Global mobility for senior business-critical employees
Business-critical and executive assignments: how do you ensure exceptional outcomes?
At K2 we understand that it is vital to business productivity to ensure that your highly valued 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 all key contacts to anticipate and resolve issues before they occur. We do this through precision planning, underpinned by outstanding project management experience and expertise.
We put an extra emphasis on personal contact, with increased engagement between a dedicated K2 Bespoke consultant and the assignee, as well as your HR and global mobility team. We concentrate on providing a high quality, tailor-made and attentive service that fulfils the specific needs of each individual.
The context and risks
The majority of international relocations have three main needs — a new home for your assignee (and their family) to live in, potentially a school for their children 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, can impact negatively on work productivity and personal lives.
In the case of an executive or business-critical employee move, the assignment can be high-stake with a strong focus on the need to reduce the impact of distractions to avoid any loss of work productivity. The move is also often more complex as expectations are so much higher and exceptional outcomes are anticipated.
We recognise the challenges that these types of moves place on your business objectives as well we your HR and global mobility reputation. These employees often have considerable important responsibilities. They are very often 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 complexities.
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. 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 with multiple nationalities.
The assignment challenges
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 Bespoke solution
At K2, we specialise in high-profile assignments and have developed a service where we can apply the flexibility, agility and precision needed to ensure an enhanced moving experience for your employee and their family. Recognising the different needs of this employee demographic, our K2 Bespoke service offers eligible executives or business-critical employees a dedicated, highly experienced single point of co-ordination to project manage the move. We also provide a range of additional components to our K2 Classic service, putting extra emphasis on building confidence, trust and minimising risk to achieve a positive assignee experience. We focus on an enhanced employee experience, minimal loss of productivity, and risk mitigation as our high priority objectives.
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, attendance at every critical step where appropriate, 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 developed five key commitments for managing these key assignments which create a framework for success:
- A dedicated and experienced relocation manager — we use our most expert and experienced people to manage these moves to instil full confidence and credibility from the outset.
- Exceptional 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.
- Direct on-the-ground oversight — where appropriate we make sure we are at each critical milestone in person, overseeing, pre-empting issues, driving vendor performance and mitigating potential risks.
- Continual, consistent support — we are contactable 24x7, not just in emergencies.
- Careful 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 less the distraction to your employees’ busy schedules, freeing up more time for them to focus on what really matters.
Upon full-service completion, your dedicated K2 Bespoke consultant also submits a thorough service review capturing the relocating employee’s satisfaction and full cost analysis. They also remain available to provide continuous support for subsequent sequential assignments or repatriations.
The positive outcomes
Overview: 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. This meant we had also helped them avoid 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, all relevant key criteria of the move were researched and shortlisted so that the assignee could quickly finalise and agree plans. 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 that the property check-in was 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, utility, insurance, and vacant property management and negotiation. We also reduced exposure to empty property risks in a notoriously challenging winter period. The handover was finalised with our oversight and all administration was 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 and enable duty-free shipment clearance. 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.
Shipments: our K2 Bespoke consultant oversaw all key steps in the process — including pre-visit to warehouse to meet crew and brief them on the delivery plan: access, role allocation and restrictions as well as oversight of unloading and checking for damages. The assignee’s car was shipped with no duties, the registration was completed, and license plates were secured and fitted, and modifications such as updating the satellite navigation were undertaken so it was ready for immediate use. All other important belongings were all successfully shipped to deadline with no damages or insurance claims.
London move-in: our dedicated 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 was overseen, sourcing a maid service to put everything away, make the beds and set up the kitchen and bathrooms ready for occupation. A specialist vendor was also enlisted to disassemble a large sofa which was too big for the lift, carrying it up 19 floors via the stairwell and reassembling it in the property. All utilities, internet, cable TV and domestic hygiene services were also set up and in place by the deadline.
The executive’s feedback: “Thank you so much, this was the best move we have had in 20 years. You guys have been amazing!”