shipments; impact to local housing markets.


If you work with an RMC, make sure they proactively keep you informed via Supply Chain updates. Sign up to immigration alerts via supplier websites, such as; Fragomen, KPMG, EY, PwC etc. Ensure you are signed up to receive alerts via the government websites….you may find yourself with a flurry of e-mails at key world events such as now but it is vital to stay up to date.

●       Are you making the most of your suppliers technology offerings?


At times, we are all guilty of focusing on dealing with the here and now and sometimes overlook making the most of what suppliers can offer you. Would a report available through your suppliers dashboard help with those last minute report requests from stakeholders? Can you gather cost savings which will help promote the GM team internally? Can you get real-time updates via your supplier portal that you can access?


Graebel’s Annual State of Mobility Report 2020, demonstrates just how important Online Tracking Tools are to the employee experience. From a 2019 survey on the features that most enhance the employee experience, Online Tracking came second with 17%.


Make sure you know what is available to the employee and request usage reports to ensure your population are using what is available to them.


I have often seen examples where technology is demonstrated at implementation but then forgotten as the partnership goes live. Ask your suppliers to demo their technology offerings again.


[1][MOU2]  A 2019 KPMG International survey found that of the 250 organisations that participated, 11% were unsure of where the GM data is stored – now is the time to find out!




●      Even small things like creating reminders of when your expats birthdays are.


Sending an e-mail to wish them a Happy Birthday can really add to the employee experience. Although in my case, I prefer not to be reminded of being another year older!

I hope some of these are helpful and give you something to think about…..and perhaps I should finish this blog by saying, sorry if I have added to your to do list!! Stay safe!

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