Re:locate THE MAGAZINE FOR HR & RELOCATION PROFESSIONALS Summer Issue 2010
Rising from the ashes Finding solutions LQGLIÀFXOW FLUFXPVWDQFHV
Reinventing the tutor 7KHVHFUHWWRD FKLOG·VVXFFHVV"
Managing FKDQJH Keeping a lid on hostility
READ ABOUT OUR FANTASTIC AWARD WINNERS!
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5HHGLWRU·VOHWWHU Fiona Murchie looks at what’s in store this issue
Re:news & views Key industry happenings, personalities and comment
5HKRWWRSLF In the wake of the volcano, what can we learn for relocation?
5HKHDOWKDQGVHFXULW\ Putting employee wellbeing at the top of the agenda, plus planning for emergencies
Re:strategy Managing relocation change and averting hostility
Re:awards Special supplement featuring details of the winners and the stories behind their success
5HHGXFDWLRQ Tutors and guardians have been reinvented for the 21st century
Re:employee support Introducing a smart solution to relocatee concerns
“Our new Smart
TheTeam Managing Editor: Fiona Murchie firstname.lastname@example.org
Move website includes vital support and advice for relocatees.”
Design & Photography: Andy Newson email@example.com Sub Editors: Anna Lambert, Louise Whitson Advertising: Barrie Barradell firstname.lastname@example.org
Address Re:locate Magazine Spray Hill Hastings Road Lamberhurst Kent TN3 8JB Tel: 01892 891334
Tel: 01892 891334 6XEVFULEH www.relocatemagazine.com email@example.com
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ard to believe that Re:locate celebrates its sixth birthday this summer – and gratifying to reflect on just how far we’ve come as the UK’s leading publication for HR and relocation professionals. One great example of our commitment to keeping you one step ahead in the relocation game is our constantly-evolving website, which we’ve recently updated with a fresh new look and new sections, including more information on international and regional destinations. It’s an ideal port of call if you’re looking at investing in a specific area or simply relocating staff there. We’re particularly excited about our new Smart Move website. Designed specifically for relocating staff and with a regular, free online newsletter, it includes vital up-tothe-minute information on countries and regions, plus support and advice from the trusted Re:locate source. Pass it on to your colleagues abroad, so that they can, in turn, pass it on to staff. Smart Move launches in the autumn, so sign up now for your free online newsletter! Within this issue of the magazine, in the light of the recent disruption caused by volcanic ash, our Hot Topic looks at crisis management in such situations and how best to support employees and their families. Thanks to our website, we were able to offer advice very promptly; this is something we’ll continue to do as and when major events occur. Finally, don’t miss our Awards Special, which features inspirational case studies from the winners of our third Re:locate Awards – a great night of celebration, and an excellent springboard into what we’re confident will be another great year! Fiona Murchie Managing Editor
Coming in the AUTUMN 2010 issue of Re:locate magazine t REPATRIATION A critical, but easily overlooked, part of any international assignment © 2010. Re:locate is published by Proﬁle Locations, Spray Hill, Hastings Road, Lamberhurst, Kent TN3 8JB. All rights reserved. This publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of Proﬁle Locations. Proﬁle Locations accepts no liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein. ISSN 1743-9566.
t TALENT MANAGEMENT Latest thinking and implications for mobility
t RE:LOCATE AWARDS 2010/11 Announcing an exciting launch event for this year’s awards
Global employee banking
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ThatĂ•s one thing off your list Helpful Banking Contact us to Ăžnd out more about how we can help Call us on +44 (0) 1245 355628 quoting NWRL or visit www.natwestglobal.com Authority. Calls may be recorded.
: NEWS & VIEWS
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TALENT MANAGEMENT in the spotlight A new white paper from Ernst & Young analyses what talent management means and why itâ€™s important for companies in todayâ€™s ultra-competitive business world. Weâ€™ll be examining the report â€“ entitled Managing Todayâ€™s Global Workforce: elevating talent management to improve business â€“ in more detail on www.relocatemagazine. com and in future conference and survey roundups, so watch this space!
026&2:UHYLVHVNH\LPPLJUDWLRQODZ We wait to see what effect the recent announcement by Russiaâ€™s State Duma of new immigration regulations easing entry and work-permit procedures for those designated â€˜highly-qualified professionalsâ€™ will have on the countryâ€™s popularity as a relocation destination. Under the new rules, anyone expected to earn over 2m rubles ($67,000/ÂŁ46,000/â‚Ź54,000) per year will automatically be awarded a new three-year work permit, extending the validity of the permits from the usual one year.
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These â€˜highly-qualified professionalsâ€™ will pay 13 per cent in income tax, compared with the 30 per cent currently in place. The work permits also come with residency permits for the worker and his or her family, making longterm and even permanent moves more attractive. Audrey Goltsblat, MD and partner at Russian international law firm Goltsblat BLP, commented, â€œWhat is interesting in this amendment is the introduction of the notion of high-quality specialists, as, up until now, no distinction had ever been made between foreign migrants. â€œThis is a clear step towards the modernisation of Russiaâ€™s economy, as it will attract to our firms topquality workers, who, in turn, will benefit from generous packages and better prospects. There is a clear shortage of high-quality mid- to high-level executives, and Russiaâ€™s blue-chip firms really do stand to benefit from these new arrangements. â€œThis will also anchor Moscow as a leading European financial centre after London and Paris.â€? See the Immigration & Visas and International Destinations sections of www.relocatemagazine.com for the latest immigration news.
ALL CHANGE at TASIS TASIS, The American School in England, has announced the appointment of Michael V O’Brien as its new headmaster. Mr O’Brien, who will take up the post in July, was formerly head of Baylor School, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, an independent co-educational college preparatory, day and boarding school. For a profile of TASIS with news of their new buildings and Summer School, visit the Education section of www.relocatemagazine.com Don’t miss Fiona Leney’s feature on tutors and guardians, on page 38.
7+(48((1·663((&+ ZKDWGRHVLWPHDQIRUUHORFDWLRQ" After the uncertainties of recent months, the world watched as Britain entered a new era under a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government. Many of the changes the new team is making will impact on relocation. Re:locate will track them over the coming months. There will be a cap on immigration, but, as yet, numbers are not known. With so much for companies to take on board already under the Points Based System, more restrictions on bringing in overseas talent will not go down well with organisations wanting to push growth and recovery. Workers from any future new EU member states will be subject to transitional controls. Related legislation will see Labour’s ID card scheme and biometric passports scrapped. Education is always key to families on the move. An Education bill is likely to be one of the new government’s first pieces of legislation. Schools will be given more control
NEWS & VIEWS :
over the pay and conditions of staff and what they teach by becoming academies. Keep in touch with what these developments mean for relocation via the Education section of our website. Environmental policy impacts on air travel, with the cost of flying set to rise as the change from air passenger duty switches to tax per aircraft. The cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow and additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted will be a relief to those buying and renting in the neighbouring areas, but a continued headache for business travellers wanting more convenient flights. Infrastructure is vital to business, but impact on domestic travel will follow cuts to national road building and Network Rail spending. In the regions, inward investment is under threat, particularly in the south and east, with cuts in the budget for regional development agencies. Public-sector cuts of 6.2bn could result in 50,000 job losses, according to the CIPD estimate. The freeze on National Insurance contributions is, however, a measure that should promote jobs in the private sector. Read the full version of this article on www. relocatemagazine.com, and follow regional developments in our UK Destinations web section. The ones to watch: key government ministers Damian Green: Minister of State, Borders and Immigration David Willetts: Minister of State, Universities and Science John Hayes: Minister of State, Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning Mark Prisk: Minister of State, Business and Enterprise Ed Davey: Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs Nick Gibb: Minister of State for Schools
: HOT TOPIC
,QWKHZDNHRIWKH YROFDQR With employees and international DVVLJQHHVVWUDQGHGGXULQJWKHUHFHQW YROFDQLFDVKLQGXFHGĂ LJKWEDQDQG 7KDLODQGDUHFHQWFDXVHIRUFRQFHUQ ZHDVNHGWZRH[SHUWVWRFRQVLGHUWKH LPSOLFDWLRQVIRUWKRVHDIIHFWHGIURP both an HR and an employment law SHUVSHFWLYH
The HR viewpoint Sue Shortland, principal lecturer and course leader at London Metropolitan University, considers the importance of preparation and planning.
he recent halt of air travel has indicated just how reliant we are on global mobility. Whether away on business or on holiday â€“ or trying to get away â€“ millions had their business plans, work and family lives disrupted. Planning for future similar events is a wise move. The eruption of the volcano in Southern Iceland during the Easter holiday period caused chaos for business travellers and families who had made the most of the school vacation and headed abroad. Employees on holiday were unable to get back home, and children missed returning to school. Employees due to travel on business were unable to get to, or return from, crucial meetings. They all had one thing in common: they were left stranded in unfamiliar locations, and had to find accommodation and ways to get back home. For those on holiday, it sounded like a dream â€“ extra time off to relax. But the situation was far from this â€“ workloads piling up, crucial deadlines being missed, school exams being affected, and unreliable communications with contacts at home were just some of the problems faced by those stranded. Now, with airline disruption on the long-term horizon (the ash cloud being unpredictable and airline strikes causing further misery for travellers), what are the potential issues?
First of all, employers need to bear the costs of those employees stranded on business: salaries and add-on costs not covered by airlines or other parties. For holidaymakers, employers are not duty bound to pay salaries for lost workdays. Some other issues to consider to assist employees in such circumstances include money transfer, to ensure those who find themselves stranded can have access to funds. Assistance with booking hotels, if these are needed, would be considered invaluable by stranded employees.
Relocatees were also caught up in the turmoil; for example, a family coming over for a home- and school-search trip had their visit to the UK called off at short notice. However, the international schools were quick to respond, arranging telephone conference interviews with parents and accommodating online registration, reserving places until the school visit could be rearranged. HR departments should consider what their arrangements
spring 2010 re:locate
are with suppliers regarding cancellations, and should make it quite clear what fees will be and what cancellation charges will be incurred. In our experience, there has been a lot of goodwill on both sides in rearranging appointments â€“ but forewarned is forearmed, no matter how good a relationship you have with your suppliers! Remember, too, that relocatees have childcare and, possibly, dependent relative support to arrange, and medical issues can be top of the agenda for some families; see the feature on page 10 to ensure you consider all implications. Visa permit timelines and rescheduling travel also have to be taken into consideration.
The world is a turbulent place â€“ enviable destinations can turn into political hotspots and danger zones at relatively short notice. Bangkok, in Thailand, for example, once a desirable holiday destination, turned rapidly into a no-go area. Companies need to ensure that they keep abreast of Foreign Office advice on destinations and act accordingly. It is also important to consider having risk management and emergency evacuation plans prepared.
Alternatives to air travel It is worthwhile considering what alternatives to business travel can be used. Teleconferencing and technological solutions can be useful, although they do not provide the face-to-face relationship building that meeting in person does. It is worth reconsidering the emphasis placed on air travel. Domestic and cross-Channel meetings can be serviced by train (Eurostar permitting, as this too has seen its fair share of disruption recently). The time taken for check-in, security and luggage collection at airports can significantly increase the time spent travelling, such that a one- or two-hour flight easily turns into four or five hoursâ€™ travel time. Green issues also encourage us to consider less environmentally-damaging means of travel.
Planning ahead With daily monitoring of the ash plume and cloud set to continue for the coming months (even years), it is prudent to
HOT TOPIC :
think ahead and be prepared for the next air-travel stoppage. As with the majority of working life in relocation, this involves forward planning, an emphasis on communication, and the provision of employee and family support.
The legal viewpoint Liz Cardy, of Penningtons Solicitors LLP, explains employers’ options for dealing with unplanned staff absence, and gives advice on drawing up an absence policy.
ver recent months, travel disruption caused by snow, volcanic ash and airline strikes has fast become a contentious issue for employers and employees alike. Technology makes it possible for some employees to work ‘remotely’ wherever they may find themselves in the world. However, this is not always a viable option, and, when employees fail to reach their place of work, a decision has to be made as to how to deal with their absence. The first option is to treat such time as unpaid leave. The employee’s failure to turn up to work is, arguably, a breach of contract. However, treating this as an unauthorised absence, and therefore a disciplinary offence, may, under all the circumstances, seems somewhat unreasonable. The employer could, therefore, and by way of a compromise, choose not to commence a disciplinary procedure, but, nonetheless, on the basis that the employee has not performed any work, withhold their pay during this time. The risk here is that an employee may, in the absence of a formal policy setting out how the employer will address such a situation, question whether the employer is entitled to respond to their inability to reach their place of work with what is arguably a further breach of contract (i.e. the non-payment of wages).
The employer could, therefore, give employees the option to take such time off as part of their paid annual leave. However, be warned that, under the provisions of the Working Time Regulations, employers are not entitled to require employees to take their holiday at any particular time without providing sufficient notice, which may well cause logistical difficulties. A third, and arguably more workable, option is to pay employees for any time during which they are unable to work, but to require them to make up this time at a later date. Finally, despite the financial implications, employers may be willing to pay their employees for time spent snowed in at home or camped out at an airport. From a commercial point of view, and depending upon the circumstances, employers might see this as a worthwhile gesture in terms of its moraleboosting effects. In light of the above, it is vital that employers put in place a comprehensive absence policy. This will not only aid consistency and therefore fairness, but also help to ensure that both the employer and the employee understand their rights and obligations in the event of an inescapable absence, thereby avoiding the need to make tricky retrospective decisions. Absence policies should, at the very least, cover reporting procedures, arrangements for pay, and the possibility of working ‘remotely’ in the event of adverse weather conditions, disruptions to transport, and so on.
Re:locate was able to respond to the situation resulting from the volcanic ash, thanks to its special section on www.relocatemagazine.com. We’ll continue to bring you any developments on this subject and new incidents affecting relocation – so do keep checking our website.
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: HEALTH & SECURITY
Safe â€“ and sound +DOIZD\WKURXJKWKHUHKDYHDOUHDG\EHHQVHYHUDOKLJKSURĂ€OHLQWHUQDWLRQDOHPHUJHQFLHV IURPQDWXUDOGLVDVWHUVOLNHWKHHDUWKTXDNHLQ+DLWLDQGWKHHUXSWLRQRI,FHODQGÂˇV(\MDIMDOODMRNXOO YROFDQRWRFLYLOGLVWXUEDQFHVOLNHWKRVHLQ7KDLODQG7HUURULVWDWWDFNVDUHLQFUHDVLQJO\KLJKSURĂ€OH DQGZDUDQGRWKHUIRUPVRIFRQĂ LFWDUHDUHDOLW\LQVRPHSDUWVRIWKHZRUOG/RXLVH:KLWVRQ UHSRUWVRQVRPHRIWKHZD\VLQZKLFKHPSOR\HUVFDQKHOSWRNHHSWKHLULQWHUQDWLRQDODVVLJQHHV KHDOWK\Â˛DQGVDIH
ecent crises have thrust the health and safety of expatriates who are caught up in overseas emergencies, or who suffer illness or accident abroad, to the top of the agenda for those managing international assignments. It has become more important than ever to undertake thorough risk management and have well-thought-out and comprehensive evacuation plans should the worst happen â€“ though, in the nature of things, itâ€™s impossible to be prepared for every contingency. If the legal duty of care organisations have towards their employees werenâ€™t incentive enough, having a strategy to deal with emergencies can help to enhance an employerâ€™s brand, making it easier for the organisation to recruit and retain the best people, particularly where assignments to more-challenging destinations are concerned. Naturally, an employer that is seen to care about its workforce stands a much greater chance of nurturing commitment and employee engagement than one that isnâ€™t. Knowing there are measures in place to protect them can be hugely reassuring to international assignees and their families, thus helping to avoid assignment failure. Planning must take into account predictable risks and lesspredictable ones, and the ever-changing international scene
spring 2010 re:locate
makes regular risk assessment, and adjustment of policies and responses, essential. Predictable risks may include things like road-traffic accidents, which are particularly frequent in some parts of the world, the effects of pollution, and infectious diseases â€“ for example, malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Unpredictable risks may include things like terrorist attacks. As part of the planning and risk-assessment process, itâ€™s vital to keep abreast of the changing international scene. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Department for International Development (DFID) websites are quick to respond with information and advice when an international emergency occurs. The DFID also provides country profiles, including post-conflict information. Even after the immediate crisis has passed, the FCO continues to monitor situations and offer advice. The internet, too, is a valuable source of information, providing up-to-date health and safety details for destinations worldwide, plus city and country guides advising on how to stay safe.
As part of their risk-management strategies, a growing number of organisations across the globe are turning to
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: HEALTH & SECURITY
specialist intelligence, monitoring and crisis assistance companies, which can supply a range of services, many of them through new technologies. One such company is red24, which provides security risk management and solutions for business travellers, and numbers among its clients several well-known insurance companies. Says senior security adviser Steven Thompson, “Particularly since the Corporate Manslaughter Act came into existence, a number of organisations around the globe have started to produce group or company travel policies, with legal advisers, trades unions, regulatory bodies, and so on, all involved. These organisations are taking their corporate responsibilities seriously, and they need people to keep their employees safe.” red24, as might be expected, always sees an increase in enquiries following any major political unrest or natural disaster, particularly from organisations sending employees to emerging markets. Mr Thompson emphasises the importance of common sense, vigilance, information and communication, on the part of both employers and their international assignees, in reducing risk and promoting safety. “By focusing on things like street crime, no-go areas, and local traffic conditions and driving habits, pre-assignment briefings by the employer can go a long way towards minimising predictable and manageable risks. Once the posting begins, it’s important for HR to keep channels of communication open and agree with assignees a method of staying in touch, making sure they know whom to contact in an emergency. Employees, too, must bear their share of responsibility for their own safety, by using their common sense and making sure they keep in touch with their HR department.” Local advice and guidance on areas to avoid, says Mr Thompson, should always be heeded. As an instance in which common sense was certainly not to the fore, Mr Thompson quotes the example of the tourists who visited places where the Thai ‘redshirts’ were camped during the recent protests, wanting to have their photographs taken with the protesters. He advises keeping a low profile and being wary, particularly in more-volatile parts of the world, because, “It’s very easy to get caught up in violence through no fault of one’s own.” When evaluating security partners, says Mr Thompson, it’s vital to check that they offer a truly 24-hour service. In extreme circumstances, evacuation may be the only option. This is a complex and logistically-demanding process best handled by experts.
Private medical insurance (PMI) is a must for employees working overseas. In some countries, though high-quality healthcare can be accessed, it’s very expensive; in others, provision isn’t up to the standard we expect in the UK. Says Andrew Coombs, managing director of AXA PPP International, “It’s important that employers don’t rely on reciprocal agreements or the local healthcare system, as they may find their assignees are not covered and can’t access the treatment they need.” When it comes to deciding
on the cover needed, risk assessment, planning and communication are, again, essential, looking not only at the assignee and his or her family’s health history but also at the risks endemic to their destination country, area or city. Bupa International, which provides health insurance for 800,000 expats and their families around the world, processes over 15,000 claims a week, so it’s clear that it’s by no means rare for those covered to need treatment while they are overseas. Among the matters to consider are: whether the assignee, or his or her family, has any pre-existing medical conditions, and, if so, whether there are facilities in the destination location to manage them – for example, access to the necessary prescription drugs; any prevalent infectious diseases – in many cases, these can be dealt with through vaccinations, medication and/or health advice; and the risks that may arise from trauma – for example, road-traffic accidents. Bear in mind that some policies exclude from their cover treatment needed as a result of acts of war or terrorism, while others only exclude it if the claimant has been a participant, not if he or she was an innocent bystander. When choosing a medical insurance policy, says Kevin Melton, deputy director, Market Development, at Vanbreda International, it’s important to work with a provider which can demonstrate its understanding of the local area, from both risk and regulatory viewpoints, by developing products that reflect any specific health risks (HIV in Africa being an obvious case) and are fully compliant with local regulations. In regions where medical insurance is mandatory for expats (he quotes Abu Dhabi as an example), a work visa will not be provided unless there is proof that the product is fully authorised by the appropriate authorities.
In cases of sudden serious illness or injury, medical evacuation, usually to the nearest location offering the necessary facilities and care, or even repatriation to the home country, may be the only solution. It’s essential to check whether these are included in the policy you choose, warns Karen Teasdale, AXA PPP International’s marketing manager, as not all PMI policies cover them as standard. Be aware, also, that policies vary in exactly what they pay out on; some cover evacuation but not repatriation, while others cover outward transport from the country of residence but not return transport. International private medical insurer InterGlobal recently warned expatriates and their advisers that some plans fail to provide evacuation cover for serious medical conditions and others could force expats to abandon their dependants in overseas jurisdictions. Peter Rousseau, the company’s business development director, says, “We’ve heard of cases of expats being forced to leave their spouses and children behind because their evacuation cover was inadequate. We’ve also heard of people being refused evacuation because their condition wasn’t considered life-threatening, even though local facilities were inadequate. In these circumstances, we believe it is far better to evacuate a patient on a scheduled flight to a decent regional hospital. This provides better-
The world is beckoning. One or more of your employees are leaving abroad. Maybe for three months, maybe for two years. In any case, there are many things that will need to be arranged before their departure. Cvn_rNjsqmþcpqwms_d_qr_lb simple solution for insuring your expats in a foreign country so that they are sure they are getting the best protection, ugrfmsr_lwÚl_lag_jqspnpgqcq, Caring for ‘our’ expats has been the focus of Vanbreda International since 1958. Bmwmsu_lrrmÚlbmsrufw ExpatPlus is ideal for you?
YOUR EXPATS ARE IN GOOD HANDS WITH US.
Call Kevin Melton at + 44 7795 248 004 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. He will gladly explain all about it.
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: HEALTH & SECURITY
quality care and prevents treatable conditions from becoming chronic.” In an industry first, InterGlobal has teamed up with red24 to provide its policyholders with 24/7 security services. As well as a telephone advice line and access to a continuouslyupdated website, the assistance includes evacuation in the event of a life-threatening situation affecting the planholder or his/her immediate family.
Be prepared In today’s ever-more-global business world, it’s easy for both employer and employee to underestimate the risks incurred by those working overseas. Recent high-profile events have shown that complacency is no longer an option – if, indeed, it ever was. It’s clear that having effective measures in place to protect assignees and their families makes sound sense in business terms, as well as human ones.
Advice for employers Bupa International’s medical director, Dr Sneh Khemka, has the following advice for employers on protecting the welfare of their employees overseas. Have a well-prepared and rehearsed disaster or business-continuity plan in place. The plan should take into account how to look after your employees as well as consider continuation of business, so that you can continue to function even through a crisis If you are positioned in an geography where natural events are commonplace (for example, on a known fault line), have a regular training programme for your staff, so they know what to do in an emergency Ensure you have appropriate private medical cover for your employees, so that they can access highquality treatment Consider purchasing evacuation/repatriation cover for your employees, so they can be flown out if there is a serious shortage of health provision locally Provide regular vaccination programmes for your staff and their dependants. This will ensure them the best protection should there be a surge in infectious diseases following a disaster Train key staff in first aid and emergency care techniques (Bupa recommends one trained staff member per 100 employees), so that they can provide on-site care in an emergency Equip the office with basic healthcare supplies that can be used both in and outside disaster situations
Advice for employees There are some simple steps that employees on overseas assignment can take to give themselves and their families the peace of mind that comes from knowing they are prepared in the event of an emergency. Bupa International’s Dr Sneh Khemka gives the following tips: Protect yourself from illness by having any vaccines relevant to your destination country or region. Vaccines are available for diarrhoeal diseases such as cholera, typhoid and hepatitis A, and for respiratory diseases such as influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis
If you take medication for a chronic condition, make sure you have at least a fortnight’s supply to hand at all times Discuss with your family how to prepare for and respond to emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live Be aware of your emergency escape route from home, and know the emergency procedures at your workplace, your children’s schools, and so on Prepare a kit of basic items you will need in an emergency – medical supplies, food (tinned, etc) and water Keep emergency contact numbers and your mobile phone/charger with you always If you are caught up in a natural disaster, reduce the risk of illness by: Boiling water before drinking it or using it for washing or cooking Boiling milk before drinking it Peeling fruit and vegetables Cooking meat and vegetables thoroughly Maintaining hygiene. Keep toilet areas separate from living areas, and wash your hands before and after eating, using water that has been boiled For health news and articles, visit the Health section of www. relocatemagazine.com. And don’t forget to refer your relocating employees to the new Smart Move website, which also features a wealth of practical advice and guidance on health topics.
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he change process starts with the need to realign strategic direction to respond to internal requirements or external pressures. Managing change during the transition period is the most critical time. Problems include resistance to change, low stability, loss of momentum, and stress. Change can be painful, as people have to give up the familiar and engage in the unfamiliar. Change is also not a clear-cut process, but a messy business involving reformulations and reconsiderations. To combat resistance to change, the first step is to analyse the potential impact and its effects on people in their jobs. This analysis can look at which aspects may be supported by individuals, and which may be resisted. Once potential negative or hostile reactions and their underlying reasons (together with any likely fears) are identified, then ambiguities can be resolved. Involvement in the change process gives people the
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chance to raise and resolve their concerns, and to make suggestions about the form of the change and how it should be introduced. The aim is to transfer ownership: the change becomes their change. There are no absolute rules on how to manage change, as each situation is likely to be unique. However, sustainable change requires strong leadership, together with an understanding of organisational culture and the levers that can bring about change. The working environment must be conducive to change – a firm that is a learning organisation is particularly helpful in this regard. The change programme needs to be broken down into actionable segments, and accountabilities defined for each. Small incremental steps are easier to manage than massive changes, although the latter may be required in crisis situations. People will support what they create, so, to gain commitment, you need involvement, ideally in early planning stages. People need to ‘own’ the change, and rewards should support this. Nevertheless, things will go wrong; failures must be expected and learnt from. Not everyone sees change negatively. Some welcome the challenges that change provides: use them as your change agents. Every effort must be made to protect the interests of, and respect those affected by, change.
Preparation – ensure that materials are prepared ready for discussion, and that answers to likely questions have been thought through Consultation – employees should be consulted on the proposed change. Providing information on the purpose of the change is necessary, and employee opinions should be sought on how the change might be implemented. The
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aim is to achieve understanding of what change means and obtain a positive reaction. Gaining commitment should not be underestimated – original plans may be need to be modified. There is no point in consultation if no action is taken as a result Act consistently – change should be perceived to be consistent with the mission and values of the organisation; it should not be seen as threatening; it should meet the needs of those involved; the reason for it must be compelling and fully understood; those concerned should be involved in planning and implementing the change programme; and steps should be taken to mitigate any detrimental effects Implementation – change must be managed carefully, and reactions must be monitored. Delays, setbacks and negative reactions must be faced, and responses planned and undertaken, so that corrective action is in place. The worth of change must be demonstrated, with decisions taken on any modifications. Account should be taken of people’s views. Explanations must be forthcoming – communicate!
Communication should be deemed a strategic matter to be planned, developed and controlled, the starting point being an analysis of the different types of communication that might be used. Strategies should be based on an analysis of what management wants to say – to gain employee understanding and acceptance, to gain employee commitment, and to gain understanding of the employees’ contribution to organisational success and how it will benefit them. Employees want to hear about, and be able to comment on, matters that affect them. Organisations want to obtain employee commitment. To develop a committed workforce requires two-
way communications â€“ from management to employees, and vice versa. Management must explain its values, and employees must be able to raise questions. An organisation functions through the collective action of people â€“ yet each person can take individual, independent action that may, or may not, be in line with organisational goals or policy. Good communication is needed to achieve co-ordinated results. The basic problem is that the meaning given to the message by the recipient is frequently not what was intended by the sender. Peopleâ€™s needs tend to colour what they see and hear. People repress messages that they do not want to hear, while others are magnified or generated out of thin air. People hear or understand based upon their own experiences. When people hear a new message, they relate it to a previous experience. Messages are received in a form that is consistent with peopleâ€™s beliefs â€“ and are rejected if they do not conform to those beliefs. Messages can be twisted and shaped to fit preconceptions. Communication, therefore, often fails when it runs counter to other information that the recipient already possesses â€“ regardless of whether that information is true or false. People identify themselves within reference groups, and these influence attitudes and feelings. Such groups include management, unions, the family, and so on. What each group hears depends on its interests. Shared frames of reference have more meaning and influence than information that conflicts with already-held beliefs. Words mean different things to different people. Relocation may mean survival, efficiency, and profits to management, but, to the workforce, may symbolise disruption, inefficiency, and money for shareholders. Communications thus can transmit meaning, but not necessarily a common meaning. The sheer complexity of organisations can create barriers to communication. In hierarchies, messages have to penetrate
layers of management or move across functions, units and locations. Reliance becomes attached to the written word, which can reduce the effectiveness of the communication.
7LSVIRUFRPPXQLFDWLRQVVXFFHVV Â‡ 7 RHQVXUHHIIHFWLYHFRPPXQLFDWLRQVDGMXVWZKDW\RXZDQW to say to the recipients. Think ahead, and consider how they will grasp the message â€“ understand their needs and potential reactions Â‡ 8VHIHHGEDFNÂ˛ILQGRXWZKDWLVKDSSHQLQJDQGWDNHDFWLRQDV necessary; get information back from the recipients to find out how much has been understood. This is why two-way, face-toface communication is better than the written word Â‡ 8VHUHLQIRUFHPHQWE\UHSUHVHQWLQJWKHPHVVDJHLQ different ways. Use simple and direct language, avoiding jargon and excessive numbers of sub-clauses. Reinforce words with actions. Written communication should be supplemented with oral communication; oral briefings should be reinforced with written materials Â‡ 5HGXFHSUREOHPVRI VL]HÂ˛FXWGRZQWKHQXPEHURI OHYHOV of management, reduce spans of control, create selfmanaged teams, and ensure activities are grouped on the basis of intercommunication.
For further inspiration, see NATSâ€™ award-winning case study on page 20. Weâ€™ll continue to cover this topic by exploring group move implications in subsequent issues of Re:locate and on the website. There will also be a new PDF factsheet in our series, to assist in planning and managing group moves.
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$ZDUGV6SHFLDO 2009/10 Relocationâ€™s major players were out in force to celebrate success, good practice and innovation at the prestigious Re:locate Awards 2009/10 Gala Dinner and Presentation Ceremony, which lived up to its billing as the social and networking event of the year for everyone involved in relocation. Louise Whitson reports on an unforgettable evening.
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his year’s glittering black-tie event began with a champagne reception and live music from the talented Robert Reid Trio, who played their own jazz arrangements of some of the best compositions of the great American songwriters, plus Latin and blues, while guests, including HR people and suppliers from across the industry, mingled beneath the crystal chandeliers in the elegant surroundings of London’s Institute of Directors. In her introduction to the 2009/10 Re:locate Awards presentation, Fiona Murchie, Re:locate’s managing editor, reflected the mood of the evening as she spoke of the resourcefulness – and resilience – of the profession, saying that, despite the challenging economic climate, there is plenty of innovation and opportunity out there. “The awards are growing year on year, bringing on board more international entries, more inspirational HR teams and policies, and suppliers from new sectors. As the economy struggles out of recession into a fragile recovery, it’s more important than ever to promote, and celebrate, best practice, and to nurture talent.” Our celebrity host, award-winning broadcaster, journalist and author Libby Purves, described the awards as “a welldeserved moment of glory for those who are on the front line in helping employees and their families to carry on with good lives in new circumstances.” Her after-dinner speech was perfect for the occasion, combining wryly-humorous anecdotes with a deep understanding of relocation issues in a way that won an enthusiastic response from her audience. Between them, the seven Re:locate Awards recognised individuals, teams, policy and innovation, with a choice of categories for HR and service providers. The high-calibre shortlists reflected the many different types of organisation and individual involved in relocation, from HR people to specialist support providers of various kinds, including relocation management companies,
consultants, removals experts, homesearch specialists, serviced accommodation providers and a furniture rentals company, all of which contribute a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the relocation process. The winners represented organisations large and small; their inspiring stories serve as shining examples of relocation at its best, as you’ll discover over the next few pages. The special prize of a team development day, donated by Judith Leary-Joyce, author of Inspirational Manager and Becoming an Employer of Choice and managing director of Great Companies Consulting, went to NATS for its success in the Inspirational HR Team of the Year and Best Relocation Strategy/Policy categories. Entrants’ submissions were subjected to rigorous scrutiny and analysis by a team of independent judges. On this year’s panel were distinguished figures from business, academia and the CIPD: Elaine Crowe, chair of the Relocation Users Group; Siobhan Cummins, managing director, Europe, ORC Worldwide; Susie Inwood, formerly of BG; Sally Lockhart, independent global mobility consultant; Eileen Pevreall, global, information services and technology director, CIPD; Sue Shortland, principal lecturer and course leader, London Metropolitan University; Alison Van Dalen, chair of the ARP; and Helen Walton, director, global mobility, AstraZeneca. Fiona Murchie ended the proceedings by thanking the awards sponsors, supporters and those providing professional endorsements – not forgetting all who entered – for helping to make the third annual Re:locate Awards the best yet. Photographs of the evening (which can be ordered as prints or digital versions) are available at www.relocatemagazine.com Promote your brand alongside the Re:locate Awards 2010/11, to be launched in our Autumn issue. For details of sponsorship packages, phone 01892 891334, or visit www.relocatemagazine.com
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Professional endorsements: THE RELOCATION USERS GROUP
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Moving minds â€” group moves at NATS
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ATSâ€™ overarching strategy to reduce the number of air traffic control centres and deliver its world-leading services from two centres in the UK means that 3,500 of its 5,000 employees, or 70 per cent of its workforce, will have moved home through either career-linked moves or group moves in the last few years. The smooth running of this large-scale and safety-critical relocation programme has already secured award-winning policy performance. The NATS Policy Review Group (PRG) won the Re:locate HR team award in 2008, and the move from Manchester Area Control (MACC) to Prestwick would mean that all the expertise and insight gained from these previous moves would be called on as economic conditions deteriorated.
The MACC to Prestwick group move had been on the radar for MACC employees and a key part of NATSâ€™ overall business strategy since 2002 as part of its 10year plan. The business reasons for the move were already clear; consolidation into two centres would enable greater efficiencies and the rollout of new technology and air traffic control systems. Such long lead times are not unusual in NATSâ€™ culture. Being a safety-critical business that works at the technological frontier of the communications, surveillance and navigation network, NATS necessarily requires any change to
be considered, long-term and backed by quality processes. Indeed, the strength of the policy and its supporting practices led to negligible disruption to NATSâ€™ operations and minimal staff turnover.
Irrespective of the gathering dark financial clouds, the compulsory group relocation of air traffic controllers and support staff from Manchester to Prestwick had always promised to be one of the more difficult relocations that NATSâ€™ Policy and Reward team, led by relocation manager Sandra Barker, would be engaged in. â€œThere was reluctance to move from Manchesterâ€™s vibrant metropolitan area, and, in many cases, to uproot their families and move 250 miles to what many regarded as a rural backwater,â€? explains Sandra. â€œThe financial uncertainty was also adding to employeesâ€™ dismay. In 2008 MACC employees were negative, approaching confrontational, towards the move, with nearly half of the staff considering other options. But if they left MACC, operational performance could not be maintained.â€? The final move from Manchester to Prestwick, therefore, required a revised approach to convince the 110 employees of the 180 relocating who were set against a move in 2008 just before the relocation window opened in March 2009 and before the â€˜zeroâ€™ date of January 2010.
Prestwick is a 35-mile drive from Glasgow, with all its facilities as a second city. Add to this the different education system in Scotland, and an unfamiliar environment and culture, and the reluctance of employees could be understood. NATS had encountered, and overcome, similar issues before, but the global banking collapse and the resulting financial uncertainty compounded employeesâ€™ lack of motivation to move and the current policyâ€™s shortcomings in the new financial era.
Following almost a year of falls, the housing market during 2008 had yet to bottom out. The credit crunch had also limited good mortgage deals, especially for those with little equity in their home and needing a reasonably high loan-tovalue mortgage. Whatâ€™s more, prices had remained firmest in Scotland and around Prestwick, in particular, in anticipation of the NATS move. The pressure was, therefore, on NATS to balance business needs with the very real needs and concerns of its employees in the companyâ€™s heavily unionised environment. â€œNATS was suffering unsustainable financial losses to achieve sales of properties with â€˜guaranteed sale pricesâ€™ accepted during a current group move from West Drayton to Swanwick,â€? says Sandra. â€œThe challenge, therefore, was to create a policy with sufficient options to meet individual circumstances while limiting company risk. It needed to assist employees with equity shortfall while defining probable expenditure, because banks were not prepared to support infinite costs associated with housing.â€?
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make an already unpopular move a much more attractive prospect, and succeeding, would surely be worthy awardwinning performance in itself. Moreover, to do this with no disruption to this essential service, and with negligible attrition rates, shows how consistent, but flexible, businessfocused, yet people-centric, relocation policies can help take a company to new heights of success. Commenting on what the move has meant to the business, Dr David Harrison, the last general manager of MACC, said, â€œI have worked for NATS for 24 years and have seen a number of corporate relocations, but never such a hugely impressive operational move. The move of the Manchester Centre and its staff to Scotland is, without doubt, my biggest and proudest memory; without Sandra, the adapted relocation policy and the care taken with its implementation, we would undoubtedly have been front-page news with air traffic delays and major disruption.â€? Happily, NATS is newsworthy for much more positive reasons.
Working with the overt support of NATSâ€™ employee representatives from its unions, Prospect and PCS, with which NATS has well-established and positive working relationships, at the end of 2009 Sandra and her team researched, tested and developed policy alternatives that would enable more MACC employees to make the move to Prestwick. â€œAs well as informing employees and listening to their concerns as employees, it was absolutely essential that we established a strong rapport with employeesâ€™ partners ahead of the group move,â€? says Sandra. â€œFamily members have a big say in relocation decisions. Relocation and the options on offer arenâ€™t always easy to understand, especially when not heard first-hand, so hosting lots of social events too, like a partnersâ€™ evening, helped people to open up and understand where NATS could help.â€?
policy for the Prestwick group move. www.relocatemagazine.com
Contribution to the business Having to rewrite the relocation policy during such profoundly challenging and uncertain financial times, and
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Inspirational HR Team of the Year
Highly Commended: NATS MACC Team Shortlisted: %URZQ)RUPDQ%HYHUDJHV(XURSH
he MACC (Manchester Area Control Centre) team, comprising Sandra Barker (NATS relocation manager), Karen James (MACC HR business partner), Denise Gordon (senior expenses management advisor), and external relocation management company Cartus, were pivotal to the success of the MACC-Prestwick move. Having to overturn what could have been overwhelmingly negative sentiment to a long-planned group move of 180 skilled employees from Manchester Area Control to a major new centre at Prestwick, the MACC teamâ€™s knowledge, professionalism, responsiveness and persistence, and its work across internal and external boundaries, were vital to the success of the relocation policy remodelling, introduction and successful implementation.
Turning negative into positive Just before the relocation window opened in January 2009, fewer than half NATSâ€™ Manchester employees were happy to complete the 250-mile relocation to Prestwick. Yet, for the relocation to work from a business perspective, it was essential for NATS to get every employee on board if operations were to continue seamlessly in this safety-critical and economically vital service. The MACC team, therefore, worked together as a single, responsive unit to engage with MACCâ€™s employees and overcome the challenges and complex issues that arose during the relocation window. Each team member had a role to play in overturning the initial negativity surrounding the long-scheduled move. Key to this was working together to understand and address employee concerns in a rapidly-changing financial climate. Playing to its strengths to support the team in achieving its goal, Cartus carried out objective in-depth analysis of the housing markets in both Manchester and the Prestwick area, so that NATS could identify the cost implications of its revamped relocation package, and employees could make informed financial decisions at a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty. With this information and insights gained from staff surveys, Sandra Barker, working closely with NATSâ€™
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recognised trade unions, Prospect and PCS, and in consultation with employees, then focused on remodelling the relocation policy for Prestwick. The MACC team was on hand during this time to answer employees’ questions and concerns, which were fed back into the process. This initial phase helped foster the sense among employees that their worries and concerns were being listened to and considered – vital to creating more positive feelings towards the move.
Staying informed As in any successful team outcome, communication was absolutely key to achieving the common goal. Working processes were designed so that each member of the team dovetailed with the others. This way, everyone was kept up to date on progress and matters arising and how each of member could respond as the new policy was developed and communicated to employees. Such arrangements, again, reinforced trust between relocating employees and NATS. “While employees knew who to ask depending on the question, the knowledge, skills and interchangeability of the team reassured them,” says Sandra. “Even though we were a small team, this meant that the policy was consistently interpreted by the ‘experts’, enabling employees to be confident in their decisions.” Keeping the lines of communication open extended to a 24/7 service for relocating employees. The MACC team’s wider team members – air traffic controllers serving on the front line – work round the clock. The MACC team, therefore, decided to match this service provision in their own, in recognition of the huge impact the relocation was likely to have on employees and their families. This tireless level of support underlined the MACC team’s ‘listening ear’ approach, again building trust, which was translated into action via the policy’s implementation. The relocation company, Cartus, with whom NATS has a long-established relationship, their having worked in partnership for NATS’ seven previous group moves, worked seamlessly once more with NATS’ finance team to reimburse expenses on a weekly basis, leaving employees to concentrate on work and the family/social side of the move and NATS to maintain full control of the budget. “Using a relocation
company so familiar with NATS and whose NATS-dedicated employees understand how NATS policy is determined and interpreted, meant that only unique issues needed to be referred,” says Sandra.
Innovating and adapting To support the policy and increase awareness of the options available to employees, the team organised a range of initiatives designed to relieve employees’ and their families’ fears around the move. These included two family information days with a range of speakers attending, family visits to the relocation area, a customised area information website, jobsearch assistance, and elder and childcare advice, together with information and advice on schools. Highlighting the culture of teamwork within the wider company, NATS also set up a buddy scheme and Mums’ Network, where Prestwick employees befriended those who were about to move. This social support became particularly useful following a mini baby boom among NATS families, as people found the relocation-induced career break the right moment to start, or add to, their family, adding a further ‘people’ dimension to the relocation. “I found myself happily in the position of burping lots of babies on my knee while talking to their parents!” says Sandra.
Such a resourceefficient move, in terms of personnel and high-performance systems, meant that costs were contained, lines of communication short, and accountabilities clear. With Cartus managing the ‘physical’ relocation aspect and the MACC Team the ‘people’ element, led by the relocation manager, who was responsible for the ‘policy’ aspects, each team member was able to take ownership of, and direct their expertise towards, the achievement of a common goal within this context. Teams, like the individuals who comprise them, are judged by results. In NATS’ case, that this major group move of 180 employees took place at all, and then showed one of the highest employee engagement rates of all NATS’ centres in the months following the ‘zero’ date, is testament to the skill, professionalism and commitment of NATS’ employees in the MACC team, and of colleagues in the wider organisation as they got behind the move to create a brand-new team at Prestwick and a new era for NATS.
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one step ahead 2IIHULQJLQWHJUDWHGDVVLJQPHQWDQGPRYHPDQDJHPHQWFDSDELOLWLHVDQGSURYLGLQJJOREDO UHORFDWLRQUHPRYDODQGORJLVWLFVVHUYLFHVDFURVVORFDWLRQVLQFRXQWULHV0RYH2QH 5HORFDWLRQVLVDUHFRJQLVHGLQGXVWU\IRUFH5HEHFFD+RQH\Ă€QGVRXWDERXWWKHRQOLQH&LW\ *XLGHVSURMHFWWKDWKHOSHGFDWDSXOWWKHFRPSDQ\WRWKHZLQQHUVÂˇSRGLXP
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ounded 18 years ago, Move One Relocations assists companies and organisations of all sizes with their international assignee management, moving, logistics and relocation needs. It offers two clear points of differentiation from other companies: its presence in some of the worldâ€™s most challenging locations, and its commitment to innovation, particularly in the use of online channels. Today, Move One has offices in Central Asia, the Balkans and war-torn countries in the Middle East. Headquartered in Dubai, it has two further regional co-ordination centres, located in Budapest and Beijing. Having people based in these cities has meant the team has built a reputation for offering some of the most up-to-date and reliable information sources available to expats.
A passion for harnessing cutting-edge technology has enabled Move One to deliver a revolutionary way of communicating with international assignees by making the best use of the internet to offer a suite of online international City Guides. â€œOne of the areas in which we saw room for improvement was the printed City Guides that we produced for relocating expats,â€? explains Jon Harman, group relocation operations director. â€œThey were onerous to print and expensive to keep up to date.â€? Move Oneâ€™s solution was to develop a series of web-based destination guides which contain well-written and up-to-the-minute content in easily-navigable sections relating to housing, schooling, medical facilities, social groups, transport, language study, and more. Each section includes video pieces that bring the city to life. â€˜Talking headsâ€™ footage of real expats living in each city enables viewers to grasp quickly the main positive aspects â€“ and possible challenges â€“ that they are likely to encounter during their time there. A local webcam, a currency converter, local weather, daily news headlines and a mini pronunciation guide to basic words in the destination language are available on each page, enabling expats to find everything they are looking for within a single trusted source. Budapest was the first online City Guide, launched in
August 2008, and its immediate success meant sites for Moscow, Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw, Bucharest and Shanghai quickly followed.
Describing the guides as “very vibrant and up to date,” the Re:locate Awards judges praised the way in which they engaged users through social media and the use of videos. They particularly liked the ease of navigation, translation tools and useful links to other websites, and the way in which Move One Relocations had “thought globally and acted locally” by using people within a particular area to produce content, keeping the guides authentic and convincing. Eileen Pevreall, global, information services and technical director at the CIPD, praised the Move One team for its website as a whole. “It feels like a really strong portal aggregating all the things an expat might want to consider,” she summarised. “The use of the tag cloud to ease navigation and to aid SEO was good to see as well. I particularly loved how they are harnessing the power of a range of social media technologies.” The online City Guides have proved incredibly successful, particularly in helping companies prepare their assignees in the final weeks leading up to their move abroad. Through the guides, assignees have access to destination information and videos 19 days (on average) before they actually visit their new city of residence. Clearly, receiving a link to a reliable and useful destination information source immediately is more efficient than waiting weeks until physically visiting the destination and then being handed a printed guide.
Generating tangible results The City Guides have already won awards from Cartus for innovation and service excellence. They empower clients’ assignees by giving them the means to find important information about their new city in one place, allowing them to become self-sufficient and comfortable in their new environment, therefore giving the relocation a better chance of success. Assignees still receive a physical welcome pack, including 10–12 printouts from Move One and materials from other sources, but, by moving the majority of their destination information online, the number of pages printed
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per assignment has dropped by an average of 92 per cent. Additionally, “The video guides answer 10 to 15 per cent of assignees’ initial questions before we even meet them,” estimates Jon Harman. “Providing answers earlier in the relocation process improves efficiency, saves time, and demonstrates our commitment to excellent service before we even meet the assignee.” Since the introduction of the online City Guides, Move One’s service scores from its two top clients have climbed consistently. They are also an attractive element of the company’s service for potential clients, and are routinely praised by those in the industry. An added – and perhaps unexpected – benefit has been the impact on Move One’s own people. “My team takes real pride in producing the best guides we possibly can,” says Jon. “Our employees are empowered to contribute their own personal knowledge of a local area, which directly impacts on the success of an assignment for an expat and their family. A happy, quickly-settled expat means we have achieved our goals, thereby boosting our own internal morale, which is terrific.”
Planning for the future Owing to the success of the existing guides, new ones, covering Belgrade, Kiev, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other cities, are in development for 2010. Different video pieces, capturing exciting new areas that challenge perceptions versus realities, such as within cultural perspectives (for example, how does it feel for a Chinese manager to work with an expat, and vice versa?) are also in production. Partner support before an assignment begins is also extremely important, and ways to improve this are being considered. Finally, Jon and his team firmly believe that the ‘expats are the experts’, and so plan to tap into their local knowledge by creating Wikipedia-based tools, such as online maps, on which they can review shops and restaurants, and recommend them to other expats in the same city. “It was a real honour to receive the Re:locate award,” says Jon. “We’re encouraged that we’re heading the right way, as this recognition from some of the most highly-regarded professionals in our industry proves.” www.moveonerelo.com
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heshire-based Beswick Relocation Services offers a diverse range of services, from property search and handling of Guaranteed Sale Schemes to cost analysis and account management. Company founder Oliver Beswick and his team were commended for their high-quality, responsible and independent approach that evolves and develops to meet changing market conditions. Oliver was delighted to pick up the award, particularly as it comes on the companyâ€™s 10th anniversary. â€œWe have used the recession as a period of continued investment, and strengthened our company by reviewing our systems and the products we offer, making changes and introductions as necessary,â€? he says. â€œWe are particularly proud of the technology we have developed that allows clients and employees to access portals 24/7.â€? A unique method of assessment and reporting allows Beswick Relocation Services to vary support with accurate budgeting and visibility without interruption for the client. The companyâ€™s own datab was extensive, so Oliver Beswick wanted to steer clear of off-the-shelf software, opting instead to weave his own data together with a remote database. â€œAlthough we have produced a phenomenal tool for our business, we are keen to emphasise that this has not replaced the traditional communication of talking on the phone,â€? he says. â€œB our investment has left us in a strong position to tackle the future.â€?
Fit for the future Two-and-a-half years ago Oliver began to prepare for a surge in business that is expected in the not-toodistant future. For now, 65 of his business is domestic
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out of the UK, mainly focused on the EU and the Americas. â€œIt is interesting to speculate how the relocations of the future will shape up,â€? he says. â€œWe have retained many of the older products in our portfolio, but added to them. Secondments and graduate relocations are key future areas of growth,â€? he believes.
This sense of fairness prevails at all levels of Beswick Relocation Services. Great value is placed on regular client meetings, reviews and knowing relocatees and their families, not only from business point of view but also on a personal level. Experience, says Oliver Beswick, shows that this is critical to the smooth running of each relocation, as staff â€™s knowledge means they are sensitive to the consequences. Tasks unrelated to the direct delivery of services, including payroll and legal services, are undertaken externally, to reduce costs and allow the company to focus on service provision.
Property system needs review With high hopes for the new UK government, Oliver Beswick advises a starting point should be a review of the entire system of buying, selling and moving home. â€œRather than adding on to an already broken system, I hope the Government steps back and looks at the crude barriers of stamp duty that need to be remodelled to a more gradual form of tax,â€? he recommends. â€œMail redirection and school uniforms are not currently included in the mption of a relocation, while this is hardly a ge point, it shows a lack f understanding.â€? With excellent testimonials under his belt from clients such as Waitrose, wholesaler Booker and German chemical company BASF, Oliver Beswick certainly has a clear idea of where his company is going. â€œI donâ€™t plan to compete head-on with the big boys, but believe that we offer the same ervice as them and am ot afraid to stand next o them,â€? he says. â€œWe onâ€™t need to worry about hether we are big or ntinue to focus instead locationservices.com
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t may have come as a surprise to some that the Relocation Service Provider or Team of the Year award at the Re:locate Awards 2009/10 was scooped by a removals company, but the removals process is a critical element of any relocation, and this yearâ€™s judges were so impressed by the forward-looking approach, both internally and externally, of Robinsons International Removals that they gave the family-owned business first prize in the â€˜large companyâ€™ category. â€œRemovals companies have historically been regarded as the poor relation of the relocation supply chain â€“ wrongly, in our opinion â€“ but we have shown ourselves to be innovative pioneers who use knowledge and expertise built up over many years in the industry to break into uncharted territory,â€? says group sales director Rhonda Olsen. Asked what makes the company stand out from others in its field, Rhonda replies that its success depends solely on people: those it moves and those who make the moving happen. â€œTeamwork and team spirit are central to the
Robinsons philosophy, with staff trusting and supporting each other and building good relationships. The belief at the heart of all Robinsonsâ€™ staff is that we have a moral duty of care when relocating employees to ensure the move is managed correctly and professionally. We are continually looking for new and creative ways of providing service excellence and are not afraid of breaking with tradition to achieve change.â€?
Times have been exceptionally tough for the removals sector, owing to the recession, the volatility of fuel prices, and increasingly demanding environmental legislation. Data from the British Association of Removers (BAR) indicates that the recession particularly affected the economy during the latter part of 2008 and the first few months of 2009. Says Rhonda Olsen, â€œAs a long-established company, weâ€™ve
been through more than one recession and have taken every opportunity to learn from the past and build those experiences into our strategy for the future. We believe that the key to riding the recession is keeping our people engaged, providing the business with clear direction, and continuing to invest in training and development. Quality of service and cost control are givens in today’s market.” She continues, “Robinsons has a well-established and consistent strategy for long-term growth and continued service innovation. We are pleased with our progress, but, taking the current economic climate into consideration, we recognise a need to be realistic and adjust the business and its strategy to meet the new challenges ahead.” Never before have clients squeezed suppliers so hard in terms of providing value for money and a demonstration of understanding and capability. They want the guarantee of a quality service delivered by a dedicated team of specialists with the skills, knowledge and experience to keep costs under control and disruption to a minimum. ‘Transparency’ has become a catchword – and tactic – in UK politics, and, not surprisingly, has filtered into public and industry consciousness; Robinsons International Removals, for one, has been quick to cash in on the marketing opportunities it brings. “We know that, to be the best in our field, we need to think beyond the fundamentals of a removal and provide complete honesty, transparency and true partnership,” says Alistair Murray, group manager of corporate relocation. “From quotation through to invoice, our clients have access to every aspect of each one of their international moves. We provide live access to our operating system via the Partner Portal, so clients can see exactly what we see, as we see it – a breakdown of every cost, including our administration and profit margins.” The Partner Portal allows customers to view a quoteto-invoice reconciliation scheme. Upon completion of the move, Robinsons International Removals assesses variances in a post-move evaluation before processing and presenting its final invoice. Cost savings between the quotation and final evaluation are passed on to clients, who only pay for the services they actually use, rather than what is estimated.
Judges at the Re:locatee Awards particularly praised Robinsons International Removals for its WOW (War on Waste) campaign and carbon footprint calculator. The former has created a more streamlined, proactive and environmentallyaware organisation that encourages staff to consider ways of reducing waste and helping the company become more efficient and environmentally friendly without compromising customer service. “Every aspect of the business is considered, including road haulage,” explains Alistair Murray. “Each branch and division has a WOW Champion, to keep waste and environmental issues at the forefront of people’s minds.” The carbon footprint calculator reports on the level of carbon emissions resulting from each move carried out by Robinsons International Removals, providing a platform on which to set an accurate carbon footprint offsetting programme.
The future The industry is showing tentative signs of recovery, with BAR industry statistics showing encouraging results from June to December 2009; last summer was busy, and momentum continued for the rest of the year. Domestic moves in the UK decreased by 3 per cent, and, while the removals industry in the UK was hit hard for the first six months, December 2009 showed a 32 per cent increase in moves
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compared with December 2008. As we climb slowly out of recession, those companies that have avoided complacency while adapting and weathering the storm are lean and ready to pounce on signs of economic growth. The future of the industry will continue to be defined by economic drivers, along with ongoing challenges of legislation, working practices and client expectations. Back at Robinsons International Removals, Rhonda Olsen says that, while the company’s clients come from a wide variety of industry sectors across the world, a continued increase has been seen in the popularity of destinations such as China, India, Central Africa and the Middle East. “With the exception of those countries currently experiencing serious political upheaval, there are fewer countries than ever before that are seen as ‘off limits’ when managing corporate global expansion and the repatriation of our clients’ workforce,” she says. Looking ahead, the industry, Rhonda says, will continue to face ongoing challenges from legislation, working practices, client expectations and varying economic drivers. “The future will be about driving out cost through innovation and technological development, delivering on operational excellence and totally transparent supply-chain management. Success will require a consistent development of knowledge and people skills, as well as taking the time to engage with customers and fully understanding their business culture and objectives. In this market, it is down to survival of the fittest. We have a lot of respect for our competitors, and we are confident that the best companies will continue to flourish.” www.robinsons-intl.com
Why they won So what was it that made this year’s winners stand out?
Robinsons International Removals Said judge Susie Inwood, “This is a first-class entry statement, which makes high claims but manages not to sound smug or arrogant. An excellent range of client testimonials supports an excellently-written entry, with, under the innovation/achievement and teamwork/customer and client relations criteria, tight, succinct examples and laudable transparency in passing savings on to clients.” Susie found the WOW (War on Waste) campaign “clever and impressive.” Judge Elaine Crowe agreed, describing this as a “strong” entry and the testimonials as “excellent.” She, too, liked the WOW campaign and carbon-footprint calculator, and was impressed by Robinsons’ forward-looking attitude, both internally and externally.
Beswick, which was Highly Commended in the Re:locate Awards 2007/8, was a clear winner on scoring. Elaine Crowe said, “I particularly liked their high-quality, responsible, independent, individual approach, and their insistence on ‘plain English’. This is a well-rounded company, with strong core values.” Susie Inwood praised Beswick’s “realistic but upbeat” entry statement and well-written summary of its culture, its good rapport with suppliers, and the way in which, having been established for 10 years, it is evolving and developing to meet challenges in the marketplace. Overall, she said, “Outstanding client testimonials and feedback support this impressive entry. A superb submission from a high-quality independent, with excellent feedback and good, specific examples.”
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hen regional general manager (UK) for the UK sales team Rebecca Hollants van Loocke was handed the Re:locate 2009/10 award for Best Property Provider or Solution, it wasnâ€™t so much the culmination of success for The Ascott Limited, a company that prides itself on setting â€“ and reaching â€“ the highest-possible standards, but, rather, a confirmation of its ongoing commitment to service. The Ascott Limited is the largest serviced apartments owner-operator in the world, with a staff of 5,000 worldwide (750 in Europe) a head office in vibrant Singapore, plus satellite offices in Paris and London. It offers relocation clients an extensive choice of 25,000 accommodation units, with some 6,000 currently under development â€“ and these span 67 cities in 22 countries worldwide. Management clusters in cities with multiple properties are hugely successful; in London, six residence managers are supported by one general manager and are able to share resources.
Under one umbrella Three complementary brands co-exist under The Ascott Limitedâ€™s umbrella: Ascott, which offers CEO-level
accommodation, Somerset, for executives â€“ especially those with families â€“ and Citadines, for larger group-move employee situations. One-night-stay to 10-month-stay options (competitors insist on longer minimum stays) underpin the flexibility, while a sliding-scale rate system emphasises the idea of a value-for-money service. All residences are high quality, well equipped, well decorated and spacious. Moreover, they offer excellent value for money when compared to alternative options of a similar standard, such as hotel-room or apartment rental. Big may be beautiful, but what impressed the judges was the way in which, despite its size, Ascott succeeds in offering an ultraflexible, innovative solution to clientsâ€™ varied needs. Explains Rebecca Hollants van Loocke, â€œI think what weâ€™ve never lost sight of is the need to be imaginative and to innovate wherever possible. For instance, last year we introduced a sophisticated Market Matrix, a client feedback analysis system thatâ€™s helped us adapt our product when we need to â€“ and immediately. As an example, an important relocation client in the Pacific region contacted our team in the UK, and they were able to use the tools to establish very quickly the clientâ€™s loyal track-record and were immediately able to extend VIP relocation benefits to them. Anybody can listen to their clients in the relocation business, but itâ€™s about reacting to the needs of those clients. This has made all the difference; weâ€™ve seen business almost double in three years.â€?
Responding to need So, in practical terms, what form has Ascottâ€™s response taken? â€œIn 2009 we launched the industryâ€™s first loyalty scheme [The Link Club, which offers discounts to regular customers], and the first 24-hour rental option, to accommodate international arrival/departure times. Weâ€™ve never underestimated the
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importance of communication to our client base, either, which is why we have plans to upgrade the complimentary WiFi we offer in Citadines apartments – incidentally, we were the first serviced accommodation provider to offer this facility free of charge – as well as the AppleMacs in the in-house business zones,” says Rebecca.
Environmental issues If it’s all about recognising what’s important to clients, it’s every bit as essential to be socially responsible. “We know that our clients care about their environment, as do we. Ultimately, it’s about doing what’s right – and seeing it have a positive impact on everything from staff morale to our bottom line. For example, we’ve designed an exclusive building management system that reduces our carbon footprint without inconveniencing guests. We reckon we saved over £20,000 across the UK last year as a direct result of our recycling, energy-saving and water-management policies; for instance, by introducing eco-friendly technology that ensure household lights switch off 30 seconds after a door key is removed. This new system will save some £10,000 on lighting bills in our UK properties alone – and that’s before you’ve even begun to look at the carbon-friendly benefits.” Alteration of buildings, too, can present a challenge – and it’s one Ascott has risen to. “Our South Kensington base is a historic building with a listed façade, but we overcame planning issues and internal structural limitations to create a fantastic and stylish sense of space, while still adhering to regulations.” Then there are those luxurious extras that Ascott provides for its increasingly discerning clients via its à la carte services menu, “shopping and babysitting being two options that seem particularly popular with new arrivals,” says Rebecca. The economic climate may be unpredictable, yet Ascott continues to invest. By the end of 2010, over £8m will have been spent on two London Citadines properties. An equally
significant sum is planned for its three Paris residences, and this radical makeover will be implemented in other European properties, to provide improved comfort and space.
So that’s what Ascott offers its clients, but what’s it doing for its staff ? Says Rebecca Hollants van Loocke, “Any forwardthinking company needs to put staff welfare and development at the top of its agenda; we’re only as good as our people. We prioritise their needs in a variety of ways. As far as training is concerned, each staff member is introduced to the Ascott LIFE [Local knowledge; Individuality; Freedom; Exceeding Expectations] concept. Our training strategy guarantees every staff member a visit to the company’s Centre for Excellence in Singapore, to reinforce company messages. In Europe, we operate as many annual training programmes as there are departments within the organisation.We also encourage staff to achieve a good work-life balance, insisting they take annual holiday, getting them involved in a variety of charity initiatives, and encouraging exercise: 40 per cent of London employees now cycle or walk daily, compared to 10 per cent in 2008. A healthy team, then, and a very healthy business; no wonder The Ascott Ltd’s a winner. www.the-ascott.com
Why they won The judges found The Ascott Limited’s approach highly impressive in every way. They were particularly struck by the way in which the company shows the same attentiveness to its staff as it does to its clients. “Ascott demonstrates huge customer sensitivity within the three brands under one umbrella, with an innovative and resourceful approach to clients, staff and green issues.”
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A passion for property $OLIHORQJORYHRISURSHUW\FRPELQHGZLWKDZHDOWKRIH[SHULHQFHLQPDUNHWLQJDQG FXVWRPHUVHUYLFHKDVHQDEOHGWKLV\HDUÂˇV5LVLQJ6WDULQ5HORFDWLRQWRHVWDEOLVKKHUVHOI DVDIRUFHWREHUHFNRQHGZLWKLQWKHFRPSHWLWLYHZRUOGRIKRPHVHDUFK/RXLVH:KLWVRQ Ă€QGVRXWKRZVKHGLGLW
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ike many high achievers, Leonora Wollner, founder of Essex-based property finders Searchwells, knows that much of the secret of success lies in doing something one enjoys. Ask what made her decide to set up the company and her eyes sparkle as she answers that she has always loved houses â€“ particularly old ones. In her Re:locate Awards acceptance speech, Leonora joked that it was odd to become a rising star at 50; however, itâ€™s the fusion of the different strands that have made up her life so far that has resulted in Searchwells. Growing up in a 16thcentury farmhouse fostered her love of old buildings. In the 1980s, when the London property market took off, she worked with a friend who bought, sold and managed properties for the Kuwaiti royal family. Her varied background has given her experience of property refurbishment, home buying, rental, resale, and the listed character properties in which Searchwells specialises. Before entering the property arena full time, Leonora worked in marketing, in sectors as diverse as grocery, luxury goods and film distribution, for over 25 years, running her own consultancy for eight of them. This gave her, she says, a strong focus on customer service. It was after she and her husband, Mark, moved to a listed 18th-century watermill near Chelmsford 12 years ago that the idea of starting her own high-end property search company took root. Having got their new home the way they wanted it, Leonora refurbished and let the adjoining mill house, which enabled her to see transactions from a clientâ€™s perspective â€“ more useful experience. She says, â€œI found that, although service was undoubtedly better at the top end of the market, it still wasnâ€™t great, so I decided there was a real opportunity for a home search company that would give a truly personal, 24/7, service. We support our clients through their relocation, reducing stress levels and saving them time. In many cases, we save them money, too, by negotiating the best possible deal.â€?
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Searchwells was launched in 2006 – with hindsight, says Leonora, not the best time for starting a property-related venture – with Mark as co-director. Since then, the service has been expanded to include Searchwells Etc, which complements the home-search side of the business by sourcing items – from fine wines, fine art and antiques to performance cars – for cash-rich, time-poor clients. As well as handling all aspects of house purchase and sale, Searchwells can find properties for rent, and adds value by advising on a number of related issues, including planning, interiors, refurbishments, household support and schooling. Says Leonora, “Our service includes researching every available property relevant to the client (both on and off the market), viewing properties before the client sees them, handling negotiations on the client’s behalf, and then managing the sales and legal process via surveyors, planners, lenders and solicitors. We can even manage the actual move, deal with things like utility transfers, and advise on local schools and travel to key destinations. For added value, our clients have access to a list of reputable local specialists – gardeners, housekeepers, decorators, and so on – and we can supply details of professional advisers – architects, solicitors and surveyors, among others – as required.” Despite the recession, Searchwells has gone from strength to strength, picking up awards along the way, including five stars in the Property Finder category of the Daily Mail Property Awards in 2009. Initially covering the East Anglian areas of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, it has extended its range to include London, the Home Counties, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Wiltshire.
Particularly in an economic climate like that of the last couple of years, it takes drive, determination and well-developed business sense to succeed in the property world. Asked what her secret is, Leonora points out that her service is very flexible; she can handle as much – or as little – of the homesearch, moving and settling-in process as the client wants. To ensure she can give clients the service they need, she is available to them around the clock, and manages her client
base carefully. The breadth of services she offers is, she says, another key advantage. The mill, as well as being her home, is also her office, so she is living the lifestyle on which her clients need advice if they want a character property with land. What she describes as her ‘end-to-end, one-price service offer’ means there are no nasty surprises when the bill arrives. Another plus point, says Leonora, is her non-agency background and ability to see things from a buyer’s perspective. Clients trust her well-honed negotiation and customer service skills, and estate agents accept her because of her approachability, reliability and knowledge.
Thriving in the downturn However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing: Leonora is the first to admit that Searchwells has had to evolve, refine and increase relevance to weather the downturn and emerge in good shape. Among her strategies have been: an even stronger focus on service levels, including updating IT equipment and mobiles to improve communication; bringing all marketing in house; and using her knowledge to increase both the company’s search area and its appeal. Mark, a qualified accountant, has used his expertise to control expenditure rigorously. Leonora delighted the Re:locate Awards judging panel with an outstanding entry statement that followed the guidelines exactly. One judge described her entry as “fantastic – very professionally put together, and with no marketing speak.” The panel was full of praise for Leonora’s innovation and ability to adapt to changing market circumstances, describing Searchwells as “a small company with a very personal, 24/7, service, as its superb testimonials, leadership and use of resources demonstrate.”
The value of awards Awards, says Leonora, help Searchwells to stand out from the crowd. “When I’m competing against a large company, they increase my credibility and often give me the edge.” With the Re:locate award under her belt, the future looks bright for Leonora as the property market recovers and clients need extra help in finding that perfect property in a more competitive market. www.searchwells.com
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The Admirable &ULFKWRQ
5HORFDWLRQ3HUVRQDOLW\ of the Year :LQQHU,DLQ&ULFKWRQ The Furniture Rental Company Shortlisted: 1LFN.LQJ .LQJ5HORFDWLRQ 6HUYLFHV.LP0LOOHU %URZQ)RUPDQ %HYHUDJHV(XURSH
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little way into my interview with Iain Crichton, of The Furniture Rental Company (TFRC), about his life and the professional milestones that have led to his award, a literary parallel springs to mind. It is the play A Voyage Round My Father, a moving tribute by writer and barrister John Mortimer to the father he saw as the formative influence on his own life. The industry accolades showered on Iain in the run-up to the award paint a picture of an extrovert, people-centred personality for whom client service is paramount – an operator whose love of his work teeters on the verge of exhibitionism (one of his fondest memories is of being called ‘a terrible showoff ’ by someone who was later to become his boss).
The early days But, as he talks about the long and somewhat convoluted path that led him to become perhaps the best-known name in the furniture rental sector, we keep returning to some very oldfashioned values – a sense of duty, service, dependability and integrity that, Iain says, he learned from his father. Mr Crichton senior was a Navy officer in the Second World War and took part in the Normandy landings. “He didn’t do it because he was brave. He did it because it was his duty,” says Iain. “My loyalty is number one to the client. It comes back to my father and his sense of duty.” And this is a theme that keeps cropping up in the interview. Iain attributes to his father the social skills that have led to several referees praising the ‘added value’ he contributes at the bar and on the dance floor, and his inexhaustibly sunny and humorous outlook on life. He speaks warmly of John Henderson, founder and former MD of TFRC, who asked him to join the company in 2006, as “the nicest man I’ve ever met – a man of intense integrity, very like my father”.
Joining TFRC It was Mr Henderson who approached Iain at a conference in the Italian resort of Portofino, after watching him ‘work’ the plane on the flight over, handing out business cards and chatting to potential contacts. “He said, ‘You’re obviously a terrible show-off ’,” chuckles Iain, “and asked me to have lunch with him. Two years later, I went to work for him at TFRC.” Mr Henderson handed the company over to a new investor at the end of last year. The new owners have invested in the business, and Iain speaks enthusiastically of this. “Our clients are the bedrock of the business, and I remain entirely committed to them. The investors are also looking to diversify, though, and expand the business into property. That’s a completely different market sector, so there will be no overlap.” He sounds rather relieved. After all, this allows him to continue with what he loves doing best, which is meeting the
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client’s needs. “I am very passionate about what I do – I keep saying rental is not rocket science but simply about service. I think about the client all the time. My work life inhabits too much of my brain, but that’s just the way I am,” he says. This is not as ruinous for family life as it might be – there is no Mrs Crichton – and one suspects that, for all his charm and sociability, Iain is, at heart, a little bit of a loner – an impression he does not deny.
Iain’s early professional life in the 1970s was very much spent on his own, travelling around Africa, and, later, on longer postings within Asia, as a sales representative for a firehose company. As a lone male in his early twenties, at a time when, as he puts it, expatriates were given minimal support and no advice, he learnt initiative and self-reliance very quickly. The experience has left its mark – not just because it allows him to understand relocation from both sides. “I don’t run teams, I’m a scout by nature. If I want something done, I want it done my way,” he says, and one can imagine him being a tough taskmaster in the interests of going the extra mile for clients. But again, the importance of common courtesy and consideration pops up when he explains the rationale behind the high profile and energetic questioning he’s known for at industry meetings. He knows that this eager-beaver demeanour is not everyone’s cup of tea. “I’m aware that, in my career, I’ve upset about 20 per cent of the people 80 per cent of the time, but I just try to be myself without upsetting people. I know some of them don’t take me seriously, but then I don’t take myself too seriously either, and I do have many good friends.”
It is this uncompromising attitude to performance, combined with a warm human touch, that is mentioned repeatedly in the numerous testimonials Re:locate received from across the industry supporting Iain’s entry for this year’s award. Perhaps it says something about the sector that, time and again, referees praise TFRC for delivering above expectations. It’s a characteristic dear to Iain’s heart, and one he says is crucial to a good business. “An awful lot of people shoot from the hip when they’re talking to clients. I believe in underpromising and over-delivering. Other golden rules are always to be on time – it’s simple good manners – be honest and communicate. These are things that my father taught me.” All of which goes to prove that old-fashioned values can still have a place in modern business. www.rentfurnitureuk.com
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he terms â€˜tutorsâ€™ and â€˜guardiansâ€™ smack of another age altogether, of Victorian times when the families of the aristocracy involved themselves as little as possible in the education of their children. And yet, the cut-throat business of getting oneâ€™s child the best possible educational start in life today has brought both these terms to the fore, albeit reincarnated as very 21st-century services. Take tutoring. Demand has risen in direct relation to the loss of confidence in the UK state system over the last decade. Parents have turned to the services of a tutor either as a â€˜quick fixâ€™ to get children over the hurdles of the 11+ exam and into grammar schools, through the Common Entrance exam and into an independent school, or simply as a top-up to state education. For high-wealth individuals, or expatriate executives in remote areas, a full-time live-in tutor can fill the gap. Mylene Curtis, owner and managing director of Fleet Tutors, the largest national tutoring agency, says that they have seen soaring demand from parents of primary-age children preparing for transition to secondary school. Fleet offers anything from a few hours of tuition for pre-exam confidence to the recommended one-to-two-term course of tutoring. â€œIn certain circumstances, it can help to have just a few sessions pre-exam, perhaps concentrating on a problem or a particular point the child canâ€™t understand, but we normally recommend at least a termâ€™s course. We have figures showing that 91 per cent of children who have had 12 hoursâ€™ tutoring improve by at least one grade in exams,â€? she says.
When tutoring is the answer Of course, the debate continues over whether tutoring is, in the long term, helpful or effective. Opponents argue that a child who gains entrance to a high-achieving school only with the help of tutoring is likely to be in the wrong educational setting and faces a miserable school experience. Likewise, there is concern that children can be over-pressurised by intensive tutoring. Ms Curtis agrees that sessions should be carefully planned so as not to exhaust a child â€“ one-to-one learning is very intense, and a single hour can be equivalent to a whole day at school â€“ but she argues that it is the job of tutor and parents to respond to the childâ€™s
needs. Good tutors should tell the parents if they don’t believe the child is going to be able to keep pace with the work at the intended school. But it is important to remember, she says, that the hurdles to entry in desirable London schools are deliberately set higher than the level of the work the child will be expected to produce once in. “They have to be set so much higher because of the competition for places,” she says. For the relocatee or returning expatriate, tutoring can offer particular advantages in easing the transition. A company such as Fleet can offer a consultant to provide advice on choosing between the UK and US educational systems, and can provide tutoring for the American SAT exams. The children of foreign clients, moving into Englishmedium schools, may need extra English-language tuition to help them cope with learning in another medium, while young children moving from a country where formal schooling begins later may be a year behind the six-year-olds at the English school they’re joining. Here, too, tutoring can help bring them up to speed. For UK families facing relocation abroad, a tutoring service which can give the whole family some language tuition can also make the prospect less daunting. Ms Curtis gives the example of an executive moving to France. The children needed tuition for school, but she said that equipping the father with business French, and the whole family with the language to shop in the village they were moving to, eased the transition for everyone involved. For many families, and perhaps some HR departments, the costs of intensive tuition may be a disincentive, but, in certain situations, there can be little alternative. A posting to a remote corner of the world may be an excellent career move, but the educational dilemmas it poses if there are no suitable schools in the area may place serious strain on the executive’s family life and relationship with the employer. One good example
often mentioned by expatriates is the republics of the former Soviet Union. If boarding back home is not an acceptable option for the children, there is a good chance the executive will turn the posting down. However, there is another alternative – a fulltime private tutor, appointed in Britain, but who goes out to work with the family on the posting. This is the Rolls-Royce of tutoring, but, as Adam Caller, founder and senior partner of Tutors International, says, the costs can work out at no more than independent school fees. “If an executive is offered a post where there are no decent schools and the company offered to pay the cost of a tutor for two years, that would be a superb sweetener. The client should expect to pay around £100,000 per annum, but the value of that executive is much more than that. If you are talking about educating two or three children, the cost is little more – perhaps even less – than the fees for a good independent school back in the UK.” A good example, Mr Caller says, is a client who was living in the Cayman Islands, but who wanted his children to take Common Entrance for entry to independent schools back in the UK on their return. Mr Caller’s company does not offer tutoring by the hour, very short-term or part-time placements; the cost and effort involved in advertising for each post, meeting each client’s family, matching tutor and family, and following up the placement would make it uneconomic, he says. He prides himself on both his own experience as a live-in tutor and the fact that he, or his two associates, meet each potential client personally. “50 per cent of our clients use us instead of school, and the other half use our services on top of school – perhaps for very bright children who are not being sufficiently challenged,” he says. “Our tutors will work with the children
For information contact the Director of Admissions on
020 8920 0637 or email email@example.com 88 Woodside Park Road, London N12 8SH
for as long as it takes to help them. They are involved both in academic and non-academic activities.â€? While many clients live in the sort of properties that provide a self-contained annex or flat, Mr Caller recommends that the best way to ensure a long-term posting works out is to provide off-site accommodation. â€œThe foremost consideration is what constitutes the best solution for the child,â€? he says. â€œI see myself as the studentâ€™s advocate.â€?
Sometimes, boarding back in the UK is the only option, and, where the childâ€™s family has relatives here who can look after the child and take legal responsibility for them, the practicalities of this choice are fairly straightforward. What happens, though, when foreign families, such as the Japanese, Chinese or Russians, want their child to attend boarding school in the UK, but are not moving here themselves? Enter the modern guardian. Reputable boarding schools with large overseas contingents require foreign students to have a guardian in this country who acts in loco parentis for the duration of the studentâ€™s stay. The services provided by the guardian range from providing accommodation at exeat weekends and holidays, helping with purchases of uniform, and signing consent forms for outings, to visiting the child at school and attending parentsâ€™ evenings. Although mainly aimed at foreign families based abroad, guardianship schemes can also be necessary where an English family may have friends or relatives here who donâ€™t have the time, live too far away from school, or cannot handle the level of responsibility required. Perhaps the best-known practitioner in the field is Gabbitas
Education, which offers advice on all aspects of education in the UK, as well as providing tutoring and guardianship services. Debbie Cowley, director of Guardianship and Overseas Business Development, says that few realise the amount of work and the level of responsibility involved. â€œWhen the swine flu scare was raging, schools were closing and sending students home â€“ for older people, such as grandparents, that could have been extremely problematic. We know every aspect of what is involved with looking after these students â€“ where they are, and, if they want to go and stay with friends, where those friends live and whether itâ€™s advisable; our guardians are literally acting as their parents,â€? she says. Gabbitas is a founding member of Aegis (Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students), which regulates the activities of member organisations offering guardianship services, and Ms Cowley recommends checking that any agency is Aegis-registered before using its services. â€œThere are horror stories in the sector of agencies that put children up in hostels or use several different families for them. All our guardians are CRB-checked, closely monitored and matched to individual students,â€? she says. www.relocatemagazine.com features regular articles on key education topics by Fiona Leney. Donâ€™t miss, too, our new Smart Move section, launching later this year, which offers advice and information for relocatees on family-related issues such as settling children in their new locations.
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imed at people relocating within the UK, into the UK from overseas, or overseas on an international assignment, Smart Move is a new website that contains all the information they might need when taking on a job in a new area here, or an assignment in another part of the world. Accurate, up-to-the-minute information, presented in a lively style and from a trusted source, makes this a valuable HR tool. The brainchild of Re:locateâ€™s e managing editor, Fiona Murchie, Smart Move can help to answer a multitude of relocation questions. Says Fiona, â€œWe wanted to create a truly useful online resource aimed specifically at the people actually making the move. HR and relocation professionals will be able to use it to share with their employees information that really does help prepare them for life in a totally new environment.â€? Free to use, the site will grow exactly as users want it to. At present, much of the content is UK focused, but Fiona has plans to expand it significantly over the summer months, ready for a full launch in the autumn. â€œWe need usersâ€™ input to help us really shape this resource into the best it can be,â€? she says. â€œLet us know what countries or cities are of most interest to you as we develop more and more country support profiles.â€? The site is easily navigable, and information is presented in sections that Fiona believes are the key areas of concern for every relocating family. â€œWeâ€™re confident we know what the real issues are for people making a big move for work reasons. It can seem like a daunting challenge in terms of the amount that may need to be done, but our website will hand-hold relocatees and guide them through the relocation maze.â€? Sections include everything from finding schools and a new home to the practicalities of uprooting oneself and making new friends. â€œRe:locatee magazine has been incredibly successful, and the familyfriendly features are always very popular; we include education in every issue, and run lots of partner support material,â€? says Fiona. â€œSmart Move grew from the need to have more of these articles that can be freely available to the end user â€“ the relocatee. Our website has seen huge growth, with traffic doubling year on year, but the bit that was missing was help and advice for relocatees and their families. We want to reassure people that it is OK to be concerned about all sorts of things; theyâ€™re not the only ones feeling like this, and we can help.â€? Re:locate has taken things a step further by providing free information about specific UK destinations. Whether relocatees are moving
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to, for example, Manchester, Bristol or Reading, Smart Move will provide information about the relocation destination to help them decide where to live, what the school choices are, and what the shopping and amenities are like. There are currently 20 online guides, and more will follow monthly. To ensure your relocatees receive all the latest information to plan their move and settle successfully, there is also a monthly Smart Move e-newsletter, available from July. Sign up on the website today!
Re:directory ESSENTIAL CONTACTS... AREA GUIDES Proﬁle Locations Contact: Fiona Murchie Tel: +44 (0)1892 891334 Email: orders@proﬁlelocations.co.uk Website: www.proﬁlelocations.co.uk Area: National
BANKING Lloyds TSB International Contact: Cliff Govender Tel: +44 (0)7736 359952 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.lloydstsb-offshore.com Area: National & International
NatWest Global Employee Banking Contact: Neil Barsby Tel: +44 (0)1245 355628 Email: email@example.com Website: www.natwestglobal.com Area: Worldwide
DESTINATION SERVICES PROVIDERS 360 Relocations Contact: Tony Squire Tel: +44 (0)1923 235360 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.360relo.com Area: Worldwide
Interdean International Relocation Contact: Rob Lucas Tel: +44 (0)20 8 961 4141 Email: email@example.com Website: www.interdean.com Area: Worldwide
Our Man in Beijing Consulting Services Contact: Richard Collett Tel: +86 (10) 6475 3281 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.ourmaninbeijing.com Area: China
Proﬁle Locations Contact: FIona Murchie Tel: +44 (0)1892 891334 Email: relocation@proﬁlelocations.co.uk Website: www.proﬁlelocations.co.uk Area: London & the South East, Aberdeen
Property Finder Agency
MK Furniture Rentals Contact: Efua Adams Tel: +44 (0)845 452 4054 Email: email@example.com Website: www.mkfurniturerentals.co.uk Area: National
Roomservice by CORT Contact: Laura Shepherd Tel: +44 (0)20 8 397 9344 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.roomservicebycort.com Area: National
SCHOOL GUARDIANS Brightworld Education Contact: Lana Foster Tel: +44 (0)1273 835745 Email: email@example.com Website: www.brightworld.co.uk Area: National
HEALTHCARE AXA PPP International Contact: Karen Teasdale Tel: +44 (0)1892 508627 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.axappphealthcare.com Area: International
INTERNATIONAL ASSIGNMENT MANAGEMENT International Personnel Management Contact: Alan Bentley Tel: +44 (0)1733 364040 Email: email@example.com Website: www.ipmltd.co.uk Area: International
Total Reward Solutions Contact: Simon Richardson Tel: +44 (0)1732 765323 Email: simon.richardson@ totalrewardsolutions.com Website: www.totalrewardsolutions.com Area: International
PROFESSIONAL ORGANISATIONS Association of Relocation Professionals (ARP) Contact: Tad Zurlinden Tel: +44 (0)8700 737475 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.arp-relocation.com Area: National
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Tel: +44 (0)20 8 612 6200 Website: www.cipd.co.uk Area: National
Bupa Contact: Emma Hays Tel: +44 (0)1273 322084 Email: email@example.com Website: www.bupa-intl.com/for-business Area: Global
InterGlobal Contact: Paul Weigall Tel: +44 (0)1252 745900 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.interglobalpmi.com Area: International
European Association of Relocation Professionals (EuRA) Contact: Tad Zurlinden Tel: +44 (0)8700 726727 Email: email@example.com Website: www.eura-relocation.com Area: International
Focus Contact: Barbara Rees Tel: +44 (0)20 7 937 7799 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.focus-info.org Area: London & the South East
Contact: Kevin Melton Tel: +32 3 217 65 29 Email: email@example.com Website: www.expatplus.com Area: International
The Relocation Network
Contact: Lesley Hubbard Tel: +44 (0)1677 450783 Email: lhubbard@propertyﬁnderagency.co.uk Website: www.propertyﬁnderagency.co.uk Area: Northern England
Contact: Siobhan Cummins Tel: +44 (0)20 7 591 5600 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.orcww.com Area: Global
Contact: Greg Davies Tel: +44 (0)1794 521992 Email: email@example.com Website: www.furniturerental.co.uk Area: England & Wales
Contact: Asma Bashir Tel: +44 (0)20 7 712 1765 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.newlandchase.com Area: National & International
Penningtons Solicitors LLP
Contact: Ana Stratton Tel: +44 (0)845 371 1280 Email: email@example.com Website: www.davidphillips.co.uk Area: National & International
Contact: Nichola Carter Tel: +44 (0)20 7457 3000 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.penningtons.co.uk Area: Global
Contact: Kay Withell Tel: +61 (3) 9416 2887 Email: email@example.com Website: www.relocationdirectory.com.au Area: Australasia
Contact: Terry Page Tel: +44 (0)1708 379380 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.eco-recruitment.com Area: UK, Middle East & Asia
Frazer Jones Contact: Matt Brooks Tel: +44 (0)20 7 415 2815 Email: email@example.com Website: www.frazerjonesreward.com Area: National & International
RELOCATION MANAGEMENT COMPANIES Beswick Relocation Services Contact: Oliver Beswick Tel: +44 (0) 1477 533 533 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.beswickrelocationservices.com Area: National & International
Industry jobs at: http://jobs.relocatemagazine.com
Clark & Rose International (Scotland)
Deep Blue Apartments
Contact: Nigel Passingham Tel: +44 (0)800 018 3880 Email: email@example.com Website: www.cartus.com Area: National & International
Contact: Stephen Levitt Tel: +44 (0)1224 782800 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.clarkandrose.co.uk Area: Worldwide
Contact: Sherry Humphreys/ Rosie McDonald Tel: +44 (0)870 770 0778 Email: email@example.com Website: www.deepblue-apartments.com Area: National
Connells Relocation Services Contact: Tim Rose Tel: +44 (0)1635 271271 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.connellsrelocation.co.uk Area: National
F + N Worldwide Contact: Paul Fletcher Tel: +44 (0)1476 579210 Email: email@example.com Website: www.fnworldwide.com Area: Worldwide
HCR Group Contact: Natascha Clark Tel: +44 (0)1256 313839 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.hcr.co.uk Area: National & International
Pricoa Relocation Contact: Duncan Boyd Tel: +44 (0)20 8 996 1285 Email: email@example.com Website: www.pricoa.com Area: National & International
SIRVA Relocation Contact: Rebecca Gonzaga Tel: +44 (0)1793 619555 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.sirva.com Area: International
RELOCATION SOFTWARE MoveAssist International Contact: Saloua Smyth Tel: +44 (0)1462 452186 Email: email@example.com Website: www.moveassist.com Area: Global
REMOVALS AND STORAGE 360 Relocations Contact: Tony Squire Tel: +44 (0)1923 235360 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.360relo.com Area: Worldwide
Abels Contact: Karan Bye Tel: +44 (0)800 626 769 Email: email@example.com Website: www.abels.co.uk Area: Global
Arpin International (UK) Contact: John Ferguson Tel: +44 (0)1892 725772 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.arpinintl.co.uk Area: Global
Dreamhouse Apartments Contact: Nick Chaffaut Tel: +44 (0)845 226 0232 Email: email@example.com Website: www.dreamhouseapartments.com Area: Aberdeen, Edinburgh & Glasgow
Interdean International Relocation Contact: Rob Lucas Tel: +44 (0)20 8 961 4141 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.interdean.com Area: Worldwide
SCHOOLS ACS International Schools Contact: Fergus Rose Tel: +44 (0)1932 867251 Email: email@example.com Website: www.acs-england.co.uk Area: London & the South East
International School of London Contact: Yoel Gordon Tel: +44 (0)20 8 992 5823 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.islondon.com Area: London
International School of London in Surrey Contact: Marco Damhuis Tel: +44 (0)1483 750409 Email: email@example.com Website: www.islsurrey.com Area: Surrey
St. Clare’s, Oxford
Frasers Hospitality Contact: Virginie Viche Tel: +44 (0)20 7 341 5599 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.frasershospitality.com Area: National & International
Hot-el-Apartments Contact: Lee Perratt Tel: +44 (0)131 554 2721 Email: email@example.com Website: www.hot-el-apartments.com Area: Edinburgh and Glasgow
House of Fisher Ltd Contact: Donna Martins da Silva Tel: +44 (0)1189 514151 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.stayhof.com Area: UK South East
Oakwood Serviced Apartments Contact: Claire Barrie Tel: +44 (0)20 7749 4467 Email: email@example.com Website: www.oakwood.com Area: International
SACO Serviced Apartments Worldwide
Contact: Richard Gorst Tel: +44 (0)1865 552031 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.stclares.ac.uk Area: Oxford & the South East
Contact: Clare Ace Tel: +44 (0)117 970 6999 Email: email@example.com Website: www.sacoapartments.co.uk Area: National & Worldwide
TASIS (The American School in England)
Contact: Bronwyn Thorburn-Riseley Tel: +44 (0)1932 565252 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.tasis.com/england Area: West London & Surrey
Contact: Giles Walker Tel: +44 (0)20 3130 1015 Email: email@example.com Website: www.selectapartments.co.uk Area: National
Staybridge Suites Contact: Elizabeth Devaney Tel: +44 (0)1384 890908 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.staybridge.co.uk Area: Europe, Middle East & Africa
Contact: Richard Hohler Tel: 0800 616 425 Email: email@example.com Website: www.bishopsmove.com Area: Global
Contact: Melanie Degand Tel: +44 (0)20 8 944 1444 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.apartmentservice.com Area: UK & Worldwide
Clark & Rose International (England & Wales)
Contact: Rebecca Hollants Van Loocke Tel: +44 (0)203 119 3400 Email: email@example.com Website: www.the-ascott.com Area: UK
Contact: Fiona Murchie Tel: +44 (0)1892 891334 Email: careers@proﬁlelocations.co.uk Website: www.proﬁlelocations.co.uk Area: National & International
Contact: Graeme Lorimer Tel: +44 (0)1767 312869 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.clarkandrose.co.uk Area: Worldwide
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Published on Jul 1, 2010