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Flexible Working Arrangements

By | London, Relocate, UK, Uncategorized | No Comments

This piece by Jason Waite, CLR’s Founder and CEO was included in the International HR Adviser newsletter which went out in March 2016

It’s in the Air… No, not Tonight. Nothing to do with Phil Collins at all actually; showing my age here!

Richard is talking about it, so it’s getting some serious exposure as he flies the flag for Virgin. Leading…

It’s the buzz of the corporate cafeteria, CEO’s, SME’s, HR, employees etc.

Working hours are out! Gone, over, done. It’s a new era…

It really is a terrific idea, but is that all it is?

Undoubtedly sentiment is shifting towards employers providing better working environments for their employees, better experiences, endeavouring to demonstrate recognition and encouraging them to stay as valued individuals.

Empowering employees to own responsibility for their time and workload sounds great, but if their workload doesn’t permit them to embrace this is, it just a bit of a charade?

I recently read how an employee was referred to HR and reprimanded because she was just 2 minutes late; over the permitted 5 minutes, but the same employee is invariably found at her desk far beyond her contracted hours, and HR are seldom there to congratulate her.

Point is, that there’s definitely a case for flexible hours but is it achievable with today’s workload?

Are we ahead of the game in Mobility? Flexible working hours are widespread in the industry, and of course as we assist the tech-world we witness the new practices and flexibility embraced to attract and retain those ‘key’ staff, the ‘Talent’.

Together with Mr Branson, the Tech-world is certainly leading the way in this regard, but possibly this industry is more suited to such a flexible working arrangement?

How does Facebook do it? Reportedly Facebookers are the happiest of corporate employees on the block!

Mobility is a People Business – Do You Care?

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The following article was written by CLR’s Founder & CEO, Jason Waite, and appeared in the 2015/2016 Winter edition of International HR Adviser.

Show-Me-The-Money!

It may not have been your cup of tea (I’m  British…), and it’s now synonymous with the very amusing one-liner “Show-me-the-money!”, but I liked Jerry Maguire and still do. Why? Because of its core message. We can change things, let’s make it better, it’s not just about business. So let’s put a little heart back into it…

For corporate giants and SMEs worldwide, it’s all business. However, the one thing that every successful company relies on, is built upon, is their people and those people are usually very difficult to find and hire. Once you’ve got them, you definitely want to make sure you hold onto them. Good people, your people, are not only the foundation on which a company is built, but also what will help it evolve, develop and grow; without them, you’re going nowhere. And let’s face it, they’re often tough to hang on to, and that’s why caring is so essential when it comes to moving them around the world.

Caring, in my opinion, is a word that is well and truly under-utilised in the world of mobility, relocation and frankly many other  industries;  people  are  seemingly scared to use it. But it’s at the very essence of what good service should be based upon, and caring makes all the difference when it comes to delivery. Your team, your employees, your “family”, whatever your corporate culture may be, it is your people that make it happen. And guess what? We’re in a people business!

In fact, we’re in the people business; people services, human resources, mobility management, etc. Call it what you will, but ultimately we’re not just moving boxes! Our business is all about people and the corporate world is very much aligned with us. Think about it. Over the last 5 years or so the dynamic has noticeably shifted quite seriously towards people in the business world, more so than ever before. We’re in an age where some of the most successful companies of today, including Uber, Facebook, AirBnB and Alibaba have little else other than their people. And it’s trending! Yes, they have technology, of course, but guess  what? That’s developed, built and managed by people, too.

Another trending development is the growth in mobility, because by all accounts it’s set to soar, not least within the technology sector of course, but generally across industry. Mobility is very much at the fore for today’s leading businesses and it is becoming a serious consideration for them when it comes to making strategic decisions. The days of just shooting from the hip and fixing the problems later are numbered. Global regulations are getting tighter and fines are getting greater. $400,000 was a disclosed fine recently imposed upon a major corporation for a failure to adhere to protocol in moving a critical business team. Never  before has it been more important that detailed planning along with consideration for the employee, and of course their family, is undertaken to ensure a successful move. As a consequence, companies are becoming more and more conscious of the impact a move has on both the business and the employee’s life, and we need to meet the demand accordingly. Times are changing!

So that old-school attitude of “just get the job done” simply doesn’t wash anymore. It never did to be honest, but somehow when  globalisation took grip, and with it mobility exploded, that awful word snuck in and took root: “Complacency”; it’s just another move, a number, a file, etc. It was that very attitude that I observed just a few years back whilst working as a home-search consultant which spurred me on to start up my own relocation company; together with much encouragement from many of the  400+ employees I personally assisted over those early years. I felt it could be done better, there was clearly scope in the marketplace for an improved offering and now 3+ years in the making I’m proving it can!

Similarly to what we’ve seen on the high streets in the UK these last  5+ years, and worldwide to be fair; I travel quite a bit for work these days. The local butchers, the greengrocer, the fishmonger, Charlotte’s café, Dean’s deli, they’re all back, and back by demand! The resurgence of the high street; local goods and local people, I feel has been driven through people wanting less of the “the computer says no”, and more of the genuine “How may I help you?” Like I said, we’re not just moving boxes. It’s not just a service order, a reference or purchase order number. We’re not making sausages here, or ‘bangers’ as we say in the UK! It’s not a production line, etc.

What an employee undertakes when relocating, often together with their family, can only be described as a seismic event. Their world as they know it alters overnight. We pick them up, turn their everyday reality inside out and put them down again, somewhere new, whilst challenging and changing everything that underpins one’s life, and I mean the fundamentals: food, water and shelter. Not to mention the cultural change, the local system to comprehend, family considerations such as schooling, absence of family and friends, etc. It’s a very long list as you are no doubt already well aware. So to say that they need support is an understatement.

Putting ourselves in their shoes, in my opinion, is essential. How  would  you feel? So going the extra mile to listen, understand, guide, help and ensure that the employee / family have the best chance of making a successful move and settling in quickly is imperative. And that’s not to mention the business case, the investment of  both  time  and  money  and  strategic importance of the move to the business!

After all, it’s long proven that happy people are productive people and ultimately that’s what a successful business needs to be successful!

All in all, I’m so pleased I watched that movie, so thanks Jerry. And I’m sure that it isn’t just me on a “caring” crusade, and no, I’m not scared to use the word. Let’s do it better!

Right To Rent

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Who exactly does it benefit?

We are all familiar with the 2014 Immigration Act which aims to curb the influx of illegal immigrants in the UK. But with the introduction of the new “Right To Rent” Legislation, motioned from 1 February 2016, professionals from all sectors of mobility are forced to ask: who exactly does it benefit?

This new legislation dictates that UK landlords could face penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant should they fail to carry out detailed checks on their tenants’ right to rent in the UK, a move that is supposed to prevent landlords from knowingly renting out their properties to illegal immigrants. But some people argue that this new piece of legislation will have a different kind of impact, believing that landlords will simply just become reluctant to rent out their properties to anyone with a foreign background, causing a whole new debate as to whether it is going to increase discrimination against minority ethnicities. In a recent study, 27% of landlords said that they are less likely to engage with those with a foreign accent or name, and 42% said that the new Right to Rent Legislation has made them less likely to consider someone who does not have a British passport. However according to a pilot scheme that ran for 6 months in the West Midlands, there were “no major differences” for rentals between white British and any other ethnic tenants. The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) members seems to think that they are in a no win situation, believing that they could either “take a restrictive view with prospective tenants,” potentially causing difficulties for the 12 million UK citizens without a passport or “target certain individuals to conduct the checks,” thus opening themselves up to accusations of racism. It is a hard one to judge.

There has also been concern that the homeless will struggle now even more to find housing, as many of them do not have passports or visas, and may find it hard to obtain them. Six of the local charities in the surveyed area said that people they represent had become homeless due to the Right to Rent legislation, or were struggling to find somewhere to live. Immigration minister, James Brokenshire, says that these checks are “quick and simple” and are about “deterring those who are illegally resident from remaining in the UK. Those with a legitimate right to be here will be able to prove this easily and will not be adversely affected.” So that begs the question; what about those who can’t?

Of course, there are benefits. Strict rules and required follow up checks will ensure that any lazy or careless landlords are punished and will encourage property owners to be more responsible in the future. It will also make sure that illegal immigrants have less places to hide, although once found, it is unsure of the action that will be taken.

So does this new act benefit landlords (and us) by ensuring they do not unknowingly welcome illegal immigrants into their properties, or does it cloud their judgement when assessing prospective tenants, meaning they find it harder to let their properties, costing them money and intensifying the ever present issue of racism and discrimination?

The value of home search assistance to lump sum assignees

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Demonstrating the quantitative value of home search assistance to lump sum assignees

Lump sum relocation packages have seen a significant resurgence in recent years, notably, through growing organisations seeking to relocate high volumes of employees on one way permanent transfers.

As a destination services provider, we have experienced first-hand that, for high volume relocations, generic relocation programmes are unlikely to cater to the needs of each assignee to a satisfactory level when taking into account differences in personal circumstances, culture of the home country, etc. Assignees are left feeling like a number – something that, at CLR, we work exceptionally hard to tackle.

The premise of a lump sum package is to ensure greater cost control and reduced administrative burdens for the company whilst offering increased flexibility for the assignee. Assignees are provided with an upfront cash payment to cover all of their mobility programme or to cover additional services that individuals may require as an extension of a basic programme.

Predictably, however, when presented with a significant amount of money to cover the relocation, the focus of an assignee can often turn to saving this money rather than paying for assistance, particularly, it seems, for rental home searches.

In personal terms, for an assignee to pay the cost of a 1 or 2 day home search is quite significant, particularly due to the ease of use of property portals and prevalence of high street lettings agents. Hence, often, an assignee will not look to engage a provider for assistance.

However, using simple terms, we feel it is worth conveying the quantitative value of home search assistance to an assignee. In 2015, CLR saved each of our assignees an average of £914* and that’s net income!

Pitch this against the upfront cost of a home search package and effectively the assistance is virtually free of charge. Add to this the insights, help and advice from our consultants, and suddenly an assignee receives a very cost effective and hassle free package…

*The figure was calculated based on rental savings against property asking prices, and reduction of agency charges over the course of a 12 month tenancy, from all of our 2015 home search cases.