The introduction of One Day DSP programs has had a negative impact all along the supply chain and to the assignee experience.  Are these programs wishful thinking, or are they a new necessity that requires a better definition that once meant for a vastly different set of circumstances?
Just how dangerous the situation is and the fine line DSP’s walk in delivering these one day programs is the subject of our fourth installment.

Part IV: Undefined – Dangerous Games and How They’re Navigated Now

There are only two times a DSP can address the one-day issue. First is through the RFP process or pricing exercise when clarification can be requested prior to providing a fee. The second is at the time of initiation of the new case.

Like Relo Network Asia, no one had reported great success addressing the issue during an RFP pricing exercise. The sales process can prioritize signing the deal and working out the details later. Focus is rarely on the future exceptions that will be required by not addressing the time frame or service scope early on. Left unaddressed, however, the DSP company’s only option is to price for the worst or most time-consuming scenario. It is counterproductive to the ultimate corporate goal.

We have gathered that each company is forging a path forward through the fog.

In all cases, upon initiation for a one-day home search or one day of DSP, it was universal to revert to the sender to define the scope of service. For Area Orientations or Settling In, things are relatively simple, but complexity ensues with cases for Home Search or where no definition is given. The phrase, “That is not possible, but here is what can be done,” has almost become a chant. Once a compromise between the request and the reality is agreed upon, it requires the full support and thorough communication of the talent mobility team and relocation management company file manager to create a success.

At Welcomehome Relocations, vice president Nitin Badhwar provides his Destination Consultants with a sheet for instructions on managing a one-day home-finding request. Another near-universal adjustment is to reduce or eliminate accompaniment by the Destination Consultant. Brenda Levis, president of NYC Navigator in the US described the unaccompanied or reduced accompaniment as, “Basically a DIY (do-it-yourself) program that includes our guidance.” Limiting or eliminating accompaniment can preserve service time for protective and preventative support such as lease review and property handover report, “the last mile” of the service, as Rohit Kumar, founder and managing director at IKAN Relocation Services India, so nicely put it, but doing so has unintended consequences.

Removing the consultant can reduce service fees, but that doesn’t eliminate the substantial work that must be done. “Accompaniment by someone who knows the area really well provides insight that can’t be obtained elsewhere,” noted Alistair Murray Chief Operating Officer at Packimpex in Europe, “ It removes an element of risk to perform the tasks with someone who has done it a hundred times before.”

The DSP does not always receive a clear definition of what to do with the one day. Sometimes, the exact services to be delivered are left open to interpretation. Not only does this require service time to be spent defining the program with the employee, but it also leaves multiple opportunities for confusion and conflicting expectations. The fail points for expectations based upon ill-defined service scopes are impossible to predict and, therefore, to manage.

Standalone one-day programs have less visible consequences for employees, employers, and destination service providers. Murray succinctly summarized the situation, “Where there is a disconnect between the level of support an assignee is expecting and the reality of what is possible in the local market, there is a real danger of assignee dissatisfaction.”

Anecdotal evidence indicates general employee dissatisfaction when one day of support is given, especially home-finding. While DSPs are frequently restricted from performing service surveys, a large percentage of the informal feedback received is negative. The likelihood of employee unhappiness is far greater with a one-day Home Search or DSP program than is employee happiness.

Employees who receive one-day support packages may not be familiar with the process or the complexity involved. They are usually informed that the DSP will assist them with a home-finding program, but they may not fully understand the work that needs to be done on their behalf. The lack of face-to-face contact, which is forgone to reserve time for lease support, etc., and the required invisible back-end work can leave employees with the impression that the service is limited or lacking. Feedback will include comments such as “They didn’t do much to support my situation”, “I felt very alone when I really needed support.” And “I don’t know what they were doing and ended up doing most things myself.”

Destination Consultants and DSP companies are becoming reticent to take on these programs. With service quality a major partnership condition between the DSP and the client, there is an understandable reason to consider the risk vs. reward.

There are additional risks for DSPs delivering these one-day programs. When the time allotted doesn’t allow for the completion of critical program elements, employees can be left on their own to complete the unfinished tasks. If any issues arise in the future, clients turn to the DSP to resolve them, incurring new fees for new services.

Almost every company we spoke with described a situation where clients expected additional support or services for an issue after completing a one-day program. “There is an expectation of full-service support even when a full-service program hasn’t been purchased,” shared Levis. Often, problems could have been prevented upfront by keeping the DSP involved throughout the process.

In Part V and the final installment of this series, we offer several approaches to resolve the issue.

PART I: A Look Back at How We Got Here

PART II: The Theory of Pricing Impact on One Day DSP Programs

PART III: Home Search Expectations: A Challenge to the Experience

PART IV: Undefined – Dangerous Games and how They’re Navigated Now

PART V: Alternatives and Options for Improvement

Read or download the entire report.

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