Global mobility for senior business-critical employees
How do you ensure an exceptional global mobility experience and outcomes for your executives and VIPs?
At K2, we understand that it’s vital to guarantee that your executives, or business critical employees, are able to settle and focus on their new role in their new location swiftly and successfully.
Our K2 Bespoke service focuses on minimising disruption by working closely with business leaders, their families and HR or global mobility teams to anticipate and resolve issues before they occur. We do this through precision planning and by providing senior-level project management experience and expertise.
We put an extra emphasis on personal contact, with increased engagement between K2 and the relocating employee or partner, as well as your global mobility team. We concentrate on providing a high quality, tailor-made and attentive service that fulfills the specific needs of each individual.
The context and risks
The majority of international relocations have the main key elements – the need for your relocating employee to have a home to live in, a school for their children, if relevant, and a shipment of their belongings to their new location. But distractions due to relocation related tasks, such as school and house finding, or dealing with home maintenance issues, impact on both productivity and personal lives. And with VIPs, typically high-net-worth individuals, the issues become more complex as expectations are so much higher and exceptional outcomes are anticipated.
These employees often have considerable important responsibilities. They are mostly continuous international travellers, their time is extremely limited, and they usually have a range of complex relocation considerations such as multiple homes, valuable belongings, immigration and confidentiality concerns, as well as entity and tax considerations.
At K2, we recognise the challenges that senior-level moves place on your business. In the case of an executive move, or an employee of significant business importance, the assignment will be business critical with little tolerance for any loss of productivity from the distraction caused by relocation. The need to reduce the impact of such distractions is therefore fundamental to your successful HR or global mobility reputation, as well as your business objectives.
It’s vital to ensure the move is successful and as cost efficient as possible but it’s often time consuming, and needs an exceptional level of attention to detail and specialist skill that many in-house global mobility or HR teams do not have the capacity or capability to resource internally. Meticulous planning, careful management and precise execution is essential.
The client request
Our client, a FTSE 100 company asked us to work with them to successfully relocate one of their board members on his sixth assignment, along with his family of six, all with different nationalities.
Relocation and complexity overview: New York to London (executive), South Africa and the Netherlands to London (family). The whole assignment involved multiple locations, multiple packing and movement of valuable belongings, multiple nationality immigration requirements, multiple financial and tax considerations and tight timescales and availability.
London home-finding: the executive provided a tight brief of requirements and was only available for three hours on a Friday afternoon prior to travel requirements.
US departure: the US property had over nine months lease left with no break clause and a landlord with no wish to provide any flexibility.
Netherlands departure: to enable duty-free shipment clearance, the spouse needed to register at the local town hall on their way to their Christmas holidays in South Africa.
Shipments: these involved three separate shipments including a car, a boat, three large statues and numerous valued artworks. The UK and Netherlands storage had to be packed and collected at three different times using the same team.
London move-in: the expectation was that the employee’s home should be set up ready for occupation, providing a smooth transition from the US. The employee could not be present, so effective oversight was needed.
The K2 solution
At K2, we specialise in high-profile assignments as we can apply the flexibility, agility and precision to ensure an enhanced moving experience for your employee and their family, as necessary. Recognising the different needs of this employee demographic, our K2 Bespoke service offers eligible executives a dedicated, experienced and senior-level single point of contact to project manage the move. We provide a range of additional components to our K2 Relocate service, putting extra emphasis on building confidence, trust and minimising risk to achieve a positive relocating employee experience, and maintaining maximum productivity as a high priority objective.
From pre-move home visits, to discussing a range of issues such as housing and schools, to sourcing specialist providers such as art appraisers or wine shippers, we will take care of every need. We can help find the right home, accompany relocating employees and their families on viewings, conduct pre-delivery visits to ensure homes are ready, stock the fridge, make the beds, co-ordinate household staff, employ a finishing service to unpack and place, and familiarise families with local areas and customs.
Service features include senior level ownership with 24hr support, face-to-face briefings and increased engagement, personal oversight and/or attendance at every critical step, full project management with clearly defined project plans, timelines and communication strategies, as well as full tracking and HR updates so you can inform internal stakeholders of the smooth transition. We can provide face-to-face meetings and on-site attendance in both origin and destination locations throughout all services.
Thanks to our wealth of experience and expertise – we have worked to develop a blueprint for managing these key assignments which creates a framework for success:
1. Senior management ownership and accountability – we use our most experienced people to manage these moves to instill full confidence and credibility from the outset.
2. Project management – we treat each move as a project that requires detailed planning – bringing together all the various specialists: immigration, tax, education housing, and shipping to ensure that every component is carefully considered, communicated and executed.
3. Direct on-the-ground oversight – we make sure we are at each critical milestone in person, overseeing, pre-empting issues, driving vendor performance and mitigating potential risks.
4. Continual, consistent support – we are contactable 24/7, not just in emergencies.
5. Vendor selection and management – we take special care selecting the right vendors, setting clear and rigorous objectives and targets, getting the right visibility with key stakeholders and then working in partnership through effective collaboration and buy-in to deliver on expectations and achieve successful outcomes.
Ultimately, the more preparation, the lesser the distraction to your employees’ busy schedules, freeing up more time for them to focus what matters.
Upon full service completion, our K2 Bespoke will also submit a thorough service review capturing the relocating employee’s satisfaction and full cost analysis. Your K2 Bespoke senior point of contact also remains available to provide continuous support for subsequent sequential assignments or repatriations.
Our positive reputation in the provision of executive relocation services has also led to a number of organisations specifically choosing to work with us to separate out their senior executive relocation service from their existing programme. Having recognised that their standard offering and processes were not meeting their business needs, they have approached us to ensure the tailored level of service and flexibility they required.
The positive outcomes
On the executive’s arrival at their new property, they were delighted to find it was completely ready for occupation with minimal disruption and multiple days of productivity saved, as well as avoiding expensive, temporary accommodation costs.
London home-finding: our K2 Bespoke consultant researched, previewed and shortlisted selected properties to discuss with the executive in person. To ensure the most effective use of limited availability and effective decision-making other relevant key criteria of the move were clarified and agreed. The property was selected, offer details agreed and ‘right to rent’ check completed – all in the short time available. All rental administration was then managed by K2 Bespoke ensuring references were completed, lease terms were negotiated, funds paid, and the property check-in completed.
US departure: thanks to our K2 Bespoke consultant’s face-to-face negotiation with the landlord and work to achieve multiple offers an early release on the US property was agreed. We achieved cost savings for our client through reduced rent, utilities, insurances and vacant property management. We also reduced exposure to empty property risks in a notoriously challenging winter period. The handover finalised with our oversight, and all administration secured and completed.
Netherlands departure: careful planning enabled us to arrange for the relocating employee’s spouse to stop over in the Netherlands to complete relevant shipment documentation. A K2 Bespoke consultant collected the spouse from the airport, accompanied her to the registration office and then drove her back to the airport to proceed with the rest of the family on holiday to South Africa.
- Delivery scheduled at 7am on a Saturday morning to allow employee to be finished by 1pm to proceed onto a long-haul flight to meet work commitments.
- Personal attendance by K2 Bespoke consultant including pre-visit to warehouse to meet crew and brief them on the delivery plan: access, role allocation and restrictions.
- Full unpack, furniture assembly and put away undertaken, all meeting the required deadlines.
Shipments: our K2 Bespoke consultant oversaw all key steps in the process – unloading, checking for damages and cataloging for easy access. The car was shipped with no duties, the registration completed and license plates secured and allocated as well as ensuring modifications to the vehicle were administered such as updating the satellite navigation so that the car was fully ready for immediate use. The other important belongings were all successfully shipped with no damages or insurance claims.
London move-in: our K2 Bespoke consultant managed the whole process which included oversight of unpacking and replicating the positioning of all furniture and ornaments by referring to photographs of the previous New York home. Full assembly of all furniture, sourcing a maid service to put everything away, make beds and set up kitchens and bathrooms ready for occupation. Enlisting a specialist vendor to disassemble a large sofa which was too big for the lift and ensure it was carried up nineteen floors via the stairwell and reassembled in the property. Ensuring all utilities, internet, cable TV and domestic hygiene services were set up and in place.
The executive’s feedback on the relocation experience speaks for itself: “Thank you so much, this was the best move we have had in 20 years – you guys have been amazing!”
To find out more about the K2 Bespoke service or to discuss how we can help you and your teams, please contact us.