CapRelo Blog

Incorporate Technology & Human Touch in Your Global Mobility Program

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Oct 18, 2018

Modern communication technology illustration with mobile phone and high tech background

According to research from the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 22 million Americans relocated in 2017. It is likely many of them leveraged some form of relocation technology to manage their respective moves. After all, mobile users downloaded more than 175 billion mobile applications globally in 2017 to help manage their everyday activities, according to App Annie. This collective zeal for technological convenience has affected how people manage their relocation activities.

While relocation apps and portals ease and expedite some parts of the relocation process, they are not all-encompassing: There are variables that even the most advanced technology cannot address, including the emotional upheaval that occurs when relocation becomes reality.

For this reason, it is important for businesses that manage employee relocation and assignment activities to partner with mobility management providers that take a measured approach wherein technology and personal interaction are both available when needed. This sort of balance increases employee comfort and allows the company to deal more effectively with the unexpected hiccups that inevitably unfold during corporate-sponsored moves.

The Danger of Standalone Technology

Mobile applications and other technology solutions have transformed how people perform common tasks. Often, these tools streamline once time-consuming activities through automated features. Additionally, these features can make it easier for multiple business units involved with employee relocations to keep track of progress and monitor costs. A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study showed that 60 percent of corporate leaders believed online resources would drastically improve existing company relocation strategies. Improving relocation strategies, however, is far different from improving the total relocation experience, including dealing with relocating employees, external vendors and mobility management providers. This is where technology alone can fall short of a balanced approach.

In addition to moving information between the appropriate parties and tracking expenses, businesses must be prepared to address complications that software simply cannot. For example, a technology-only solution will not help relieve the anxiety a relocating employee might feel when faced with managing all of the tasks associated with moving the family and household to a new city. In these moments, human support is critical. Relocation technology solutions, while helpful, offer little aid in such situations. To effectively manage these scenarios, a company must rely on experience, knowledge and empathy. Just one negative relocation experience can make talent less likely to accept an assignment or transfer offer, whether they were directly involved or if they heard about it “through the grapevine.”

Balancing High-Tech & High-Touch Relocations

Topics: relocation technology, mobility technology, relocation counselors, global mobility management, mobility management

Embracing Employee & Community Wellness

Posted by Barry Morris on Mon, Oct 15, 2018

Employee Wellness Team

According to Forbes, happy and healthy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees, and when it comes to salespeople, happiness has an even greater impact, raising sales by 37%. At CapRelo, we're not only devoted to providing the best customer service to our clients, but also to doing right by our team.

Over the years, we have found it pays to take stock in our employees' personal well-being, as well as that of our community. Hosting on-site and off-site wellness and outreach initiatives makes it easier for employees to make better decisions in their own lives. Not only during our busiest seasons, but all year round, making sure folks take a few minutes to think about themselves through various programs is a priority.

CapRelo's Employee Wellness Programs

Employee wellness is best approached with a hands-on strategy. CapRelo publishes a monthly wellness newsletter distributed company-wide, as well as encouraging participation in a monthly wellness webinar series offered by Cigna. Some of the other workplace wellness and community outreach programs we offer include:

Stone Feather Catering1. On-site Farmer’s Market: Chef Pepper Owings of Stone Feather Farm is on-site at the Sterling, VA campus twice a month to offer healthy, organic alternatives to typical lunch options, as well as a variety of local and organic produce. 

2. Weight Watchers Meetings: With our second 2018 session now underway, our first Weight Watchers session was a great success with 28 employees participating and a total loss of 323.4 pounds.

3. Managing Diabetes: We partnered with a Registered Dietitian and Health Educator to develop on-demand training about diabetes prevention and management.

4. Wellness Passport:  CapRelo’s flagship benefit program invites employees to earn points by taking control of their health and offers many resources, discounts and chances to win gift cards and cash rewards, all while staying involved at work. 

Putting an emphasis on our employees' wellness leads to a happier work environment and, ultimately, a more successful company. 

Topics: employee benefits, employee engagement, employee wellness, community, employee productivity

My Way, Your Way, Our Way in Global Mobility Programs

Posted by CapRelo on Tue, Oct 09, 2018

Today, we are joined by guest author, Nigel Ewington from TCO International.

Our WayRecently I got the opportunity to work with a Global Mobility professional who told me a story about a loss of trust she experienced in some global colleagues. She was feeling frustrated and let-down by the actions of some colleagues who had failed to follow the policy they had agreed together. It was made worse by the fact that she had only found out about the actions indirectly.

She was a Global Mobility VP working for a global manufacturing company and responsible for a tri-regional mobility program with key mobility stakeholders in Germany and China. This program was currently occupied with moving some German managers into China. The Mobility function had recently been through a process of drawing up and agreeing on new policy, with a strict set of processes to follow across the globe. Despite seeming to have secured agreement to these new policies from her regional colleagues at a three-way meeting in the USA, the Global Mobility VP had found out that one key area of policy linked to Transportation had been flouted in China. It seemed that the rules had been broken for a German C-suite executive moving to China, and no one had bothered to inform her.

On exploring the story more deeply, I learned that during the meeting itself the Global Mobility VP had presented her ideas about a new mobility policy and asked for reactions. She feared lack of buy-in from German team members, who asked her lots of difficult questions in response to her question. She had not anticipated that the flouting of the policy would come from her Chinese colleagues. At the meeting they had listened respectfully and merely commented that they were “grateful for these directions” and “would do their very best” to implement them. She left the meeting confident that buy-in had taken place. She was now mystified as to why this hadn’t happened.

As I reflected on the story, it seemed to me to be symptomatic of a key challenge besetting global mobility. In this VUCA (Volatile. Uncertain. Complex. Ambiguous) world, global mobility professionals themselves have to respond to the shifting needs of their internal customers by collaborating together as one global team with one shared policy across a number of locations. Here complexity is increased by the challenge of cultural differences and distance. They are faced with the challenge of who owns Global Mobility globally, and how to make new levels of global collaboration work

If the ownership of Global Mobility is now dispersed globally, it takes special sensitivity to make sure that the cross-border collaboration is effective. The communication problem our VP faced here was not a lack of clarity nor a lack of respect, but a failure to get real buy-in from her global colleagues.

While it is a universal truth that as human beings we all love to communicate our intentions, this story reveals that we have different cultural assumptions about how to go about doing this. Chinese tend to be higher-context in their communication style, avoiding over-direct use of text and assuming that their important messages will be read between the lines. Inference, body language and situational cues are the tools of the high-context communicator. Germans on the other hand, tend to be lower-context in style, preferring to communicate the critical nature of what they are thinking more directly in the exact text of what they say. They are more direct in challenging others, even when maintaining a good relationship is critical to them. Americans – sitting culturally in the middle of these two other cultures – may misconstrue the Chinese indirectness for agreement and the German critical feedback for aggression. Here, a failure to understand the Your Way of effective communication, and how it may differ from My Way may compromise the formulation of a workable global Our Way for moving forward globally.

The lack of cultural sensitivity revealed in this case was not only a question of communication. I learned that the Global Mobility VP had dug deeper into the exact local context in which there had been a flouting of the Transportation allowance policy. In this organization’s policy, assignees are given a Transportation allowance of USD 1,000 per month used to subsidize transportation needs. Such needs include car rental, use of taxis, etc. In China, due to the regulations, expats are not encouraged to drive on their own, and car rentals tend to come with a driver instead. The German C-suite executive assumed that the car and driver was an entitlement and demanded the full costs to pay for it, although the intention was to subsidize the cost, not pay the full entitlement. Local HR acquiesced and paid from another budget.

If we accept that the Chinese mobility team was aware of the rules, despite having some concerns that they had not voiced at the meeting in the US, why did they simply not follow them? Is this possibly another cultural factor relating to understand the “your way” of global collaboration, or is it simply a lack of professionalism?

Research indicates that cultures have different assumptions about rules vs. exceptions. In all cultures we need to find the right balance between knowing when to follow the rule regardless of the context, and when to adapt the rule according to special circumstances.  Some cultures can be described as “universalist,” where people tend to follow the rule regardless of the context in which it is applied. In “particularist” cultures, on the other hand, rules always need to be reinterpreted to meet the needs of particular people in particular contexts. Very often like China, such “particularist” cultures tend to be also “hierarchical” in style, where people tend to maximize the deference and privileges given to bosses, rather than minimize them.

This “particularist,” hierarchical side of Chinese culture and the flexible approach to rules that ensues can be a source of frustration to “universalist” global partners, but it can provide the sensitive handling of the delicate needs of key stakeholders locally that is critical to the implementation of mobility programs

In reflecting on the learning from this story, it occurred to me that one of the features of this story is the gap between intentions and impact, which is typical of breakdowns in global collaboration. Both sides have positive intentions in what they do and say, but due to a smokescreen of instinctive cultural styles the impact is often negative. To get real buy-in in a world where ownership of global mobility is dispersed across locations, the Global Mobility VP should have avoided leading with a presentation of her own first draft of policy, before getting reactions. Instead she could have framed the intentions of policy, and before getting to drafting rules of guidelines, she should have listened and explored how key stakeholders would implement those intentions in key global locations. In this way she would have learned about some of the cultural differences – both of the “harder,” more visible kind and the “softer,” more attitudinal and values-driven kind – revealed in the case.

I was reminded of the trilemma of focusing on My Way vs. Your Way vs. Our Way when collaborating and building buy-in in a global context. Whereas undoubtedly, to build trust you need to be yourself, authentic and honest. However, the My Way needs to be tempered with awareness and skills in understanding the Your Way of your global partners. Only in this way can you reflect on the best Our Way for turning positive intentions into effective communication, process and policy.

 

About Nigel Ewington

Nigel is a co-founding partner of TCO who has worked for over 20 years with over 100 organizations in the area of developing global agility.  He has developed a deep understanding of what organizations need to do in order to thrive and prosper in a complex, diverse and changing world. This has been honed by his experience of living and working in other countries, as well as his own agility in travelling around the world on assignments where on a week-to-week basis he needs to bring value to many different kinds of people in many different cultural and organisational contexts.

A key underlying gift that Nigel brings to TCO clients is how to get the best out of themselves and others when managing change across geographic and organizational boundaries. Here he has built a strong reputation as a presenter, trainer and facilitator, from the very largest events on the theme of global leadership down to small, compact leadership teams that are looking increase productivity in terms of how they work together. He has been instrumental in creating the signature concepts, models and activities that make TCO original and unique.

 

Topics: global mobility policy, global mobility, global assignments, communication

Upcoming Mobility Shows and Events - October 2018

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Sep 27, 2018

CapRelo Upcoming Events 2 

We will be attending and/or sponsoring the following upcoming events. If you’re attending, look for us and say hi, because it's a great opportunity for us to stay abreast of the latest global mobility trends, as well as develop and strengthen trusted partnerships. 

 

Global HR Conference

Date: October 4

Location: Tower Club, Tysons Corner, VA

Attendee: Pete Larkin

The Global HR event will focus on a variety of topics, including talent strategy and effective HR communication regarding global assignments.

Click here to learn more and register.

 

Minnesota Employee Relocation Council Fall Education Meeting

Date: October 9

Location: Golden Valley Country Club, Golden Valley, MN

Attendee: Christopher Bloedel

The 2018 fall MERC meeting will include networking opportunities and educational sessions on tax reform and cyber security.

Learn more and register here.

 

Worldwide ERC® Global Workforce Symposium 2018

Date: October 17 - 19

Location: Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, WA

Attendee: Christopher Bloedel, Patrick Cacho and Barry Morris

More than 1,800 global mobility professionals from over 50 countries will be attending Worldwide ERC®'s Global Workforce Symposium, the largest global mobility meeting in the world. The symposium includes networking opportunities, educational sessions, an extensive exhibitor marketplace and an Innovation Lab with demos of new technology products and offerings.

Come see us at Booth #314! Click here if you'd like to schedule a meeting with CapRelo during the event.

To learn more about the symposium and register, click here.

 

If you can’t attend, please be sure to follow CapRelo on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Topics: CapRelo Employees

CapRelo's Client-Focused Technology

Posted by CapRelo on Thu, Sep 20, 2018

CapRelo's client-focused technology helped solve a problem for one of our clients and allowed us to be more agile to answer their needs faster. Find out more in our video below!

Topics: CapRelo, CapRelo technology, mobility management company

Brexit's Impact on Global Mobility

Posted by CapRelo on Thu, Sep 13, 2018

Brexit

As Brexit and the impending withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union continues to be a major topic of discussion in the news, Mark Woelfel, CapRelo's Vice President of Global Development in our UK office, explains how it affects CapRelo's global mobility efforts:

While the negotiations of Brexit continue between Westminster and Brussels, we've continued to see the same trends over the past year in relation to its impact into the mobility space. There is a general reluctance towards making long-term talent acquisition strategies until there is more clarity around the terms of the deal, and a reduction by many multinational corporations to make long-term assignments around and into Europe. Since the announcement of Brexit, many countries in the EU (including the UK) have seen a tightening of immigration requirements—not so much in overall policies, but in the application of the regulations—more intense scrutiny of documentation, revisiting of immigration caps and schemes and a generally slower service in processing of individual immigration applications.

Savvy leaders in the mobility space continue to make exhaustive scenario planning around the possible outcomes and have been increasing the use of business travelers and short-term assignments to meet their immediate business objectives. In the UK in particular, we've seen reviews of UK Domestic programs, evaluating their fitness in light of not just changing legislation (such as new GDPR requirements), but for scalability as companies consider the need to utilize more local and regional talent to fill their open positions.

We remain in a "hope for the best and plan for the worst" environment, and CapRelo is assisting many companies in preparing for a variety of eventualities.

Managing Global Assignment Costs

Topics: Brexit, global mobility

Webinar - My Way, your Way, Our Way

Posted by CapRelo on Tue, Sep 11, 2018

September 2018 WERC Webinar 1


In a global marketplace, it's important for U.S.-based global mobility leaders to strike the right balance when working with global colleagues and customers.

Join us on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. ET for our WERC Learning Zone Webinar: My Way, Your Way, Our Way, where we will discuss a case study that encapsulates the pain points U.S. global mobility professionals have experienced when failing to get buy-in from their foreign counterparts.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • Examples of situations global mobility professionals have experienced
  • The critical importance of understanding diverse assumptions about effective communication, rules vs. expectations and hierarchy
  • How to strike the right balance to communicate effectively

 

Webinar presenters:

Chris Finckel
VP, Client Development
CapRelo

Nigel Ewington
TCO International

 

CapRelo presents this free webinar through the WERC Learning Zone so you can learn more about creating a successful global mobility policy. This webinar is good for CRP, GMS credit.

Register today for our September 18th Learning Zone Webinar: My Way, Your Way, Our Way.

Topics: caprelo webinars, Relocation Services, global mobility, global relocation, WorldwideERC

CapRelo's Digital Transformation Iniative

Posted by CapRelo on Fri, Sep 07, 2018

CapRelo's digital transformation initiative for both internal and outward, client-facing technology allows us to remain agile to support our clients' needs and requirements. Find out more in our video below!

 

Topics: CapRelo technology, CapRelo, Why CapRelo, mobility management company

Upcoming Mobility Shows and Events - September 2018

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Aug 30, 2018

CapRelo Upcoming Events 2 

We will be attending and/or sponsoring the following upcoming events. If you’re attending, look for us and say hi, because it's a great opportunity for us to stay abreast of the latest global mobility trends, as well as develop and strengthen trusted partnerships. 

 

Greater Washington Employee Relocation Council Membership Meeting

Date: September 11

Location: US Navy Memorial, Washington, DC

Attendee: Pete Larkin

The GWERC membership meeting will include industry and association updates and a discussion on staying motivated during times of change. Additional discussion topics will be added at a later date.

Click here to learn more and register.

 

Portland Relocation Council Member Appreciation & Networking Night

Date: September 12

Location: Top Golf, Millsboro, OR

Attendee: Patrick Cacho

PRC's Member Appreciation Night will include a "Summer, Summer, Summertime" panel of industry updates as well as golf, food and networking.

Learn more and register here.

 

Wisconsin Employee Relocation Council & Corporate Relocation Council of Chicago Joint Meeting

Date: September 13

Location: Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva, WI

Attendee: Christopher Bloedel

The joint WiERC and CRC Chicago meeting will include educational sessions in the morning that focus on leadership strategy and changes in the HHG industry and their impact on mobility, as well as a Wisconsin and Illinois real estate update. In the afternoon, attendees can choose from a variety of networking events, including a cooking class, nine hole golf outing, spa services or round robin art with mixology. 

For more information about the event and to register, you can visit either the CRC Chicago or WiERC websites.

 

Charlotte Metro Area Relocation council Meeting

Date: September 13

Location: Ingersoll Rand, Davidson, NC

Attendee: Pete Larkin

The CMARC educational meeting will focus on national real estate market trends.

To learn more and register, click here.

 

New York Council of Relocation Professionals Fall Event

Date: September 18

Location: TBD

Attendee: Pete Larkin

Details for the NYCoRP fall event are not yet available.

Click here to check for updated information and to register for the event.

 

Bay Area Mobility Management Fall Meeting

Date: September 21

Location: Merchants Exchange Club, San Francisco, CA

Attendee: Patrick Cacho

Details for the BAMM fall meeting are not yet available.

Click here to check for updated information and to register for the meeting.

 

rocky Mountain Relocation Council Fall Conference

Date: September 25

Location: Coors Field, Denver, CO

Attendee: Patrick Cacho

The RMRC annual fall conference will feature a keynote speaker, TED-style speakers and a social networking event, followed by the Colorado Rockies baseball game.

Learn more about the conference and register here.

 

Arizona Relocation Alliance Fall Meeting

Date: September 26

Location: Top Golf Scottsdale at Riverwalk, Scottsdale, AZ

Attendee: Patrick Cacho

The ARA fall meeting will include educational sessions on cybersecurity and an update on the transportation industry, with the opportunity to earn CRP and GMS credits. After the educational portion, attendees can enjoy golf and a networking happy hour.

Register for and find out more about the fall meeting here.

 

Great Lakes Relocation Council Annual Conference

Date: September 27 and 28

Location: The Westin Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Attendee: Christopher Bloedel and Pete Larkin

The 2018 Great Lakes Relocation Conference will include concurrent educational sessions and networking opportunities for industry professionals in the Great Lakes Region. Look for CapRelo in the exhibit hall!

Click here to learn more about the conference and to register.

 

If you can’t attend, please be sure to follow CapRelo on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Topics: CapRelo Employees

Average Job Salaries Around the World

Posted by CapRelo on Fri, Aug 17, 2018

 

salaries for common jobs main“It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.”

This phrase has become a cliché over the years, but like most clichés it endures because there is truth in it. All around the world there are jobs that need to be done, and people that are willing to do them, even if the work is hard and the compensation is sometimes lacking.

As experts in global relocation services, here at CapRelo we strive to better understand the global workforce in any number of industries. To that end, we recently took a look at how salaries differ for a number of common jobs from country to country around the world and found some very interesting results that we just had to share.

 

average minimum wage salary

For the specific jobs we researched, we relied on self-reported salary information supplied by workers from around the globe. Before we get to those graphics, however, we wanted to supply some additional context and perspective by finding out what the average annual salary would be in the countries we examined if workers were paid their nation’s federal minimum wage, regardless of job title. Several countries such as Norway and Sweden do not have federally mandated minimum wages, instead relying on other processes such as union negotiations within each industry to set standards. In those cases we have listed a minimum wage as “n/a.”

 

average nurse salary

One of the jobs we were most interested to look at in this study was the nursing field. While it’s doctors that are known for making lots of money and are the ones glorified on medical television shows and in the popular conscience at large, anyone working in the medical field in the real world knows that nurses are a truly indispensable part of any good medical team, without whom countless doctors and patients would be much worse off.

Our analysis found that pay for nurses varies wildly across the globe from $3,556 annually in India to $63,000 in the United States, the best of any nation in the study. The average nursing salary in the USA is over twice the global average for the profession, showing that the American medical industry recognizes just how important nurses are. Along those lines, it is worth noting that while the amount paid to nurses in India is a pittance compared to the United States and other countries, that $3,556 figure represents an annual salary over 4 times higher than the annual minimum wage in that country, showing that nurses are highly valued highly even in poorer countries.

 

average teacher salary

Another profession with a reputation for being underappreciated and underpaid is education. Many teachers around the United States have been fighting for better pay and better job support in recent years, and it’s easy to see why once you dive into the salary data from around the world.

While American teachers were among the top-10 best paid in our analysis, they earn almost $20,000 a year less than the average teacher in Switzerland, the country that compensates their educators the best. Even more interesting is to look at these salaries through a lens of relativity, as teachers in the United States make less than 3 times the national minimum wage, while those in the country with the lowest minimum wage - India - make over 5.5 times their nation’s minimum wage. This is just one instance of other nations prioritizing education higher than the USA, a trend that is driven home by the fact that the global average salary for teachers actually exceeds that of nurses, meaning a number of countries see their educators as worthy of compensation on par with or exceeding that of crucial healthcare providers.

 

average food server salary

Similar to the educator’s initiatives, there have been many highly public efforts in the United States in recent years to increase pay for people that work in the food service industry. Our analysis found that it’s not just America where food servers are paid very little, as there are only two countries - Switzerland and Turkey - where workers in this industry average more than $30,000 a year in earnings. This was also the job with the lowest average global salary, clocking in at a measly $15,861.

 

average retail associate salary

The only other job we evaluated that even came close to matching food servers was retail associates. People who work in this industry keep malls, boutiques, and everything in between running smoothly, and they are not paid very well for it. In the United States they make slightly more money than food servers, a trend that is fairly common around the world.

 

average accountant salary

With all this talk of money and salaries, CapRelo would have been remiss if we didn’t take a look at how those who manage everyone else’s money are compensated. As is true for many jobs we evaluated, Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway paid accountants the best, along with Switzerland. It is worth noting that while those nations pay well for most jobs, they also typically have high tax rates. Of those five nations in our analysis that pay accountants over $60,000 a year, only Switzerland has an income tax rate lower than 27%.

 

average hr manager salary

A crucial part of any company is their HR department. When looking at the average salaries for human resources managers around the world, we found that the vast majority of countries we evaluated understood just how important HR is. Salaries for those in this profession are typically paid well above their national minimum wage, with Switzerland even averaging six-figure salaries for top-level human resources managers. In fact, of the nine professions CapRelo looked at for this project, HR managers had the highest average global salary at $46,767.

 

average software engineer salary

With technology playing the prominent role it does in modern society, we at CapRelo wanted to make sure we took a look at how those that develop some of that technology are paid. To that end, we evaluated general software engineer salaries. Unsurprisingly, given the prominence of Silicon Valley to the American economy, this was the job with the highest salary in the United States of all the professions we evaluated in this study. In fact, the $85,000 average salary for an American software engineer was the second highest in the world, trailing only Switzerland’s $94,567.

 

average operations manager salary

Finally, we wanted to look at a pair of job titles that are incredibly important to so many companies even though their specific duties can differ from industry to industry. First, operations managers, which typically oversee a company’s production process. People in these jobs are crucial to running an efficient and profitable business, and are paid as such in many countries. Almost 20 of the countries we examined pay operations managers over $50,000 a year on average, which helped bring the global average in excess of $45,000 annually.  

 

average project manager salary

The last job we looked at was project managers. People with these titles can have job duties that vary even more than operations managers as different companies have different responsibilities that fall under the purview of project managers. While there is decent variance in day-to-day duties for people in these roles, what is consistent is how well they are compensated. Project managers are one of only two jobs we looked at where all 43 countries we evaluated where workers are paid at least $10,000 annually, the other being operations managers.

 

This analysis covered just a sliver of the global workforce, but here at CapRelo we found even that little bit to be truly illuminating. The differences in pay from job to job and country to country allow for interesting looks into what different nations value in their workforce, something that is made all the more interesting when viewed through the prism of different national minimum wages.

Whether your job was a part of this analysis or not, we hope it has been interesting and informative. And if you or your company are considering a move to another country (maybe one where they pay better), remember that CapRelo offers world-class global mobility services to simplify any such move!

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