What’s the Value of a Global Footprint?

December 9, 2014

During the RFP process, many corporations express a desire for the Relocation Management Company (RMC) to have a physical, brick-and-mortar office in each destination location where their employees may relocate. Yet, in a world where corporations are rapidly expanding into new markets, and people are increasingly using technology to manage their lives (and their relocations), how does brick-and-mortar fit into that equation? It’s a key question that corporations should consider in selecting the right RMC for global moves and assignments.

The Value of Brick-and-Mortar
Corporations want to ensure success for employees who are undertaking a global move or assignment. Global moves can be extremely expensive and the risk of failure can be high. Therefore, corporations place a high value on having “local” assistance available to the employee. The definition of local assistance can vary by corporation. Some might define it as having someone in-city, while others may see local as the RMC having an office in the same time zone or region as the employee’s destination. In a typical Request for Proposal (RFP) process, this translates into the RMC needing to have offices in or near specific destination locations for the corporation to have a comfort level for assistance in the same time zone or region as the employee.

Doing the Math: What’s Possible?
The world is a big place, and companies continue to expand into new countries and remote locations as global economies develop and market opportunities appear. For many companies, the global footprint they have today will be very different from their footprint three years from now. In addition, it is impossible for any RMC to maintain a brick-and-mortar office in every possible city where an employee may move. The cost of doing so is prohibitive, and the ability for an RMC to quickly establish additional offices can be hindered by local government restrictions. Therefore, it must be acknowledged that brick-and-mortar has limitations in meeting the need for a true local presence.

Brick and Mortar Realities
Even when an RMC has an office in the same city or region, it is unlikely that the employee will ever meet the RMC Consultant working on their move. At best, a closer local or regional location offers the advantage of same time-zone communications.

In addition, when evaluating an RFP, it can be difficult to determine how the RMC defines the term, “office.” Does office mean a staff of 15 people with management staff and IT support or one person working from a home office? Both descriptions may suit your needs, but it is wise to understand what each office offers you and your employees.

The Real Need
Currently, the only real “in city” assistance the employee receives is from a local destination services provider or rental assistance company. These services are limited to those directly associated with becoming acclimated to the new location or finding housing. The real need in a global move is for the employee to have access to assistance on a full spectrum of relocation or assignment issues, when they need it, from someone who is in-city; not just in the same time zone. It would be ideal for the employee to have a local representative who can help manage the entire move or manage situations as they arise.

Unique Solutions
Advancements in technology can provide the framework for RMCs to offer unique solutions to meet specific needs. One example of this is a new approach to global relocation, called NuCompass OnSite. OnSite combines the power of technology with in-city, personalized assistance to employees through a local certified OnSite Agent. Through a technology platform that allows NuCompass to share pertinent information about each individual move with all participants, the OnSite Agent is empowered to assist the employee with any issues regarding their move or assignment – not just home finding or settling-in. This assistance happens locally, with an OnSite Agent that the employee has met – not with someone who just shares a time zone or regional connection.

Selecting the Right RMC
When evaluating global footprint models of various RMCs, consider these points in your review:

  1. To what locations do you currently move employees?
  2. Where might employees need to be placed in the next 3-5 years?
  3. What level of assistance are you seeking for employees?
  4. What does “local” assistance mean to you?
  5. What services should be delivered in-person?
  6. How would you define a local office (distance, staff availability, number of employees, etc.)?
  7. How does your definition of local office compare to the RMC’s definition or description?
  8. What innovative ways has the RMC implemented to improve local support for employees?

Having the answers to these questions will help you define your needs and select the best RMC for your company. If you are issuing an RFP, be certain to share current and future global destinations for your employees. This allows the RMCs to more effectively match their capabilities to your specific needs.

Written by Paul Sorrentino,
Vice President, Corporate Partnerships

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