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MOBILITY Magazine of Worldwide ERC ®

January 2011

2011 Worldwide ERC® President

Susan Schneider, SCRP, GMS “We need to be in a constant ‘dance’ with change.”

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There are satisfied customers. And then there are Raving Fans! The quality of service your relocating employees receive impacts more than just their moves. It affects their engagement and productivity, and can color their entire perception of your company. That’s why at Weichert Relocation Resources, we’re committed to turning your employees into Raving Fans®—so impressed with the level of service they’ve received, they feel as good about their moves as they do about the company that relocated them.

Weichert Relocation Resources Ranks #1 in Quality of Service Source: HRO Today Magazine’s 2010 Relocation Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Survey

...and Earns the Highest Percentage of “Top Block” Scores from Relocating Employees Source: Trippel Survey & Research’s Nationwide Relocating Employee Survey*

Raving Fans has set the standard for customer service programs within our industry, and, as you can see, it’s helped us earn some impressive accolades. If you’d like to discover how we can turn your mobile employees into Raving Fans, just give us a call.


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*Report provided by Trippel Survey & Research, LLC. “Top Block” scores indicate rankings of 9 or 10 on a 10 point scale.

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MOBILITY • Vol. 32 No. 1 • January 2011


MARCH 2011


Global Mobility Specialist (GMS™) Training March 4, 5, and 7 Shanghai, China

SUSAN SCHNEIDER, SCRP, GMS, Plus Relocation Services, Inc., Minneapolis, MN Vice President PAMELA (PAM) J. O’CONNOR, SCRP, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, Chicago, IL Secretary/Treasurer

Global Workforce Summit: Focus on Asia-Pacific March 8-9 Shanghai, China

APRIL 2011

C. MATTHEW (MATT) SPINOLO, SCRP, SGMS, CARTUS, Memphis, TN Chairman, Board of Directors MICHAEL (MIKE) C. WASHBOURN, SCRP, SGMS, Pfizer Inc, Peapack, NJ


Global Mobility Specialist (GMS™) Training April 12, 13, and 14 Hong Kong, China

CORI L. BEAUDET, SCRP, SGMS, SC Johnson—A Family Company, Racine, WI ANITA BLANCHETT, BP, Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex, UNITED KINGDOM LISA CARAVELLA, CRP, Bank of America Home Loans, Plano, TX MARIO FERRARO, Deloitte Consulting Pty Ltd., SINGAPORE DAVID GAGE, SCRP, Federal Government, Baltimore, MD

MAY 2011

WILLIAM (BILL) GRAEBEL, SGMS, Graebel Relocation Services Worldwide, Denver, CO LARS LYKKE IVERSEN, Santa Fe Relocation Services, Wanchai, Hong Kong, CHINA

National Relocation Conference May 18-20 Las Vegas, NV

CHRISTOPHER (CHRIS) JAMES, Bechtel Corporation, Phoenix, AZ KAY KUTT, SCRP, SGMS, Asian Tigers Mobility Ltd, Hong Kong, CHINA EARL LEE, Prudential Real Estate and Relocation, Scottsdale, AZ

Global Mobility Specialist (GMS™) Training May 16, 17, and 18 Las Vegas, NV

JOY MORRISON, SCRP, SGMS, PepsiCo, Inc., Purchase, NY STEVEN A. NORD, Bainbridge, WA JOHN PFEIFFER, GMS, Mustang Engineering, L.P., Houston, TX GAIL H. PLUMMER, SCRP, GMS, Altair Global Relocation, Plano, TX PANDRA RICHIE, SCRP, SGMS, Long & Foster Companies, Chantilly, VA


PAT SPARKS, Sprint Nextel Corporation, Lenexa, KS

Global Workforce Symposium October 12-14 Denver, CO

EX-OFFICIO Chairman, U.S. Advisory Council AL BLUMENBERG, SCRP, NEI Global Relocation, Cedar Hill, MO

Global Mobility Specialist (GMS ) Training October 10, 11, and 12 Denver, CO ™

Chairman, Foundation for Workforce Mobility KEVIN E. RUSSELL, SCRP, PHH Mortgage, Mt. Laurel, NJ Chairman, Government Relations Council C. MATTHEW (MATT) SPINOLO, SCRP, SGMS, CARTUS, Memphis, TN

MAY 2012 National Relocation Conference May 9-11 San Antonio, TX


OCTOBER 2012 Global Workforce Symposium October 3-5 Washington, DC

MAY 2013 National Relocation Conference May 15-17 San Diego, CA

MOBILITY (ISSN 0195-8194) is published monthly by Worldwide ERC®, 4401 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 510, Arlington, VA 22203-4195, +1 703 842 3400. MOBILITY examines key issues affecting the global mobility workforce for the benefit of employers and firms or individuals providing specific services to relocated employees and their families. The opinions expressed in MOBILITY are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Worldwide ERC®. MOBILITY is printed in the United States of America. Periodical postage paid at Arlington, VA, and additional mailing offices. Worldwide ERC® members receive one annual subscription with their membership dues. Subscriptions are available to both members and non-members at $48 each per year. Copyright © by Worldwide ERC®. All rights reserved. Neither all nor part of the contents published herein may be reproduced in any form without written permission of Worldwide ERC®. POSTMASTER: send address changes to M OBILITY , Worldwide ERC ®, 4401 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 510, Arlington, VA 22203-4195


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2011 Speaks


i, this is 2011. I know it’s unusual for a year to be talking to you, but I felt compelled to connect with you. You see, while I was waiting for my turn in the spotlight, I watched you making some hard decisions through 2008, and gritting your teeth through 2009, and having your expectations for economic recovery raised and lowered and raised again, over and over, in 2010.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances (yes, even years like me need disclaimers!), you will find me to be more conducive to your business. You made so many intelligent choices in the last few years that you’ve set yourself up for success in this one. Granted, the recovery has been slow, but while I was waiting to come on the scene I was working on increasing my financial strength and keeping myself healthy for you. So here are a few areas to watch for during the 12 months we’ll be together:

U.S. Housing Market Urban Futures’ Executive Director David Baxter says that, “though excess supply and weak demand still has deep roots, demographic change and the need to house a growing and changing population will provide a flicker of light in 2011, and a transition with more obvious employment recovery will likely appear in the second quarter of 2011. And though this is for future years to trumpet, in time a growing population will both eliminate the excess supply of vacant units and move the market back toward healthy levels of new construction.”

Global Business Expansion The majority of companies today say the importance of global leadership development at their companies is increasing, and companies know 4 MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011

yet are still protectionist with immigration laws.

The Power of Four

that including international assignments in an overall talent management framework provides a better return on employee investment. Delivery needs and expectations, key stakeholders (and locations), internal resources, outsourcing, and the intricacy of the program and policy are driving decisions about global service delivery models. Globally, be on the lookout for continued concerns about the high cost of deploying employees across borders, and know that companies are increasingly more “surgical” with their benefits packages. At the same time, flexibility allows employees’ individual (highest-priority) needs to be met within a budget management can support. There will be a continued desire to localize the workforce whenever possible, with a stronger push to develop talent in the local workforce. Mobility into growth markets—not historically Westerndeveloped markets—is a hot issue: think Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, economies in West and East Africa, Brazil and Argentina, and the Middle East. . . and, of course, India and China still grace the list. A dichotomy exists: countries need talent from many sources,

Managing four generations in the workforce affects communication, knowledge sharing, recruiting (processes and costs), training, morale, team building, flexibility, turnover, career growth and engagement—no strategies will be the same for any two generations. Companies will build more self-service models with traditional and new media delivery, define and customize career paths more clearly as a retention incentive, and identify total rewards that incorporate a range or a mix of monetary and nonmonetary motivators, career opportunities, educational benefits, and work/life balance. It’s important to understand that today’s younger generations are “savvy altruists,” looking for great jobs with purpose and meaning, and to know that the company will be more closely scrutinized and held to high standards.

Transparency Adds Value Defined as “full, accurate, and timely disclosure of information,” there’s a growing appetite for transparency: a higher demand for accountability and evidence of ROI, more integration of “healthy scrutiny” and fiscal discipline, a drive to enhance one’s personal/company brand with openness and speedy responses in traditional channels and social media, and to add clarity and create community around issues that connect and concern different groups.

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We Can Create Order Out of Chaos.

Global Corporate Immigration Shouldn’t Be Your Biggest Business Challenge.

Global Corporate Immigration is chaotic by its very nature, involving many complex pieces and parts. Pro-Link GLOBAL offers an innovative approach to global immigration using our specialized high-touch concierge service. We handle everything necessary when you need to transfer your human capital around the world, efficiently and seamlessly. Our Keiretsu Global Network Members provide you aggressive, proactive representation in over 120 locations worldwide. Every office is staffed with immigration experts intimately familiar with the cultural nuances and processes required to smoothly navigate the complexities of global immigration. Pro-Link GLOBAL understands that different people have different needs. Our expansive network of professionals has what it takes to meet those needs so that you avoid chaos. Because global corporate immigration is what we do… and it is all we do.

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2010 Fragomen Mobility Mag Full Page Ad.pdf 1 12/17/2009 1:18:27 PM

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MOBILITY Magazine of Worldwide ERC速


26 32 36 42

2011 Worldwide ERC速 President Susan Schneider, SCRP, GMS By Frank Mauck

Relocation Training 2011 and Beyond GRI, PMN, SRES, WRS, and Ryan Carrell, CRP

The Power of Virtual Teams By Charlene Solomon


Destination Profile: The United Kingdom By Anne Dean, GMS, and Julian Grose-Hodge, GMS

52 55

Relocation Integration: Primary Component to Any People Strategy

36 52

By Jill Heineck, CRP

Hey, Where is My Replacement? By Daniel T. Bloom, SPHR, SSBB, SCRP


The Price of Inaccuracy: Eight Ways for Improving International Payroll Compliance By Tim McCarney, GMS



By Nancy Harmann, ABRM, ABR, CRP, CRS, GMS,

2010 Wordwide ERC速 Global Thought Leaders

58 66


Lessons Learned



By Jennifer Rosene


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MOBILITY Magazine of Worldwide ERC®





Vice President & Publisher


Jerry Holloman

2011 Speaks

Managing Editor


Frank Mauck


EDITORIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE Chairman Jo Lay, SCRP, SGMS, Coldwell Banker Central Region Relocation, Northbrook, IL


Alex Alpert, Wheaton World Wide Moving, Tucson, AZ


Michele Bar-Pereg, Bar-Pereg Group, Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS Tamara Bianchi, CRP, Capital Relocation Services, Denver, CO


Robert F. Burch, SCRP, Alexander’s Mobility Services, Baltimore, MD


Christopher R. Chalk, CRP, GMS, Dependable Auto Shippers, Inc., Smyrna, GA


Terry Baxter Davis, SCRP, SGMS, Ernst & Young LLP, Cleveland, OH


Alex Chua, Newport Real Estate Limited, Shanghai, CHINA Brenda Darrow-Fuhs, Bank of America, Longmont, CO

Anne Dean, GMS, Living Abroad, LLC, Norwalk, CT


Tim Denney, Stirling Henry Global Migration, Sydney, AUSTRALIA Marge A. Dillon, CRP, GMS, Little Elm, TX Sean Dubberke, RW3 LLC, New York, NY Deborah A. Dull, CRP, GMS, Crown Relocations, Houston, TX Kari Hamilton, ABODA, Inc., Redmond, WA Nancy F. Harmann, CRP, GMS, Latter & Blum, Inc., Realtors, New Orleans, LA Gustavo Higuera, CRP, GMS, Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Scottsdale, AZ Christine E. Holland, GMS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA Ronald Huiskamp, GMS, Dwellworks, LLC, Kirkland, WA Rob Johnson, SCRP, SGMS, Altair Global Relocation, Plano, TX Jeff Knapton, SIRVA Relocation, Westmont, IL Anne-Claude Lambelet, SGMS, ACL Consulting, Geneva, SWITZERLAND Tacita Lewars, GMS, Globaforce Incorporated, Calgery, Alberta, CANADA Cindy Madden, CRP, Cartus, Danbury, CT Tim McCarney, GMS, Weichert Relocation Resources Inc., Norwell, MA Nino Nelissen, SGMS, Executive Mobility Group, Schlipol Airport, THE NETHERLANDS Constance Pegushin, Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP, San Francisco, CA

Design/Production: Ideas, Communicated, LLC, Vienna, VA, Cover Photo: Sara Jorde from Sara Jorde Photography Printing: CADMUS Specialty Publications, Richmond, VA Reprints: Katina Moaney, CADMUS Reprint Services,; +1 866 487 5625 ext. 3736 Advertising Sales: Glen Cox, National Sales Manager, The Townsend Group, Bethesda, MD +1 301 215 6710; ext. 109;

Elizabeth Perelstein, School Choice International, White Plains, NY Patricia Pollard, CRP, GMS, Coldwell Banker United Realtors, Houston, TX Maureen Bridget Rabotin, GMS, Effective Global Leadership, Paris, FRANCE Michelle Sandlin, CRP, John Daugherty Realtors, Inc., Houston, TX Stefanie R. Schreck, CRP, GMS, American International Group, New York, NY Scott T. Sullivan, Brookfield Global Relocation Services, Woodridge, IL Mara Terrace, Siemens Corporation, Global Shared Services NA, Orlando, FL Sherrie Tessier, CVS, Woonsocket, RI Jody Walstrom, Plus Relocation Services Inc., Minneapolis, MN Allie Williamson, CRP, OneWorld Relocation Services, Naples, FL Nick Woodhams, SGMS, Woodhams Relocation Centre, Sydney, AUSTRALIA


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Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services

Going Global? Take the path to a Rock Solid Relocation


One sure sign of relocation success? A family full of happy faces. That’s why no matter where in the world success calls your business, choose Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services to help you get there. You’ll provide global assignees and their families relocation’s most comprehensive range of services, and assure the highest levels of satisfaction and productivity at your organization. Discover the value of a company committed to providing satisfaction, savings and security to organizations on the move. Call 1-877-418-0617 or visit

Succeed through our global network and local counselors in more than 160 countries Develop your workforce through state-of-the-art intercultural training and tools, such as CultureWizard™ powered by RW 3

Trust The Rock®: keeping promises for 135 years Leverage best practices administered by one of relocation’s largest teams of certified mobility professionals Benefit from our integrated technologies and exclusive GSP PowerSuite

© 2010 Prudential Financial, Inc., and its related entities. All rights reserved.

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Click: |

C-TPAT | ISO 14001 | ISO 9001 | SAS 70 | TRACE | AMSA ProMover ® Charter Member | TRUSTe EU Safe Harbor



© 2010, Graebel Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Graebel Movers International Quality Management System is registered to ISO 9001:2008. Graebel Movers International headquarters is registered to ISO 14001:2004 EMS. DOT #220843 MC #158651


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THINKING AHEAD. MOVING YOU FORWARD. For 60 years, Graebel has led the relocation industry by delivering proactive, world-class service to Fortune 500 clients. Because we focus exclusively on worldwide relocation and moving services, we anticipate your needs and deliver services that are tailor-made for you. Our reputation for extraordinary value, high-quality service, and unmatched expertise is what always keeps us two-steps ahead – and you moving forward. > Single source global mobility solutions with bundled pricing for significant savings > Always-accessible, client-dedicated teams – Commitments Made. Commitments Kept.® > Global strength with on-the-ground services in 153 countries > Proprietary technology, including iPhone app and online portals, that provide you and your relocating employees with real-time access and results > Global single source solution – household goods moving and storage, full-service relocation and move management, and commercial workplace services

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Around the Worldwide ERC®

Building a House, Creating a Home


embers of the Wisconsin Employee Relocation Council recently participated in the building of a Habitat for Humanity home in Milwaukee, WI. “We were all impressed with the Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity Organization, as well as our crew leaders, Andrew Rutz and Lee Lowley.” said Nadya NahirniakHansen, CRP, GMS, ASP, director of relocation/REO manager for Restaino & Associates, Realtors, Madison, WI. “They truly have a passion for what they do! We would like to say a special thank you to Doug Laundrie of Corporate Relocation

Services for organizing the event. This was truly a remarkable experience and a fulfilling day for everyone!” Pictured in the photograph are: (top row) Andrew Rutz, crew leader, Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity; Lee Lowley, crew leader, Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity; Rebecca Glatzhofer, Allwright Moving Systems, Inc.; Doug Laundrie; John Donovan, Ace Worldwide; Greg Copeland, Cort Business Services—A Berkshire Hathaway Company; (bottom row) Bill Werth, CRP, Merchants Moving & Storage Company; Lisa Zena, CRP, Wells Fargo; Nadya Nahirniak-

Hansen, CRP, GMS; Deborah Benavides, CRP, Shorewest Realtors; Jacob Werth, student at The University of Minnesota; and Doug Ketzer, CRP, GMS, Merchants Moving & Storage Company.

Bike Tour Strives to End Cancer


ew World Van Lines, Chicago, IL, recently provided free transport for more than 3,000 bicycles in support of Pelotonia, a grassroots bike tour whose sole mission is to end cancer. Pelotonia raises money for cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

A ‘Fun Run’ for Charity


n conjunction with the International Association of Mover’s Conference, San Diego, CA, Santa Fe Relocation Services, Hong Kong, China, held its seventhannual Charity Fun Run and Red Horse Cocktail Party and Charity Auction with proceeds benefiting the Johns Hopkins Breast Cancer Research Fund. With more than 100 registrants and 89 completing the 5K event, more than $18,000 was raised. To date, Santa Fe has raised more than $1 million for the fund.


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Bringing new opportunities within reach. When new places promise new heights for your business, trust Cartus to know the path. Delivering services from globally integrated Cartus offices around the world, we have successfully guided hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals into markets worldwide – replacing complexity with predictability, and providing a helping hand to everyone your program touches. For a clear path to your goals, call on Cartus at Primacy Relocation is now a part of Cartus. ©2010 Cartus Corporation. All rights reserved.

58410_Cartus_ts 58410 C t t 1

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Executive Spotlight

New World Van Lines, Chicago, IL, has promoted Kevin Rich, CMC, SCRP, to executive vice president—global business. Rich has been actively involved with Worldwide ERC® having held a spectrum of significant committee assignments, authored multiple MOBILITY articles, and has been a speaker, moderator, and panelist at numerous Worldwide ERC® conferences. He was the first service industry represenRich tative to be elected president of the association’s board of directors, was a charter trustee of the Worldwide ERC® Foundation for Workforce Mobility, as well as its chairman. He also is a member of the Worldwide ERC® Hall of Leaders. Most recently, he was named the third recipient of the Worldwide ERC® Foundation for Workforce Mobility H. Cris Collie Legacy Award.


ew World Van Lines, Chicago, IL, has promoted Tom Parker to executive vice president—human resources. Richard Wilkus has been promoted to chief financial officer. Schelly Decker has been promoted to domestic manager of Arpin International Group’s customer service center in Boston, MA. Doug Parks has joined the company’s St. Armands IL, office. Elizabeth Iannini has been named account manager for AIReS’ central regional office servicing Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC, and parts of Pennsylvania. Michael Saunders & Company, Sarasota, FL, has named James Hammar manager of the firm’s two newest offices in Punta Gorda and Burnt Store.

Join Us Online for Announcements Executive Spotlight highlights the job changes and achievements of employee mobility professionals. E-mail your hiring and promotion announcements, as well as your regional group communications, to Not only will the releases appear in Executive Spotlight, but also will show up in Names in the News on the Worldwide ERC® website, www.Worldwide Please visit Pages/NIN-MOBILITY.aspx for regular updates on mobility industry professionals. Does Worldwide ERC® have your most up-to-date contact information? If not, let us know by visiting www.Worldwide 14 MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011

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WHR always takes a proactive management approach in delivering superior customer service. WHR’s mid-process survey system allows identiďŹ cation of concerns and takes action before the customer has completed the transfer. This web-based system alerts the client service manager of any survey issues and within two hours the situation is reviewed and the service recovery process is put into motion.

WWW.WHRG.COM | 800.523.3318





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Industry Spotlight

Companies Continue Sending Employees Abroad; Maintain Focus on Assignment Cost


espite the myriad struggles experienced by the worldwide economy in 2010, multinational organizations continued to relocate their employees, albeit with an acute focus on identifying innovative methods for managing the costs associated with their international assignment programs, according to a recent study. KPMG LLP’s, New York, NY, web-based “Global Assignment Policies and Practices Survey,” in its 12th year, is based on the responses of more than 500 human resource executives. “The current economic environment is prompting organizations of all sizes to look abroad for growth, while increased competition is forcing companies to drive down costs in all areas of their businesses,” said Achim Mossmann, managing director of global mobility advisory services in KPMG LLP’s international executive services (IES) practice. “Our KPMG survey results and experience with clients reveal that companies have identified a number of cost-saving opportunities related to their international assignment programs. Some organizations, for example, are ‘localizing’ employees in their host countries, while others are implementing policy changes and also utilizing alternative international assignment types,” said Mossmann. According to the survey, 81 percent of organizations “localize” some of their international assignees. According to KPMG, localization is defined as the process by which expatriate employees are transitioned from an expatriate package to a local compensation and benefits package, and are then compensated by the host country, which eliminates the more costly expatriate benefits and allowances.

Organizations also are putting into place a multitude of options to potentially reduce the costs associated with long-term or standard assignments, according to KPMG. Eighty percent of organizations are using short-term assignments, and 47 percent reported using permanent transfers. In addition, the survey found that organizations made changes to assorted policy provisions to reduce costs. With regard to determining cost-of-living adjustment calculations on assignee packages, 31 percent of respondents indicated they are using an “efficient purchaser index,” which, according to the

release, is a sliding scale measurement of the ratio of the cost of living between the home and host locations, and assumes that an experienced assignee is a “smart shopper” with the ability to purchase goods and services more economically than a newly arrived assignee. According to KPMG, program administration is becoming increasingly challenging. “For most organizations, the pressure to effectively compete has led to an increase in the size and scope of their global workforce, placing greater demands on international human resource teams,” said Ben Garfunkel, national partner in charge of KPMG LLP’s


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Industry Spotlight

IES practice. “Matters such as compensation, tax requirements, and mobility can become even more costly, complex, and time-consuming when managed on an international scale.” According to the survey, 49 percent of respondents said that administration of assignees takes too much time. Forty-five percent said they currently outsource pieces of their international assignment program to gain access to a service provider’s global resources and knowledge. “HR professionals are strapped for resources and time, and outsourcing certain elements of their program can free them up to focus on their most strategic priorities and projects,” said Garfunkel.

FYI The Suddath Companies, Jacksonville, FL, has announced the release of “Moving Guru,” a free app for the iPhone and BlackBerry to aid those who are planning to move or are in the process of moving. Century 21 Real Estate, LLC, Parsippany, NJ, has announced the release of “The Golden Ruler” a new reporting tool that gives customers instant web traffic analysis of their online home listings. RealtySouth, Birmingham, AL, has announced it has partnered its relocation services with Capstone Realty, Huntsville, AL, to expand its market coverage in the state.


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Bridging Continents & Cultures Chicago


San Francisco


Los Angeles Toronto


New York London, UK

Philadelphia Hong Kong

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Quick Takes

Post-reform Plans to Drop Health Care Plans Prove Rare


xtending coverage to employees is encouraged under health care reform rules; however, beginning in 2014 after reform is in place, employers can choose to forego this option and pay a penalty, which in some cases may be less costly than their current health benefits spend. In a new survey from Mercer, New York, NY, employers were queried as to the likelihood of their not providing health care once state-run insurance exchanges begin, a scenario in which the process for individuals to purchase coverage will become easier. According to Mercer, a large majority of respondents said it is “not likely” that this will occur. The survey results are a preview of the findings contained in Mercer’s 2010 “National Survey of Employersponsored Health Plans,” which features responses from more than 2,800 employers. According to the survey, just 6 percent of large employers (those that employ at least 500 employees) and only 3 percent of the largest employers (those with 10,000 or more employees) said they are likely to eliminate their health plans and have employees seek coverage in the individual market after 2014. “Employers are reluctant to lose control over a key employee benefit,” said Tracy Watts, a partner in Mercer’s Washington, DC, office. “But beyond that, once you consider the penalty, the loss of tax savings and grossing-up employee income so they can purchase com-

parable coverage through an exchange, for many employers dropping coverage may not equate to savings.” However, according to the survey, 20 percent of small employers (those with 10-499 employees) say they are likely to discontinue their health plans, especially those with low-paid employees and high turnover, such as retail organizations. “You can see why the idea of dropping employee health plans would be attractive to small employers,” said Beth Umland, who directed the study for Mercer. “On the other hand, when you look at the experience in Massachusetts, where insurance exchanges have been operating under state-based health reform for over three years, it hasn’t happened.” The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requirements generally will increase cost to employers, according to Mercer, but the increase will vary among employers depending on demographics and current benefits program design, in addition to factoring in the health care market in which they operate. The survey found that 17 percent of employers with 50 or more employees say that the new PPACA requirements generally taking effect for 2011—extending coverage eligibility to dependents up to age 26 and eliminating lifetime benefit limits—will have no effect on their cost in 2011; 16 percent said that it will raise cost by 5 percent or more. Fifty-four percent said PPACA will increase cost by 2 percent or less.

Communities Share Your Celebrations and Expectations! What are your proudest accomplishments from 2010? And, what issues are giving you hope for this new year? Right now in the Worldwide ERC® Forums (, members are sharing their answers to these two questions in response to the discussion thread, “Celebrations and Expectations,” posted in both the U.S. and Global All Member Forums by Chris Wilson, Worldwide ERC® vice president of marketing and web strategy, on December 13. Take a look at their responses and, if you haven’t already, please share your own. The Worldwide ERC® online discussion forums are your platform to exchange questions, answers, and ideas. They also are a perfect place for you to showcase your expertise in the industry. Don’t miss a single post—click on the “Subscribe to the Forum” button and sign up for alerts that will come to your e-mail inbox weekly, daily, or every time a discussion in that forum is added and/or updated (you decide!).


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2011 Worldwide ERC® Board of Directors EX-OFFICIO DIRECTORS


Susan Schneider, SCRP, GMS Plus Relocation Services, Inc. Minneapolis, MN


Pamela J. O’Connor, SCRP Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Chicago, IL


C. Matthew Spinolo, SCRP, SGMS CARTUS Memphis, TN


Michael C. Washbourn, SCRP, SGMS Pfizer Inc Peapack, NJ



Al Blumenberg, SCRP NEI Global Relocation Cedar Hill, MO

Kevin E. Russell, SCRP PHH Mortgage Mt. Laurel, NJ

David F. Gage, SCRP Federal Government Baltimore, MD

William Graebel, SGMS Graebel Relocation Services Worldwide Denver, CO

Steven A. Nord Bainbridge, WA


Cori L. Beaudet, SCRP, SGMS SC Johnson—A Family Company Racine, WI

Anita Blanchett BP Sunbury-onThames, Middlesex United Kingdom

Lisa Caravella, CRP, GMS Bank of America Home Loans Plano, TX

Lars Lykke Iversen Santa Fe Relocation Services Wanchai, Hong Kong, China

Christopher James Bechtel Corporation Glendale, AZ

Kay J. Kutt, SCRP, SGMS Asian Tigers Mobility Ltd Hong Kong, China

Earl Lee Prudential Real Estate & Relocation Scottsdale, AZ

Joy Morrison, SCRP, SGMS PepsiCo, Inc. Purchase, NY

John Pfeiffer, GMS Mustang Engineering, LP. Houston, TX

Gail H. Plummer, SCRP, GMS Altair Global Relocation Plano, TX

Pandra Richie, SCRP, SGMS Long & Foster Companies Chantilly, VA

Pat Sparks Sprint Nextel Corporation Lenexa, KS


Mario Ferraro Deloitte Consulting Pty Ltd. Singapore

rac_report_member profile07 12/3/10 4:59 PM Page 2

RAC Report

Regional Market Summary: Tucson, AZ, Metro Area


he Tucson, AZ, metro area consists mainly of Pima County. Tucson’s real estate market is suffering like most of the country. The current unemployment rate (8.3 percent) is higher than one year ago (8.1 percent), but lower than the rate during the past 12 months, peaking at 9.2 percent in July. Building permits have dropped from 170 per month in October 2009 to 61 per month in October 2010. Residential inventory levels are higher than ever, with average sales prices continuing to decline. Average sale prices have dropped since the first quarter of 2008. Foreclosures and short sales have put downward pressure on prices and values. Job losses are heavy, especially in construction. Car dealerships are laying off employees, restaurants are closing, and many small businesses can no longer ride the wave of declining business in the hopes of an upturn. Other sectors are fairing better; defense contractors (Raytheon) are hiring and the federal government has increased hiring for border patrol agents, customs agents, and drug enforcement agents. Surrounding markets (Sahuarita, Marana, Green Valley, Santa Cruz County, and Pinal County) have seen sharp declines in values and higher inventory levels. These markets rode the coattail of the Tucson market when the markets were good and were the first to decline when the markets cooled. The current market conditions are slow but steady with foreclosures and short sales in some market segments comprising 70 to 85 percent of the sales. Current trends are for continued declining values in most market segments, inventory levels at historic highs, and continued impact from foreclosures and short sales. The luxury home market has well over a year worth of inventory.


Unemployment Months of Supply Annualized Sales Volume Annualized Average Sale Price Average DOM




8.3 8.9 11,680 $190,744 85

8.1 7.5 11,485 $201,176 84

+ 2.4% +15.8% +1.7% -5.2% +1.2%

MARKET AT A GLANCE Economic Climate New Construction REO Activity Supply Demand Market Direction Market Mood

The outlook should improve if the national economy improves and job growth increases. Tucson has a portion of its market reliant on winter visitor related sales. These sales declined with the national economy. No short term fix is in sight. Economists are looking at two to three years and beyond for a change in direction for the market. Tucson attracts a certain amount of businesses and companies because of the mild weather and laid-back lifestyle. This

Poor Low High High Low Down Caution

should continue. Look for 2011 to continue the trends that have shaped 2010 markets. There was a glimmer of hope from the state government when it announced that sales tax revenues were up for three successive months. This is a hint that perhaps the Sunbelt economy may once again take the lead. Ronald Slovan, SRA, is president of Slovan Associates, Inc., Tucson, AZ. He can be reached at +1 520 885 9052 or e-mail MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011 23

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Tax and Legal Update

Tax Issues for the Future he Worldwide ERC® Government Relations Council (GRC) continues actively to pursue some tax issues, and to keep a watchful eye on others. Immediate issues include assisting the state of Delaware to develop a form implementing the state’s new estimated tax requirement for nonresident sellers of real estate, and persuading the Treasury Department to exempt individuals who begin renting out their principal residence after a work-related shift in place of employment from the new require-


als moving out of Delaware are not “nonresidents” as defined in the law, and further, that the form developed should allow them to claim exemption from the estimated tax requirement on the basis that the gain is excluded from tax under the capital gains homesale exclusion, which is followed in Delaware. In addition, the form should allow company sellers to certify that there is no gain on their sale, and to avoid any payment of estimated tax. As of late November, Delaware was still working on its implementation of the statute.

wide ERC® expects to continue working with Treasury and IRS as they draw up rules to implement the new requirement. However, if the exemption for temporary rentals is not interpreted as Worldwide ERC® has requested, transferees or expatriates renting out their homes after January 1, 2011, will have to begin collecting taxpayer ID numbers on Forms W-9 from individuals they pay for services. Issues the GRC is actively following include the debate in Congress as to whether/how to extend the 2001

ment for individuals to do information reporting for payments in connection with the rental. In Delaware, beginning with sales after December 31, 2010, nonresident sellers must calculate and pay an estimated income tax on the sale proceeds or the Recorder of Deeds will not record the deed from the sale. Under the statute, individual transferees relocated out of Delaware may be considered nonresident sellers, and companies or relocation management companies (RMCs) re-selling transferee homes as part of homesale programs also will be considered nonresident sellers if they are not registered to do business in the state. Worldwide ERC® has urged Delaware to recognize that individu-

The new rental information reporting requirement goes into effect as of January 1, 2011 (that is, information reports will be required in February 2012, for payments to individuals aggregating more than $600 in 2011). There is an exemption in the statute for “temporary” rentals. In comments filed with Treasury on November 19, 2010, Worldwide ERC® urged Treasury to interpret the exemption to apply to employees assigned overseas by their employers (expatriates), as well as to domestic transferees who do not sell their home in the departure location, at least for so long as capital gains would be excludable when the home is eventually sold (In practice, this would amount to five years.). World-

and 2003 tax cuts, which are scheduled to expire after December 31, 2010, and the Congressional effort to enact new patches to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Without action, the top tax rate would jump from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, the top dividend tax rate would rise from 15 percent to 39.6 percent, and the top capital gains rate would go from 15 percent to 20 percent. In addition, the estate tax would spring back to life at its pre-2001 levels. The AMT exemption for married couples would fall from $70,950 to $45,000, and for singles from $46,700 to $33,750, potentially subjecting millions of additional taxpayers to the AMT. These issues not only affect Worldwide ERC® members’ taxes,


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but they make programming for payroll withholding and gross-ups in 2011 impossible unless/until Congress acts. Generally, IRS releases new withholding tables for the next tax year in November. However, it cannot do so without some certainty as to what the tax rates will be. In the absence of new tables, payroll managers do not know what withholding rates to program for 2011, nor can tax return software developers complete their work. Generally, payroll managers need the new data by December 1, of the preceding year to adequately prepare for the next. If they rely on the old tables into the new year, and current rates are not extended, there will be substantial under-withholding, while if they assume the pre-2001 rates will go back into effect, and Congress later extends the tax cuts, there will be substantial over-withholding. For its part, IRS always has taken the position that it cannot assume what Congress may do, and must deal with the law as it is, which absent Congressional action would include an automatic substantial tax increase. The GRC expects that whatever Congress decides to do, issues with withholding and gross-up will persist into the new year. The AMT patch expired at the end of 2009, so the issue is how to design and publish 2010 returns and information without knowing whether the AMT patch will be extended to returns for 2010. If it is not extended, some 21 million additional taxpayers will be subjected to the AMT in 2010. Despite the assurance from Congressional tax writers that the patch will be extended, it would be unprecedented for Treasury to

assume enactment of the legislation in preparing 2010 tax forms. A similar situation occurred in late 2007, when the AMT patch had expired, and lawmakers promised to extend it but did not do so until late in December. As a result, a number of 2007 tax forms were not available until mid-February of 2008, and processing of returns subject to the AMT was substantially delayed. A similar scenario appears to be developing for 2010 returns. On a longer term basis, the GRC expects that the new Congress will engage in a vigorous debate concerning deficit reduction, which will include a focus on taxes. A number of plans have been put forward, all of which would include some form of tax reform and eliminate some deductions/exclusions. For example, the co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform on November 10, 2010, released a draft of a sweeping and comprehensive plan to reduce the federal deficit by some $3.8 trillion during the next 10 years. Under their plan, tax provisions such as the mortgage interest deduction, the homesale capital gains exclusion, the exclusion for foreign earned income and housing allowances, and potentially the moving expense deduction would be eliminated or curtailed. Worldwide ERC® expects to join with other housing and mobility-related organizations to fight for these important provisions should any momentum for their removal develop. Other important tax issues on the “future” list include defense of the Buyer Value Option homesale method from possible IRS attack, including monitoring of ongoing “special” IRS employment tax audits. These audits, taking place

during 2010-2012, will include indepth and detailed examination of 2,000 Forms 941 from each of the tax years 2008-2010. IRS expects to use the results to determine the issues to pursue in its regular employment tax audit program in the future. Most of the tax issues that are important to Worldwide ERC® members are employment tax issues (for example, taxability of homesale programs, fringe benefits, gross-ups, withholding/tax deposits), and the GRC is actively monitoring this IRS initiative, including seeking feedback from any members who have experienced one of these audits. Finally, the GRC expects to support efforts in Congress and the states to develop uniform rules for taxation of employees who are in a state temporarily on business, and efforts to obtain reasonable clarifying and simplifying rules from IRS and Treasury as they seek to implement the 2012 expansion of information reporting requirements to corporations and to payments for property. Both of these will be very active issues in years to come. For readers who want more information, all of the issues referred to in this column have been discussed in more detail in the Mobility LawBlog, and in bi-monthly Worldwide ERC® Tax & Legal Updates, available on the Worldwide ERC® website. The GRC continues to seek suggestions from Worldwide ERC® members as to issues the membership considers important. The GRC expects an active year in the tax arena and wants Worldwide ERC® members to be actively involved in this important function. Peter K. Scott is tax counsel for Worldwide ERC®, Arlington, VA. He can be reached at +1 703 893 8566 or e-mail Richard H. Mansfield is general counsel for Worldwide ERC®, Arlington, VA. He can be reached at +1 703 842 3428 or e-mail MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011 25

Susan Schneider Profile_MOBILITY 12/3/10 4:45 PM Page 2


S USAN S CHNEIDER , SCRP , GMS 2 0 11 W O R L D W I D E E R C ® President, Susan Schneider, SCRP, GMS, president of Plus Relocation Services, Minneapolis, MN, has a favorite book: “The Go-Giver,” which she has shared with numerous friends and colleagues. In it, the main character learns that changing his focus from getting to giving— putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to their lives—ultimately leads to unexpected returns. And that’s how Schneider lives her life. She’s equally at ease on the Worldwide ERC® stage, announcing a keynote speaker; on the sidelines as a soccer mom; or pushing through back-to-back meetings at Plus headquarters. “I’m a what-you-see-iswhat-you-get kind of person. Love my family, love my work, love to be in the moment wherever I am.” Sometimes mistaken for Jennifer Aniston when traveling—Schneider 26 MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011

occasionally tells would-be fans she’s the star’s older sister for fun—she has built a life that fits comfortably: with robust family ties and a keen focus on business (and a firm aversion to business suits!). In the late 1960s, Schneider’s parents, Mick and Sandy Lee, founded Plus Relocation Services after learning the difficulties experienced by local corporations attempting to recruit employees to Minneapolis. Their company began as a destination counseling center, then evolved into a real estate company, and finally grew into a global provider of relocation employee mobility services. It wasn’t long after finishing her degree in communications from Luther College, Decorah, IA, that her career in employee mobility officially began. “I never thought that I was going to go into the family business; I wanted to do everything but

that. After I got out of school, they were short-handed and needed somebody to come in and help out, and 20 years later, here I am.” She worked every job in the company, attaining hands-on experience in a variety of positions, from administration to sales to counseling, before becoming president in 2005. “I think there are some people who view others growing up in a family business and assume that things are handed to you; that you don’t have to work. I would tell you that in some ways I had to work twice as hard to prove my credibility. I couldn’t wait for the day when people said, ‘you know what, I think she’s actually come into her own.’ That’s been part of my experience in Worldwide ERC®; it has given me an ability to prove to myself I can accomplish some significant things on my own, and make a difference outside my four walls.”

Photo credit: Sara Jorde from Sara Jorde Photography


Susan Schneider Profile_MOBILITY 12/3/10 4:45 PM Page 3


Playing to Your Strengths Those who know Schneider say that focusing on her strengths is one 28 MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011

Photo credits: Sara Jorde from Sara Jorde Photography

Schneider lives in Plymouth, MN, with Mark, her husband of 17 years; their son Jack, 13; daughter Ellie, 11; and the animals Mark has christened “Sue’s Zoo:” Stella, a golden doodle; Baby Jane, a lab; and Pete the cat. “From the start, our kids defined their own lives pretty strongly: at 4 years old, Jack informed us he wanted to attend MIT, and has already stated his aspiration to be president of the United States. Ellie is our athlete— she’s focused on soccer and hockey.” Family time is important, whether visiting with friends, watching movies together, or taking trips to her sister’s cabin in Wisconsin. But domestic goddess she isn’t: she credits Mark as the chef of the family, who regularly delivers meals worthy of three Michelin stars, while Schneider is content with the dubious distinction of “making excellent cold food. If you want a sandwich, great— I’m your girl. But don’t ask for anything that requires heat or recipes.” The couple, who met in college, has vastly different personalities: “He’s quiet and reserved. He hates to take me to the grocery store because I’ll strike up a conversation with anyone, and he’ll tell me, ‘this is not the place to make friends.’ Sometimes we just have a goal and a timeframe. “My marriage is a good illustration of one of my big life lessons: nobody is great at everything, and we can consciously choose to focus on our strengths. Could I torture myself trying to become a master chef? Sure. But I’d rather focus on things where I have more natural talent and interest—for example, I mow a mean lawn!”

The Schneider family, Jack, Susan, Ellie, and Mark.

of the things she does best—leveraging her knowledge, skill set, and charisma for a special blend of leadership. One colleague said, “it’s amazing to watch people around Susan. She has an innate charm that immediately connects her to people—she’s the ultimate negotiator, facilitator, service provider, and one-person sales force, and she always manages these roles with great respect and consideration… and humor—always humor. I love the contrast between the cheerleader looks and the hearty laugh that will come out of her… sometimes with a few snorts included! She’s one of the most talented, grounded, down-to-earth people I know.” Schneider’s talents and level head served her well in recent years, both in her company and as an officer of Worldwide ERC®. “I understood very early on that there are many fluctuations in the economy; that it ebbs and flows. With my parents owning a real estate company in the ’80s, I saw what challenges that brought to us and I think it gave me a keen sense of awareness that you need to be prepared, but that you can get through it; you will reinvent, you will try different things and go down different paths. My parents

taught me to be open to change, to be agile, and always be looking for the next opportunity.” Schneider holds close to a philosophy of “failing forward:” “if you wait until something is totally comfortable, you’ll wait forever, and you won’t be ahead of the curve. I’m a believer that if I hadn’t taken the long path and the journey, I would have missed out on so many learnings and opportunities for both success and failure. I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Leading and Developing As president of Plus, her days are spent on strategic leadership, managing and growing the organization, supporting her sales team, and developing employees. She travels about 50 percent of the time, but whether in or out of the office, “my focus is really on leading all the employees to follow the vision of the organization; to keep us relevant, to continue to innovate, and all with the understanding that our values are the foundation of the organization.” Schneider’s staff is committed to the smooth operation of Plus… so when she was “fired” from managing her own calendar (because she kept

Susan Schneider Profile_MOBILITY 12/3/10 4:47 PM Page 5


Susan Schneider, SCRP, GMS To view Susan’s article about her volunteering experience, “An Eye-opening Journey—One New Board Member’s Tale” visit: Resources/MOBILITYarticles/Pages/ 0208schneider.aspx To read the Wednesdays with Susan blog, visit: http://www.plusrelocation.

Spending time together as a family.

double-booking herself) she wasn’t offended; she just took it as another example of leveraging strengths— someone else’s! “I often say that I couldn’t put two shoes on in the morning without them… they take great care of me, because I’m off in 100 different directions in a given week.” And she takes great care of them, too. One of the ways she develops employees and identifies their strengths is through an annual oneon-one meeting with each employee: what she terms a “sit-down with Susan.” When the company’s offices were redesigned, she incorporated a family room—a setting that creates a comfortable environment for a personal conversation. Her employees know they have an open forum in which to discuss anything on their minds. “It’s those times when I think I’ve gotten the greatest understanding of how we can be more effective and how I can help employees grow. When you have that mindset and you look for peoples’ strengths, they show up pretty quickly.” Even as she strives to guide others in their careers, Schneider is quick to credit those around her in aiding in her own development. “I feel very

blessed to be surrounded by great people, whether those are clients or employees. Outside of just my family, my parents… I’m here today because of a lot of mentors who have coached me along the way within the industry.” And she endeavors to pay that mentoring forward. Schneider delivers her observations and experiences on service, leadership, management and partnership through a weekly column on her blog “Wednesdays with Susan” (hosted on Plus’ website).

Leading Worldwide ERC ® Worldwide ERC® convened its 2010 Global Workforce Symposium in Seattle, WA, October 27 to 29. Schneider, then vice president of the board and chair of the program planning committee, moderated a Friday afternoon session geared toward the rising stars of the industry. She told the group that “you only get back what you put in,” and offered them her story about discovering what she terms “the Worldwide ERC® drivethrough lane.” She relayed a turning point in her own career to the group of young professionals, detailing a story about

a conference early in her career where she spent more time in her hotel room addressing work concerns instead of attending breakout sessions; where she talked to her friends and co-workers rather than making new connections. It wasn’t until after she returned and was asked why she attended that she realized that her honest answer was that she didn’t know, and needed to think about it. She realized she was a passive participant, in a drive-through lane of sorts, and was getting out what she put in. Determined to take a more active role, she arrived at the next conference with a plan. She attended sessions, met with clients, vendors, and friends; got in early and stayed to the end. She said that following this experience, having taken advantage of the opportunities the conference presented, she found herself reinvigorated and committed to getting involved. And she did. She has since written for MOBILITY, presented at conferences, and served on numerous committees, culminating with her election as 2011 president of the board. She encouraged the attendees of the YP40 session, and the membership as a whole, to be deliberate about their own involvement in the organization. “Don’t wait for someMOBILITY/JANUARY 2011 29

Susan Schneider Profile_MOBILITY 12/3/10 4:48 PM Page 6

At left, Susan speaking at the Worldwide ERC® National Relocation Conference in Orlando, FL. Above, participating in the inaugural Speed Networking session.

body to tap on your shoulder. You can be intentional about your development. There are so many opportunities; there are so many needs within the leadership. It’s changing with a new economy, with technology, and with a span of five generations sitting within our industry. There’s a perfect blend when you get all the different generations in a room. “I’m really excited about YP40— because I was there. How do we tap into this emerging leadership within our own organization and have them begin setting the future? Without the opportunities I had I wouldn’t be here. And we have to make sure we’re looking to the upcoming generations and leadership. They will help us define what we need to do. But we have to make sure they have a seat at the table.”

Plans for the Future Schneider’s innovative spirit was in strong evidence in 2010, when as vice president she chaired the National Relocation Conference and Global Workforce Symposium Program Planning Committees. She was a lively and ambitious facilitator to the groups she led, and they responded with meeting content and formatting that was thought-provoking, positive, enjoyable, and actionable. Out of that creativity came two new additions to 30 MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011

Worldwide ERC®’s meeting programs: speed networking (pairing buyers and suppliers for rapid business conversations and quick introductions that could pave the way for more connections later) and the “geek speak” lab, to provide on-site assistance to attendees in areas ranging from software to social media. “I want to be part of an environment where we are always on the leading edge. We need to be in a constant ‘dance’ with change—what works for us today may not seem innovative or challenging tomorrow. For example, as an industry, we need to understand our place within talent management. And we need to accept the fact that mobility as it relates to transferring employees is one small piece of a bigger picture.” Schneider has woven this understanding into her objectives as president, along with some strategic elements that underscore CEO Peggy Smith’s goals and the direction that the Worldwide ERC® Board of Directors has embraced: • To develop programs and information that support the synergy and strategy between mobility and talent management. • To endorse three strategic pillars for the association’s growth: Membership, Products/Services and International, and vet all that we do

against our guiding principles of positive ROI/fiscal discipline, relevance and local integration. • To expand the association’s resources, programs, membership and professional development into emerging and non-traditional markets. • To bring a new and higher level of partnership to Worldwide ERC® members and the association’s strategic alliances, and • To identify and develop future volunteers, and build the framework for optimal succession planning.

A Chance to Make a Difference Schneider is not just a go-giver— she’s a go-getter. And though she wishes she had more than a year to implement the ideas she has for our association, she’s determined to make her year as president meaningful. “It’s exciting—I’m tremendously honored to have been elected to this office. But it’s not about the role or title, it’s about the fact that I’m positioned to impact our industry. I’m passionate about it. I grew up in it. I want people to look back and say, ‘she was part of something big… and she really cared.” Frank Mauck is managing editor of MOBILITY, magazine of Worldwide ERC®, Arlington, VA. He can be reached at +1 703 842 3432 or e-mail

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Relocation Training 2011 and Beyond


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BY NANCY HARMANN, ABRM, ABR, CRP, CRS, GMS, GRI, PMN, SRES, WRS, AND RYAN CARRELL, CRP With the rapid advent of technological progress in all areas of business, the process of communicating information across vast distances for the purpose of training agents and mobility professionals has been mastered. Harmann and Carrell write that the latest trend in relocation training is not about curriculum, but how that information is delivered and absorbed, and that the future of training is collaborative learning with group interaction in person and online.


esterday and today. Ironically, understanding the future of relocation training requires us to take a close look at the past. Many relocation-savvy agents have had long-term careers in real estate and have been through the major market gyrations in the early 80s and 90s. Many agents, especially those who have entered the business during the past five years, may have built their businesses, their qualifying production, and their experience as very successful order takers. It is imperative to know your audience and to have a strong historical perspective on each training participant’s breadth of market knowledge and experience. A key component of successful future training will be to acknowledge these “successful bad habits” and incorporate some of the basics necessary to round out their knowledge of how to analyze market data and provide expert advice.


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Back in the early 1980s, many relocation departments dealt directly with personnel managers who called and asked to assist one of their employees either moving to or from the area. Unlike today, there existed few relocation management companies (RMCs) to provide business. We did not have the Worldwide ERC® Broker Market Analysis Report or any formalized training on destination or homesale assistance. Some of the first broker’s price opinions (BPOs) were a hodgepodge of patched-together sheets, many of which did not even belong to the company requesting the assistance. In response to the need at the time, the Employee Relocation Council, under the direction of thenExecutive Vice President H. Cris Collie and the corporate board, strategized the inception of its beta ERC® form in 1988. The form was well received by brokers and RMCs. Yearly relocation updates were offered to the agents and slowly guided them in the direction of effective practices with corporate buyers or sellers. Many of the larger companies we represented were invited to attend relocation seminars so that agents could hear directly how they wanted their transferees handled. During the 1990s, with the widespread integration of desktop computing, relocation handbooks or manuals were pulled together as a guide for agents when working with a corporate buyer or seller. The organization was improving, but it was still primarily paper-focused and based on electronic documents. As an industry, real estate businesses were scurrying to build the first use34 MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011

Remember when there were… ➤

No referral fees

No cell phones

No online MLS

No official training or certifications ➤

No e-mail

No digital cameras

And we survived. Now think when there will be… ➤ Cell phones, laptops, desktops, iPods, and cameras all replaced by one digital appliance ➤ Virtual listing presentations with live visual and audio ➤

Mortgage portability

➤ Retinal scans as legal signatures ➤ GPS coordinates in lieu of addresses or street names

And still we will survive…

ful real estate websites and the first hand-held organizers. In the intervening years, we have ramped up our ability to transfer information electronically and to take advantage of the ever-widening array of new technological devices and breakthroughs. Looking back, it is clear we have learned how to transfer information quickly at great distances and use web-based search engines to communicate with our clients more effectively. But… time never stands still.

Fast Forward At its essence, the latest trend in relocation training is not a monu-

mental shift in the curriculum, but in how we learn. As technology increases the speed and efficiency of everything we do so, too, it affects the processes by which we learn. Classroom-style instruction is less effective in today’s environment of momentum and movement. Television, social media, Internet sites,, iPods, iPads… all of these stimuli have shortened our attention spans and amplified the human desire for instant gratification. Today, a three-hour class of PowerPoint slides with one instructor feels strangely like solitary confinement to younger generations. The future of training is collaborative learning with group interaction in person and via the web. Submersion into discussions, real-life case studies, and hands-on interactive modules bring the content to life. Technology is advancing too quickly for any of us to be truly effective in its use. As the communication process between the real estate brokerage and our corporate or RMC clients continues to migrate to digital platforms, IT professionals increasingly will play a larger part in our relocation training. A collaborative or tag-team approach undoubtedly will be necessary. Relocation agents will continue to need education on the importance of an accurate absorption rate calculation, but they also will need to know how to convey that message from their iPad directly into the online platform and digital BMA of the RMC (which can then be viewed real-time via a webinterface by their corporate client). Webinars, new just a few years ago, are now a fairly standard training delivery system. Quickly though,

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webinars will be taken to the next level (or replaced) with interactive learning systems accompanied by preclass testing so that individual agents can pinpoint the proper spot in a curriculum based on their current level of knowledge. We also are likely to see postseminar online testing so that relocation directors or operations managers can track the level of retention our trainees are achieving. Learning management systems (LMS) are just beginning to provide

this pre-/post-test approach and will provide customized, targeted, individual follow up. Time has become a precious commodity and one-size no longer fits all. Today, we want to be pertinently educated and lightly entertained with no time wasted. Do not be surprised if tomorrow’s relocation class is an interactive online training program that resembles a hybrid video game and social networking platform‌ Facebook meets executive MBA. As with any training, content is always key, but

today and in the future, the method of delivery is absolutely critical. Now where is my MLS book? Nancy Harmann, ABRM, ABR, CRP, CRS, GMS, GRI, PMN, SRES, WRS, is director, relocation, REO and corporate business development Latter & Blum, Inc./ C. J. Brown/Noles-Frye Realtors, New Orleans, LA, and a member of the MOBILITY Editorial Advisory Committee. She can be reached at +1 800 428 8294 or e-mail Ryan Carrell, CRP, is director of relocation and client services for Carpenter Realtors, Indianapolis, IN. He can be reached at +1 800 635 4043 or e-mail

On the Web For further information concerning relocation training, please visit Worldwide ERCŽ Certified Relocation Professional Designation Worldwide ERCŽ Global Mobility Specialist Designation Learning Zone™ Webinars

RELATIONSHIPS MATTER      For More Information call:

800-635-3448 or Visit Our Website:

Š2009 Air Animal Inc. All Rights Reserved


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BY CHARLENE SOLOMON As the world continues to flatten, employees often find themselves working virtually with colleagues and co-workers. Solomon writes that ensuring these teams’ effectiveness now is an important and highly visible objective in most organizations, offering an overview of the challenges inherent in this type of work as well as guidelines for the creation of


successful virtual teams.

hink about it—in global business today, almost everyone is on some sort of virtual team. It takes the form of working with colleagues and clients from around the world, needing to manage them, negotiating with them, or simply communicating with them and, in each case, much of your interaction takes place via phone, e-mail, and maybe even web cam. There is no question that at times this can be a challenging, even frustrating way to work and, surprisingly, there are few courses that teach people how to work effectively on a global virtual team. Equally interesting, as ubiquitous as virtual teams are, the statistics are hard to come by. Nevertheless, according to the 2010 “Challenges of Working in Virtual Teams,” a report published by RW3 CultureWizard based on data of employees of multinational corporations, the following important information was identified: • 80 percent of respondents reported they were part of a team with people based in different locations; • 63 percent indicated nearly half of their teams were located outside the home country; • 64 percent considered their (own) team to be an example of a virtual team; and • 60 percent reported that their virtual teams were successful or very successful, and 40 percent believed their virtual teams were somewhat successful or not successful. MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011 37

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On the Web To learn more about virtual teams, as well as to preview RW3’s 2010 “Challenges of Working in Virtual Teams” report, please visit Virtual Teams Survey Report 2010—The Challenges of Working in Virtual Teams Virtual-Teams-Survey-Report-2010-The-Challenges-of-Working-in-Virtual-Teams.aspx Raising the Bar: Leading Global, Virtual Teams Effective Virtual Communication and Team Meetings with Your Chinese Customers and Co-workers

Impact of Virtual Teams Global virtual teams are a complex mixture of individual personalities and skills, cultural values, and diverse work styles, and in today’s corporate world are responsible for everything from day-to-day operations to new


business initiatives. Making these teams effective is now an important and highly visible corporate objective in most organizations. Of course, global teams have been made possible by technology (collaborative software, telephone conference lines, and

mobile computing) and, with the growth of these teams and the increasingly complex challenges they are given, the opportunity for failure lurks around every corner. To be effective, talented individuals have to find mutually agreeable ways to work

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together to meet their common goals. This diversity makes them quite challenging, yet at the same time, the very diversity that makes them difficult also makes them potentially more creative and powerfully effective. When global teams work, researchers say they are not only productive, but can be even more innovative than traditional teams. According to noted cross-cultural and global leadership expert Dr. Nancy Adler, “cultural diversity enables an increase in creativity due to a wider range of perspectives, more and better ideas, and less ‘groupthink,’ and that for these reasons, diversity has the potential to increase performance.” She continues in her 1997 book, “International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior,” that “… successful global teams have an understanding and appreciation of the role of culture and diversity, as an ‘imperative for survival’.” They are powerfully effective when team members work together well, but they often face myriad challenges—among them the cultural differences that can create a huge array of obstacles. These often can be mitigated if they are understood, but unfortunately they also can be inten-

sified if they are ignored or not taken seriously at the beginning of a team effort. Add the virtual complications, where people do not see each other face-to-face, and you have some hurdles to overcome.

Challenges for Virtual Teams If you have served on a global team, you know just how complicated it can get. Although you may share technology platforms, work simultaneously, and develop strategies and tactics online just as if you were in the same room together, you and your team members might have radically different attitudes about adhering to deadlines, about scheduling meetings, and even about teamwork itself. You may have different levels of proficiency with language, and once you compound that by replacing some of the face-to-face interaction with technology, you do not have any visual clues. It is a wonder that global virtual teams are ever effective. Given the need for global teams and the frequency with which they come together, as well as the complexity of working with people who live in different countries and may have different notions of collaboration, it is no wonder organizations are beginning to look at specific skill-

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Challenges for Virtual Teams Time zones are the most frequent challenge teams face, followed by: • lack of visual stimuli, which makes concentration and communication difficult; • difficulty establishing trust; • magnified language challenges; • native English speakers dominating conversations; • clashing communication styles; • frequent, subtle misunderstandings; • cultures that need to develop strong relationships are hindered; and • frustration over meeting deadlines.


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Critical Rules for Successful Teams We also have found there are several critical steps to creating successful teams: 1. Discuss the impact of culture with all team members. 2. Solicit feedback from all team members: written and oral. 3. Allow non-native English speakers adequate time to express their ideas. 4. Avoid slang. 5. Check often for understanding. 6. Confirm and double-check schedule and time agreements. 7. Define a process for decision-making. 8. Define a process for disagreement and debate. 9. Review important decisions in writing and solicit confirmation. 10. Help each other understand and avoid potential cultural misunderstandings.

building to help global virtual teams become more effective.

Skills to Enhance Virtual Team Effectiveness Each virtual team has to find some way to replace the positive elements and team-building activities that happen in face-to-face team meetings; to consciously recreate the collegiality, teamwork, mutual respect, and understanding that are critical for all

teams to function well. In traditional teams, these critical elements are created more organically and naturally in face-to-face situations, so virtual team members need to find ways to build teamwork in a virtual and often multicultural environment. Most important, you need to devote time to find alternative ways to create cohesion among team members because it will not happen organically.

Yang Zhang, Ph.D., and Johanna Johnson, Ph.D., in “Building Effective Global Virtual Teams: Challenges and Guidelines,� offer the following advice: Regarding culture and language: Increase each individual team member’s knowledge of his or her own cultural values. This can be accomplished through suggested reading and online resources. Increase the team’s collective knowledge of the range of cultural differences present in the group. It would be important for people to review details of the cultures present in their team and think about where they might face challenges. Encourage people to assess their own personal cultural styles and how those may affect the group. Establish conversational rules from the beginning. Acknowledge differences in accents and encourage team members to be mindful of them. Remind team

1. 2. 3. 4.

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members to refrain from using words with multiple meanings, idioms, or slang, if possible. Create multiple channels of communication, especially those that allow opinions and ideas to be communicated less publicly. Give team members time to consider the options being presented, and allow them to express their opinions in writing or even anonymously if feasible. On developing trust and relationships: Encourage some face-toface interactions if possible, especially at the beginning of a project. Allow opportunities for team members to engage in informal conversations if they are comfortable. It is important to keep in mind that not everyone is equally comfortable with, or open to, talking about his/her non-work life. Therefore, use this strategy only when team members are receptive to it. Trust often develops when members establish credibility through demonstrating their abilities and competence. Give team members the opportunity early-on to engage in tasks that demonstrate their skills, or introduce team members to each other by highlighting their past experience and current expertise with the matters at hand. Concerning logistical challenges: Consider rotating conference calls through different time zones so that team members share the inconvenience. Have the team work through process and logistical challenges prior to starting to work together as a group. Take advantage of time zone differences by


6. 7.

arranging work in a way that team members in “earlier” and “later” time zones can finish a piece of work sequentially. If the nature of the task requires interaction and discussion, plan and conduct online meetings or online collaborative tasks with techniques suitable to the group situation. For example, using a facilitator can help open-ended problemsolving sessions to be more organized and efficient.


It is clear that global virtual teams need to establish specific work rules (i.e., rules for respectful interaction) that are assumed in traditional teams. They also need to pay greater attention to team structure and carefully monitor—and adhere to—the work rules they have created. Finally, they need to be aware of the influence of culture on work styles and to develop procedures to ensure intercultural effectiveness. While none of the skills needed to be effective on virtual teams are difficult, you will find that implementing and practicing them will yield tremendous results. Charlene Solomon is executive vice president of RW3 CultureWizard, New York, NY. She can be reached at +1 212 691 8900 or e-mail



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The United Kingdom, a world power with a long history of economic and cultural influence, has long been a popular destination for international assignments. Dean and GroseHodge offer an overview of important relocation concerns.


he United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) comprises the main island of Great Britain, which includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland on the island of Ireland. Each segment has its own distinctive culture and customs, and reserves some political rights. Assignees will find living in the UK a pleasant and enriching experience. In spite of their regional differences, the British generally are a close-knit homogeneous people who value their traditions. They are rightfully and fiercely proud of their many accomplishments over a long history in the arts, sciences, and politics, at home and internationally.  In this article, we will explore some basic information about a potential relocation to the United Kingdom.

Housing Considerations There are no specific restrictions on foreign residents purchasing their own homes. However, assignees will need to consider: • Whether they have any credit in the UK, as securing a mortgage without a credit history is almost impossible. • Whether they have sufficient knowledge of the local area in which they intend to buy before making such a large financial investment. • Whether they still own a home in their home country with all the associated finance and running costs. 42 MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011

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• How long they expect their stay in the UK to last. If they do not own the property for more than one year, they will be liable for tax. Also, under the terms of the mortgage contract, there may be financial penalties for redeeming the mortgage early. • Whether they are being paid in pounds sterling in the UK or their own currency in their home country. In the latter case, an assignee with a sterling mortgage will be exposed to both foreign exchange and property market fluctuations. There are two types of purchase arrangements: “leasehold” and “freehold.” The difference between the two relates to ownership of the land on which the property is built. Whereas a freehold provides the buyer with complete ownership of


the land for an unlimited period of time, properties bought “leasehold” grants the holder of the leasehold (the buyer) rights to the land for a fixed period of time. The leasehold period continues to run down regardless of the property ownership. Thus, if you purchase a property on which the lease expires while you own it, you will have to pay to renew

the leasehold for the next period. The closer the leasehold is to expiring, the less likely mortgage lenders are to grant you a mortgage. Assignees should not consider purchasing any property with a leasehold of less than 90 years. The purchase and sale of property also requires the assistance of a qualified lawyer or “solicitor.”An unpleasant characteristic of British property transactions is “gazumping,” which occurs when, having agreed to pay the asking price and your offer being accepted, you are outbid by another prospective purchaser. You are not safe from “gazumping” until contracts have been exchanged between yourself and the vendor. The average time taken to exchange contracts is three months. This process can be

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expedited by using solicitors who specialize in conveyancing. Buyers also should be aware that the market in the UK is not nearly as fluid as in the United States, for example. Usually, the seller will have to wait for the purchaser to sell his or her own property before closing. Although the UK has a smaller percentage of rental properties than most other European countries, a slump in property prices in recent years has increased the amount and variety of what may be rented, although rental prices have not softened. In and around London there are plenty of rental properties of all


types available, although the larger the accommodation, the harder it will be to find. The London area is very accustomed to hosting short-, medium-, and long-term foreign visitors. Other major cities such as Edinburgh, Belfast, and Manchester also have reasonable availability of homes to rent. In general, availability of rental properties will be better in and around major cities, and in the Southeast region in particular. Many landlords make their properties available to rent only to corporations, rather than to individuals. This means that the corporation is the tenant as opposed to the assignee

who is classified as “the occupant.� While this may represent a greater risk to the landlord in terms of how well the property is cared for, the financial security a corporation affords is seen by many as outweighing this risk. It is advisable to use an estate agent who can familiarize you with the procedures used in the UK regarding real estate. In Scotland, for example, it is customary for properties to be sold using sealed bids. An agent can advise as to how much to offer.

Visas If you are not British, from the European Economic Area (EEA), or a Swiss national, you may need a visa before you can visit the UK. Depending on where you are traveling from, you can apply for a visa either online; through one of the UK visa sections based at UK embassies, high commissions, consulates; or through visa application centers run by VFS Global and WorldBridge Service. With one or two exceptions, UK visa applicants will be required to provide

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biometric information in the form of fingerprints and a digital photograph. Furthermore, applicants from certain countries who wish to come to the UK for more than six months also must provide a health certificate confirming that they are free from infectious tuberculosis.

Once approved, your visa (the entry clearance certificate) will be placed in your passport. To find out if you do need a visa, please visit the official British government website for visa services at the following link: Please note that securing a visa does

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not automatically mean you can work in the UK.

Working in the UK Those who do not require permission to work in the UK include: • EEA (European Economic Area) country nationals. Be advised that certain EEA nationals still may need to apply for a registration certificate under the Workers Registration Scheme within one month of their employment commencing. • Those with permanent residence in the UK, (more commonly referred to as having Indefinite Leave to Remain).   • Holders of UK ancestry visas. • Spouses and partners of EEA nationals, work permit holders, and holders of ancestry visas. The process for securing permission varies depending on which tier (category) you fall under within the UK’s points-based system. There are five tiers within the points-based system: Tier 1—Highly skilled workers; Tier 2—Skilled workers with an offer of employment (includes intracompany transfers); Tier 3—Low skilled workers (where there are temporary labor shortages); Tier 4—Students; and Tier 5—Youth mobility and temporary workers. The most common routes for corporate assignees are Tiers 1 and 2. Tier 2 applicants will need their employer to have a UK Border Agency sponsorship license and secure a certificate of sponsorship on their behalf. This is not required of Tier 1 applicants. For each tier, points are awarded on various criteria such as earnings, qualifications, age, English language skills, and

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more. You will need to obtain a specific number of points for the tier under which you are applying. To gauge the likelihood of your application being successful, please visit the UK Border Agency’s point-based calculator: uk/pointscalculator. The current UK government is eager to reduce net migration to the UK and has, therefore, set interim caps on Tier 1 and certain Tier 2 approvals (intra-company transfers are exempt). This cap will remain in place until the end of March, after which a new policy will take effect. A recent announcement from the government has confirmed that these caps will continue under the new policy, however, intra-company transfers will remain exempt as long as their salary exceeds £40,000 per annum.

Spouses and Dependents If you are the accompanying spouse or long-term partner of a person permitted by nationality or certificate of sponsorship to work in the UK, in most cases you also will be eligible to work. You will not, however, be able to obtain permission to work in the UK in your own right and will remain dependent on your spouse or partner’s permission to work. It is worth noting that in consequence of the global financial crisis the number of jobs available in both the UK’s public and private sectors has fallen significantly.

is an offense and the police have the right to prosecute. Of those required to register, spouses and children older than 16 also must register with the police. If you come from one of the countries listed at the link policyandlaw/immigrationlaw/

immigrationrules/appendix2/ it is likely that you and your family will need to register with the police.

Choosing a School in the UK Prior to moving abroad, you and your family will have to inquire about the school your child will

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Police Registration Certificate It may be that on arrival in the UK, your or a family member’s passport is stamped with an instruction to register with the police. That person must then register with the police and will have only seven days in which to do so. Failure to register MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011 49

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attend. It is necessary to obtain information about the school and its curricula and facilities to help you make a qualified decision. International schools generally offer the International Baccalaureate qualification, which allows the student access to, and in some cases class credit at, universities throughout the world. In most cases, there will be ESL (English as a second language)

classes as well as a wide range of foreign language options, although the medium of instruction usually is in English. In the category of international schools, there also are foreign national schools. Typically, they will offer instruction both in the national native language and in English, although the amount for English tuition varies. Curricula normally are

the national native curricula and will be designed to allow students to fit into their grade level easily and to transfer back to their home country’s schooling system smoothly. Demand for places at such schools, particularly in and around London, is high. Early registration, therefore, is advised. In communities where there is a significant assignee family population but where there is no international school, you may find several local schools particularly familiar with the needs of assignee children. Local schools in the UK are basically either state or private schools. State, or “maintained,” schools are public schools where a free education is available to the children of any UK citizen and to certain categories of foreign residents.

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Private schools in the UK are properly referred to as independent schools. There is a wide range of independent schools accepting children from age 2 to 19 of all abilities and backgrounds. This category also includes the traditional “public” schools that serve children from ages 12 to 18. These schools are for feepaying students, although some offer financial assistance and/or scholarships. Note that many private schools have waiting lists, so start looking for a school as soon as possible. A large number of independent senior schools, and many of the popular preparatory schools, have entrance exams. The academic capabilities demanded vary by school. Popular urban day schools typically demand high academic performance. When selecting a private school for your child, you will have many variables to consider, including: whether you want a day or boarding school; single sex or coeducational school; whether you want a particular religious affiliation; and whether you want a city or country setting. Fees also must be reviewed as there are considerable differences between each school.

Business Practices and Business Style English is widely used internationally in business, politics, and diplomacy—it is one of six official languages of the United Nations, for example. Therefore, the British are accustomed to expecting that everyone who chooses to live and do business in their country will speak English. You will need a good command of the language to survive; interpreters are seldom, if ever, used. Remember that it is a standing joke that, to the British, North Americans do not speak proper “English;” only

the English do. Generally, however, non-English-speaking foreigners who attempt to speak English will not be made to feel uncomfortable if their English is not perfect. The British conversational—as well as negotiating—style is subtle and understated. The British do not use hyperbole but prefer oblique references and understatements. You must, therefore, be sensitive to pick up the important concerns being expressed. Nevertheless, you will encounter forthrightness and honesty, not deception or evasiveness. A confrontational situation is likely to be defused quickly, if at all possible. Anger usually is expressed by an increasing coldness of manner rather than in excited outbursts. Although business in the UK is becoming less formal, a hierarchy is still respected and subordinate and superior would be likely to communicate information via a formal meeting rather than during casual conversation. The British are predisposed to follow established rules and practices. Therefore, the pace of decisionmaking may seem slower than foreigners are accustomed to. Above all, the British believe in doing things the “right” way. Your challenge is to figure out what that means in any given situation. Be understated, not over emphatic; be conservative, not outlandish; be polite and respectful; avoid confrontation; and above all, be patient.

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Anne Dean is the director of editorial services for Living Abroad, LLC, Norwalk, CT, and a member of the MOBILITY Editorial Advisory Committee. She can be reached at +1 203 221 1997 or e-mail Julian Grose-Hodge is relocation manager for Robinsons Relocation, Basingstoke, United Kingdom. He can be reached at +44 1256 859 412 or e-mail MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011 51

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2010 Worldwide ERC Global Thought Leaders Attendees of the Worldwide ERC® 2010 Global Workforce Symposium in Seattle, WA, were afforded an opportunity to hear discussions from mobile workforce thought leaders concerning the critical issues facing their industry, as well as visions for the future of employee mobility.


he Global Thought Leaders session, moderated by Worldwide ERC® CEO Peggy Smith, SCRP, SGMS, featured an insider’s view from some of the industry’s most thoughtful minds on some of the most pressing topics of the day. The discussions included real estate markets, renters and “accidental landlords,” emerging markets, talent management, total rewards mobility packages, metrics and talent analytics, war for talent and employee retention, and multiple generations of talent in the workforce. On the panel were Kimberly Denning, CRP, director of international compensation and benefits for Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA; Sunil Kunte, president of Fidelity Business Services, India, Pvt. Ltd, Bangalore, India; John Pfeiffer, GMS, senior international human resources specialist for Mustang Engineering, Houston, TX; Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. 52 MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011

Scott Real Estate, Issaquah, WA; and Rebecca Spencer, SCRP, president and CEO of Vision Relocation Group, Chantilly, VA.

The Game is Changing The theme of the conference, “The Game is Changing, Are You?” manifested itself through a key discussion in the presentation, with each panelist offering his or her perspective of a changing mobility landscape, as well as predictions for the coming decade. “A lot is happening in India,” said Kunte. ”Of the billion people, there are close to 500 million people who have investable income. And by the end of the decade, close to 800 million people will be [a part of an] able-bodied workforce. And most of these people speak understandable English. There is tremendous youth and enthusiastic Gen Ys coming into the workforce. And as a consequence it is giving rise to employee attrition but, more importantly, is that these

associates have the appetite to go overseas and do cross-border assignments. As companies embrace globalization—and that’s not just doing business across different territories—I think the key would be how can you acquire talent across borders and embed them as part of your own workforce. I believe that will be a game changer in the coming decade. Companies, organizations, countries, communities embracing a cross-border workforce.” “In the field of international compensation and benefits, it’s constantly changing,” said Denning. “If you think about compensation and benefits just for yourself for a moment in the United States, and now times that by all of the different markets around the world with their own schemes, their own laws, their own cost of labor, etc., so it’s always changing. But the one thing that we really see happening with the globalization that is taking over the world is the pace of change, and we really

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From left to right, Peggy Smith, SCRP, SGMS; Sunil Kunte; Kimberly Denning, CRP; John Pfeiffer, GMS; Rebecca Spencer, SCRP; and Lennox Scott.

have to be positioned as organizations to be able to respond to that pace. And so what we’re doing at Microsoft and at other companies is looking at ways that we can make sure we’re more flexible, more adaptable, and have programs in place so that when it’s time to make a move to meet an emerging business need we can do this seamlessly and quickly and partner with everyone up-front so that this occurs.” “We want to be flexible,” said Pfeiffer. “What we came to find is that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. So what we’ve started to do is try to bring analytics and metrics into the HR realm. Keeping in mind that the people we deal with are engineers, so they like numbers and things like that. We tried to speak the business language, starting with really digging into what was working and what was challenging within our expat program building all the thorough up to essentially bringing metrics and analytics to bear

on the global talent management discussion. A lot of measuring, a lot of analyzing, and hopefully speaking the same language of the business.” “When we’re speaking about the game changing, there are two themes that keep coming up,” said Spencer. “From a service provider perspective, one of the things we see is that the delivery is a lot less orchestrated than it’s been in the past. If you look at relocation programs of the past, they’re almost orchestral how they can be managed and delivered. Right now I think we’re in the age of relocation jazz, because the programs are so different for each client and for each transferee receiving multiple tiers of packages and different services and different aspects of their needs-analysis is driving the services that we deliver. “And the other thing, focusing on not confusing activity with results. And that speaks to a little bit about what John was saying about making sure that we’re measuring the right

things, and not only that but we’re doing the right things that help drive a healthy bottom line, which I know we really are all thinking about at the end of the day.” “For the residential real estate industry, everything is continuing to change as the core remains the same,” said Scott. “The core is each of our individual competencies and our relationships. That’s not budged at all. That’s where the business takes place. What has changed is all of the processes due to the Internet. We saw what we call the ‘virtual tilt’ happen in November 2005. That’s when the interactive maps came out; that’s when the public figured out how to use the Internet in the Internet space. Now we’re headed into the mobile revolution that will take us into another phase. ”

The One Takeaway Each panelist was offered a chance to offer one takeaway from the conference. MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011 53

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“Spend time in building future leaders,” said Kunte. “Focus on up-front time in partnering with the business and partnering with compensation and benefits to ensure that you’re prepared for the future and that you’re not exporting something that just works in the home office,” said Denning. “Make the time to plan.” “One of the things that I’m going to take away from this conference, and I’m wondering if everyone else is as well, is that I’ve seen a shift in the attitude and conversation around here, a shift from being the compliance police to being an enabler of business,” said Pfeiffer. “We’re at a point now where I think we’re getting ready to take off, and certainly HR has a vital role to play certainly with compliance, but not so much as a policeman, more as a legitimate seat at the table that we can help get business done.” “We’ve talked a lot during the

conference about reinvention and imagination and innovation,” said Spencer. “I’ve been hearing this statistic for a couple weeks now and I’m not sure exactly what to do with it but I can’t put it down: the Free World Academy predicts that by 2030 paid work will disappear. That we will be working as service providers, as consultants, as contractors. And thinking about that, we are here at the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council and if there are not employees, do we become the Worldwide Consultant Relocation Council? Or the Worldwide Contractor Relocation Council? If any part of this prediction is true, we really need to get on the stick with this reinvention and re-imagination. “Live life with purpose and passion as a contribution,” said Lennox. “Focus on the outcome; let’s increase our efficacy up to whatever that outcome looks like so that we can accomplish it.”

Event Materials Worldwide ERC® maintains a wealth of event materials on its website. From conference presentation handouts, videos, and audio recordings, as well as archived webinars, an assortment of workforce mobility knowledge is just a click away at Pages/index.aspx. To listen (or watch) the 2010 GWS Global Thought Leaders session, as well as the other informative and engaging presentations, please visit Pages/conference-presentations.aspx.


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Relocation Integration: Primary Component to Any People Strategy BY JILL HEINECK, CRP Every challenge in and of itself is an opportunity. Heineck writes that one such opportunity in light of the new challenges facing the employee mobility industry is the chance to compile a comprehensive people strategy concerning talent management, development, and acquisition, thereby positioning an organization for future success.


rganizations everywhere are transforming their talent acquisition and management strategies to address the shifting demand to remove mediocre performers, retain and mobilize internal top talent, and remain poised to acquire external talent when necessary. HR and relocation leaders alike can use the lull in this lean economy

and take proactive steps to position the organization for greater success when things improve. New challenges are confronting our industry at a quickening pace— employees are demanding more from their employers, while the real estate market is pressuring employers to respond with excessive company participation. The timing could not be

better for leaders of HR, relocation, marketing, and finance to sit down together to map out a comprehensive people strategy—a flight plan, if you will—to maximize spend while remaining attractive and competitive in the marketplace through talent management, development, and acquisition. After all, organizations are nothing without their people.


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Talent Leadership

Common Goals

So what does your people strategy look like? Do you value talent? Are you a talent leader? If you can answer these questions, then you are light-years ahead of most organizations that still do not view relocation as a player on a strategic level. Most consider relocation necessary to policy and function, but not directly related to the bottom line success of the employer’s viability, even though it is imperative to do so. In today’s climate, the need to retain talent is even more important, as it is always more time and cost intensive to go out and find new talent. So what can you do to help your client (internal or external) limit talent attrition and maximize business success? I recently had the distinct pleasure of having dinner one-on-one with Worldwide ERC® CEO, Peggy Smith, SCRP, SGMS. In a discussion about this topic, Peggy reminded me of an important aspect of corporate day-to-day operations. She said that we know business unit heads are compensated in most organizations by the performance shown on their profit and loss statement (P&L), and top talent equals top performance which equals top compensation. And, she added, to get the most out of top talent, organizations must engage and excite their workforce to achieve the best results from talented teams and meet business unit goals. Business units are codependent, not independent; and if relocation fails, it is tied back to the business objectives and/or the business unit’s P&L. So what can companies do to reacquaint each business unit to one another and share the common goal?

One way is to make it a company mission to connect HR and relocation, in addition to other relevant units. What am I talking about? I am talking about getting all the “parties” on the same page, whether relocation is its own department, part of HR, or a part of compensation and benefits. Take a proactive approach by asking probing questions to get clients (internal or external) to think outside the traditional “relocation” box. For example, for multiple generations, have you thought about a more flexible suite of benefits that makes the talent feel more engaged by the company? Or, if your relocation programs come from compensation versus relocation, how are you changing compensation structures to accommodate changing employee dynamics? Within many companies, relocation remains merely a function of talent management and acquisition. How about as leverage when sourcing internal and external positions? Why not also make it a function of retention? Following is a casein-point of one company maximizing relocation for talent retention.

Case Study In July 2009, Electrolux North America decided to move its headquarters from Augusta, GA, to Charlotte, NC, to bring all of their North American businesses together to take advantage of synergies and improve coordination among businesses and functional areas. One of the core principles of the move was to retain a large percentage of Electrolux current employees for business continuity. In December 2009, the new location was announced to the employees, and in January 2010, all employ-

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“Electrolux’s approach in structuring the consolidation plan with a talent retention strategy in mind was instrumental in achieving the company’s ambitious retention goals.” ees were “invited” to move with the company. Not only was this a very fast decision, it was also a huge undertaking. However, the message to the Electrolux family was, “look, my company values my contribution. They want me to stay with them.” This bodes well when seeking 100 percent employee participation and nominal attrition. Electrolux is an excellent example of using relocation as a talent retention strategy. The number one priority was to preserve talent over cost, and they did not deviate. “Electrolux’s approach in structuring the consolidation plan with a talent retention strategy in mind was instrumental in achieving the company’s ambitious retention goals,” said

Pat Leon, CRP, GMS, RELO Direct’s, Chicago, IL, executive vice president and COO, who has worked closely with the Electrolux team on the consolidation. Part of the move’s success was because of the close attention paid to the details of the relocation benefits offered. It addressed not only the real estate component, but also lifestyle and family components, thereby sending the message that the company understood that this was a big family decision to make, and that they were going to make it as easy as possible for them to make the move. No stone went unturned. A few notable items: loss on sale for everyone, a mortgage subsidy, in addition to a rental subsidy.

This is an excellent case in point where HR strategically positioned relocation as a retention strategy, and the payoff was huge. Nearly every employee made the move, resulting in minimal loss in the workforce. And, because the company promotes cooperative alignment between HR and relocation, it made the move that much smoother. “We were already a one team before the group move,” said Lee Cibuzar, of Electrolux North America’s benefits and relocation department. And because of this team effort, the company’s mantra, “Stand By Your People,” was easily honored. Jill Heineck is the founder and chief [relocation] officer of Focus Relocation LLC, Atlanta, GA. She can be reached at +1 877 550 7356 or e-mail


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Hey, Where Is My Replacement? BY DANIEL T. BLOOM, SPHR, SSBB, SCRP

The drive to retain talent runs parallel to the need to retain knowledge. Bloom writes that with so many mobility industry professionals approaching retirement, a concerted effort must be undertaken to interest younger generations in careers in mobile workforce management, and offers potential strategies for succession planning and knowledge management.


or the October 2002 issue of MOBILITY, I wrote an article, “Where Have All the Elders Gone?” in which I offered the premise that the founders of the corporate mobility industry were either retiring or passing on. In their place we had no systematic process for transfering their intellectual knowledge to those who followed them within the industry. The resulting findings were what led me to write “Just Get Me There” in 2005, which documented the history of the industry. This new look at the premise of the original article poses the question that now that there exists a basis to pass the knowledge of the industry on to our replacements, to whom do we pass on that knowledge? In attending the 2010 National Relocation Conference in Orlando, FL, I came away with some strong observations. If you looked around the exhibition hall and the meeting rooms, there was a prevalent lack of diversity among the attendees, and we were predominantly older than age 40. If this is an accurate current state of our industry, what does that mean for the future of employee mobility? MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011 59

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Through discussions with representatives from various segments of the industry, I was left with a range of feelings in response to my question. First and foremost, I was told that I had to remember that we are all part of a mature industry. defines a mature industry as an industry in a “declining sector of an economy or one growing slower than the overall economy.” We all recognize that since the economic downturn the corporate mobility industry has been the subject of a decline in volume. If we accept that, how do we ensure that the industry survives for the future and how do we locate, identify, recruit, and hire our replacements among generations that have totally different views of the world than we do? I would suggest that this industry suffers from several shortcomings when we look at what we are offering the future generations. First, the corporate mobility industry does not offer a clear path of development similar to other professions. If I was choosing to enter the field of management or finance, I have at my disposal degrees at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels. If I wanted to enter the mobility profession, there is no such degree available. Other than the body of knowledge contained within the Certified Relocation Professional™ (CRP®) and the Global Mobility Specialist™ (GMS™) programs, there is no such degree for one to specialize in relocation. Second, while much of the HR profession has available a database of best practices to handle the issues that confront them on a daily basis, the mobility industry never has compiled such a database for the processes we deliver. Each relocation man60 MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011

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agement firm claims to have its own individual best practices. Third, during my conversations in preparing this article, I talked with a real estate broker who tried to recruit the 16-year old daughter of her top producer who told the broker that she was not interested in working in

real estate because she had seen how hard her mother worked and she did not desire to duplicate that effort. Fourth, the industry at this time does not offer clear primary functions related to corporate mobility. I cannot tell a possible new recruit just what their place is within the organi-

zation. Are they part of HR? Are they part of the financial area? Are they part of the procurement function? So what do we need to counter this apparent lack of interest in the corporate mobility industry? To identify our next generation of leaders, I believe that we must foster that interest through some very direct efforts on the behalf of the entire industry. The remainder of this article will look at those strategies in detail, with the hope that we can interest the younger generations to seriously look at our industry.

Internship Program If we cannot find a full degree in relocation, then the best alternative would to be to institute a formal internship program across the industry. We are told that we can learn from our mistakes, so we should thoroughly review the Merrill Lynch program from the 1980s. To train the interns in the industry, Merrill Lynch went to college campuses across the country and interviewed 700 individuals, reduced the number to 70, and eventually hired 10. Each of these interns was then rotated through different segments of the mobility process including a comprehensive real estate appraisal course at the University of Connecticut. Today, there are three individuals of the 10 left in the industry. The problem was that once they completed the training and were assigned to a final office location, there was no management support for using the training. We have heard this before when we have had expatriates return to their old positions. To make this work, it will be imperative that we have industry-wide management buyin to the entire program both before, 62 MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011

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Compensation I belong to a number of human capital-related organizations and with almost no exception they periodically release an annual compensation survey for the various positions within the industry. To entice our replacements to enter the profession, Worldwide ERCÂŽ should consider surveying the membership to develop a clear picture of the industry and what the expected compensation levels would be for each level within the industry.

Succession Planning

during, and after the training is completed.

One of the primary concerns of most major employers today is the implementation of a succession plan to identify and prepare the prospective high performers within their organizations to fill open positions as the executive managers retire or move on to greener pastures. The corporate mobility industry likewise must do the same. We must create a succession plan that demonstrates to those who might come after us a road map where their career in corporate mobility can take them. We need to make it crystal clear that we are talking about them entering a career—not just a job. That means that we need to stop making corporate mobility a path to somewhere else.

Mobility Degree A concerted effort should be implemented by the industry leaders to talk with the leading business schools within the country to design and implement a cross-discipline degree program that would take the new personnel through the HR, financial, and tax and legal aspects of the mobility process. It should help them understand the role and importance of relocation in the human capital management arena. 64 MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011

Talent Management The mobility industry needs to find new vehicles for recruiting the much needed new talent. If the business organizations within the industry have not already done so, they need to enter the social media arena immediately. We need to be operating in the same environment as our needed talent. Let them find out on their terms what our industry has to offer.

If I was in the driver’s seat, I would make sure that we had a presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Another aspect of talent management is that we must make an extra effort to reach the sources to increase the diversity levels within the industry by targeting those organizations that represent the other segments of our society.

Role of the Mobility Profession in the Marketplace Since the beginning of the industry, we have had a critical role to play in HR processes. In the beginning, we looked at the transferee as our customer. We need to return to that outlook. I understand that we need to control the costs of the delivery model. We need to demonstrate to the talent resources that we still recognize the vital role the transferee plays in the success of our operations. This means that we need to be able to show that we have a handle on the pulse of the economy and how mobility is a vital part of that effort. We are at a crossroads for our industry. We can continue as we are and find ourselves in a position of having our current human capital resources determine that the time has arrived for them to depart the daily operating expectations, leaving us with no replacements. This would be the writing on the wall for the end of the corporate mobility industry as we know it. The expectation is that many of our long-serving mobility specialists at the corporate level would not be replaced. Our other option is to make a concerted effort to change the image of the industry and ensure that the required talent is in the pipeline to replace the seasoned veterans. Daniel T. Bloom, SPHR, SSBB, SCRP, is president of Daniel Bloom & Associates, Largo FL. He can reached at +1 727 581 6216 or e-mail

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The Price of



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One of the most complex components of global workforce management is that of international payroll reporting. McCarney writes that it is critical that processing, tracking, and reporting expatriate compensation is accurate, and offers eight tips for improving payroll compliance in 2011.

Eight Ways for Improving International Payroll Compliance BY TIM MCCARNEY, GMS


ew components of global mobility are as complex as international payroll compliance and reporting. And few are more critical; rife with consequences if not done correctly. To complicate matters, calculations for exclusions continue to change dramatically and IRS is monitoring expatriate-related payroll forms with greater scrutiny. In addition, a growing number of countries are embrac-

ing stricter rules for the reporting of equity-based compensation for international assignees and more sophisticated methods of capturing reportable wages related to deferred compensation arrangements. Add it up, and it is easy to see why preparing year-end tax and payroll reporting for your company’s international assignees typically ranks somewhere between a root canal and a Justin Bieber concert on the enjoyment scale. But having to do it twice because of errors can be downright excruciating, not to mention expensive when you factor in possible penalties. This makes it absolutely critical that you are accurately processing, tracking, and reporting expatriate compensation. And with your 2010 year-end reporting already completed—hopefully—there is no better time than the present to start planning for a problem-free 2011. The following tips can help you

improve the overall process to boost tax compliance and reduce or eliminate late filings and W-2C amendments that inevitably will cost you more time, money, and sanity.

The Great Eight


While it is still fresh in your mind, make a list of the things that worked well in preparing your last year-end report and what needs to be addressed for next year. Ask your assignment administration provider and your expatriate tax firm to create a similar list, with their perspectives on what worked and what did not. Then do the same for the individuals in your overseas offices who are responsible for providing data for the year-end process. Even if you only had to do one W-2C, why take a chance that the one mistake you make could be for a senior level executive? Bottom line: There always is room for improvement. MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011 67

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Better Benchmarks


ll too often, employers focus their benchmarking efforts on policy components instead of using benchmarking to drive program improve-

ments. Traditional benchmarking can lull them into a “follow the pack” mentality (which can lead to mediocrity) instead of breaking new ground to find even better solutions. With that in mind, Weichert Relocation Resources developed a diagnostic benchmark designed to help uncover opportunities for improvements not only in policies but process. As part of this benchmarking effort, companies are asked to assess how well they perform certain key functions that minimize risk and improve compliance. Respondents identified two key areas that have the potential for errors and as a result, compliance and penalties. Among the employers completing the diagnostic benchmark in 2010 (a mix of client and prospect companies): • Only 56 percent agreed or strongly agreed that “everyone involved in reporting assignment data has a clear understanding of requirements, process, and timetable.” • Only 50 percent indicated they “collect all expense payments made locally in a timely manner and rarely have any gaps in data.” • Only 38 percent agreed or strongly agreed that “corrections to year-end government tax reports (i.e., W-2) are rarely necessary.” Following the eight tips presented in this article can help you tighten up these process fault lines and avoid international payroll aftershocks.


Centralize payments. Some companies have too many people making too many payments from a variety of locations across the globe. And most of the time they are not following up to see if these payments were ever recorded, or making note of the amounts paid. One way to overcome this problem is to reduce the number of payers (as much as possible) and centralize payments. Establishing payment hubs in specific geographical or business locations will keep this critical process in the hands of the people who know it best—the subject matter experts tasked with overseeing your program. 68 MOBILITY/JANUARY 2011


Build consistency. Train the people who make your payments and equip them with the proper tools; their familiarity with the process will pay dividends and keep things consistent. Also, make training a regular and ongoing part of the process; solicit ideas from the group for topics they would like to explore in greater detail and build it into your project plan. This will reinforce the importance of the process and, ultimately, help make it better. It is a practice that Michael McCleary, global mobility manager at Alcoa, Pittsburgh, PA, says he believes in. “The process has to start with the establishment of consistent payroll contacts across the globe who

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have proper training, utilize a consistent format to obtain the data, follow up to ensure one-hundred percent compliance, and review everything for accuracy,” he said. “At Alcoa, we conduct monthly payroll reconciliations with our relocation management company and our internal payroll groups. It’s sort of like an autopsy performed at the end of each month to see if anything went wrong and, if something did, how to prevent it from happening again. This keeps us on top of things on a monthly basis for our big populations and it works very well. We have very few problems, and the problems we do have get addressed immediately. Our motto, and I can’t stress this enough, is ‘consistency, consistency, and routine.’” Provide your team with the right tools. Yes, your grandfather spent countless hours preaching to you the value of honest manual labor. But when it comes to international financial data, it is a good idea to leave it to the machines. The process of tracking and processing international payroll and payments, with all of its moving parts—from data gathering to compiling, including calculations and reporting, and then the integration of the data back into the organization—is really a perfect storm for disaster. Extra steps in the process that call for manually inputing the same data over and over again create additional opportunity for human error. Better if a report can be created from the accounts payable system or some other datagathering tool so that the workload is reduced without adding extra steps. Track and review data as it is collected throughout the year. Some companies only think



about reviewing collected payroll data when they typically need to—at the end of the year. And while it might make sense from a timing perspective, you could reap significant benefits from making data tracking and reviewing a year-round effort. For example, reviewing data quarterly (or even monthly, if possible) instead of annually will help you catch potential problems sooner so that they can be addressed immediately instead of in the midst of a year-end crunch. When it comes to international payroll, the more you can track, the better off you will be. “There are so many things that get tied together when you’re processing payroll that if you wait until the end of the year, you’re just going to increase the number of opportunities for errors and rework down the road,” says McCleary. “Payroll should be a routine, not a fire drill.” Along the lines of the previous tip, make a practice of interacting with payroll throughout the year, not just at year’s end. Performing regular reconciliations can help you make sure that the data provided and the data being stored are in synch, and that any payments made to expatriates above and beyond salary—such as deferred and incentive compensation, lumpsum bonuses, and one-time payouts—are recorded as they occur, making all of your data sources more accurate. This last point is particularly important, as countries and taxing authorities have become more aggressive, pursuing every dollar they can get to replace revenues lost to unemployment. With more jurisdictions tracking assignees after they have left and reviewing their hostcountry tax returns to identify any



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On the Web For more information on compliance issues, please visit Addressing Soaring Costs Through Payroll Tax Compliance Blind Man’s Bluff: The Perils of Overlooking International Assignment Compliance Issues It All Adds Up—Expatriate Compensation Collection and Considerations for Consistent Program Compliancy income that was earned in the host location and should have been taxed there, keeping tabs on these payments can help reduce concerns for your assignees. Develop a project plan. Things tend to work smoother when there is a plan in place and a



responsibility list for assigning accountability for critical tasks. Schedule regular “status check” meetings throughout the year with the appropriate parties to make sure everything is on track. This will encourage collaboration and efficient teamwork.


Start now. Ideally, planning for next year should begin as soon as the prior year is finalized. Tim McCarney, GMS, is manager of marketing communications for Weichert Relocation Resources, Norwell, MA, and a member of the MOBILITY Editorial Advisory Committee. He can be reached at +1 781 982 5026 or e-mail

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ardboard boxes, numbered neon stickers, packaging tape, the whole nine yards. Once again, it was time to leave, and at this point in my life I knew the drill all too well. In six simple weeks I would be the new kid on the block full of awkward conversation and a repetitive story, which I would reiterate to each neighbor who came to our door. My brother and I would go through the same routine of walking the dog around the block a million times to scope out the kids our age. The first day of class would be terrible, and full of engagement in short exchanges like, “Hey, where are you from?” or, “You’re the new one, right?” Life as I knew it was about to be twirled, twisted, and flipped—for the seventh time and counting.

Each year, the Charlotte Metro Area Relocation Council (CMARC) awards the Jane Osborne Memorial Scholarship to a high school senior who relocated to the Charlotte, NC-area during his or her high school years and submits an essay about the experience. MOBILITY is pleased to present the winning essay, which offers a view of the mobility process through the eyes of a teenager.


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At age 14, I had lived in more places than most people my age had visited. Charleston, WV, Raleigh, NC, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (and everywhere in between), I had at one point in my life called home. Just before I was allowed to become comfortable in a new setting, it was once again time to pick up and leave. Accompanying the strange smell of a new and empty house would be a new school, a new team, and a new set of directions. To me, “move” was just another horrible, four-letter word. Each time it was the same old, same old. It started out with a family meeting. My dad would break the news, and my brother and I would ask questions until our brains gave out. “Is it cold there? Do they know what baseball is? How many kids live


in that town? Does TV work in North Carolina?” Reluctance was followed by promises of bigger rooms and a cool backyard. Being kids, we quickly gave in. House showings appeared on the calendar and we were forced to commit to the most horrible thing in the world… clean rooms. As strange people began showing up at our door, we would take hour-long trips to Chuck E Cheese, the McDonald’s play room, or anywhere else that would keep us occupied until it was safe to return home. Within two weeks, the moving truck was parked outside our house and the movers were taping cardboard to our floors. Plans quickly turned to reality. The tears and goodbyes would set in as the closing dates came closer.

Perhaps the only positive I saw in our constant relocation was the opportunity to reacquaint myself with, because if we were going to move I was going to pick the house. Other than that, waving goodbye to everything familiar, I convinced myself, was a depressing way to live. I guess you could say I was living for the moment, and when the only things that mattered were happening now, moving doesn’t quite fit into the schedule. Looking back, however, I see things a little differently. Now I live in Charlotte, NC. I go to Ardrey Kell High School, I play softball, I swim, and I have a great group of friends. I have only lived here for three years and when people ask me where home is, I reply with

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whatever city would be most likely to spark a conversation. I haven’t lived next door to my best friend since I was two, or played on the same team for three years, or even memorized a town like the back of my hand. But I do have friends across the country; I know how people work, how they are different, how they are the same. I have experienced lifestyles of every sort and been put in every situation. I am comfortable with talking to anyone and everyone, and little has come to intimidate me. Being immersed into a new world every few years has taught me how to adapt, but more importantly how to get along. I have realized what is important and what is pity; how to live life by taking advantage of every opportunity. In retrospect, the occasional


Life as I knew it was about to be twirled, twisted, and flipped—for the seventh time and counting.

change of scenery for lifelong lessons wasn’t such a bad trade-off after all. Next year I will be going away to college. Quite ironically, the four years spent on campus will be one of my longest stays in a single location. Unlike a majority of my classmates, I am not nervous to experience something new; rather, I am excited for another opportunity to make the most of another stage in my life. I am fully aware that, when I arrive, challenges will be thrown my way and school will be tough, but from experience I will know how to take those challenges and run with them.

My dad would always tell us as we packed our rooms, “one day you will look back and be thankful.” My brother and I would roll our eyes and look at each other with the same old thought—he doesn’t understand. He doesn’t understand new friends, new teams, and new schools. Well, he did understand, and each day I become more and more appreciative of how my childhood evolved. Each neighborhood was picked with care and our futures in mind. All of the people I was surrounded with have in some way made me who I am today. The dif-

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Next year I will be going away to college. Quite ironically, the four years spent on campus will be one of my longest stays in a single location. Unlike a majority of my classmates, I am not nervous to experience something new; rather, I am excited for another opportunity to make the most of another stage in my life.

ferent places and locations have shaped me to become the best possible version of myself, and for that, I could not be more thankful. I think anyone who has experienced a life of moving would say the same about their personal perspective of the process. For any child in the same shoes I was in just a few years ago, I have a simple piece of advice to help you on your journey— wherever the road takes you, build your life with experiences, look at every opportunity with an open heart, and run toward your dreams. You can have the attitude of sitting back and letting life happen, or you can challenge yourself to go out and make life happen. Jennifer Rosene will be attending the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC.


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Sleepless in Seattle


ith 2,000 people to meet in three days, the idea of “Sleepless in Seattle” rang true. I had been a faithful exhibitor and delegate to the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC) Conference for 10 consecutive years, so it was, in fact, humbling to be a first-time attendee at the 2010 Worldwide ERC® Global Workforce Symposium. Let’s face it. Relocation is a very social business. Being “new” in a gathering of mobility professionals isn’t easy. After being warned about the sheer size of the Worldwide ERC® Symposium, I decided to “eat the elephant… one bite at a time” and dove right in. The opening reception in the exhibit hall proved to be the best place to start. It allowed me to connect with my existing clients in person after long-time “virtual relationships.” It also provided an opportunity to meet an entire network of mobility professionals. My ultimate positive experience at the Symposium was a special YP40 “Rainmakers” reception during which I had the opportunity to meet a community of “younger” workforce mobility professionals—the leaders of our industry’s future. On returning home to Toronto, I immediately joined the YP40 Group on LinkedIn and already have tapped into a broad, global network of professionals with unique expertise to share as I continue to grow in my mobility career.

Join Us on LinkedIn orldwide ERC® and the YP40 task force leaders are working to foster a community of rising leaders who will take our global mobility industry to new levels. Become a part of the Young Professionals 40 years old and younger (YP40), working within the global mobility industry who are stepping up to become future leaders. Network and benchmark with each other on challenges that face you as rising leaders. Come join us at groupRegistration?gid=3598209.



No longer feeling like the newcomer to the dance, the next day I discovered that there were so many great sessions to choose from, and each one I attended was informative and engaging. Audiences interacted with speakers who kept the attention of the room focused on the topic at hand as opposed to their smart phones. I’m already looking forward to The National Relocation Conference in May. Although New York City is colloquially known as “the city that never sleeps,” Las Vegas can certainly give it a run for its money. Elle Crane is director of sales for DelSuites, Toronto, ON, Canada. She can be reached at +1 416 296 8838 or e-mail

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MOBILITY Magazine - January 2011  

Find relocation industry answers here. Join more than 30,000 relocation professionals who read MOBILITY magazine every month. This informati...