When is a 1-Day home search not a 1-Day home search?
The understanding of what it comprises and what can be accomplished in the timeframe is going through a change. This change is creating some general confusion along the supply chain from the corporate mobility team to the RMC, the assignee and the destination services team.
What has changed?
What services are included in a home finding have some variations, but at their core remain virtually unchanged. Around the world, there is a relatively consistent list of requirements for renting a home. Standard is the initial consultation with the assignee, the accompanied visit to properties that match the assignee needs, lease negotiation, utility connections and check-in on moving day.
What constitutes one day? When pricing by day, unless otherwise defined, a day can be anything. For some, it is equal to eight hours and nothing more. Others build into that “one day” additional time for preparation and follow up after face-to-face time with the assignee and family in which case, one day can be ten or fifteen hours.
The presumption that “1-Day” of service is equal to a one-day timeframe is incorrect.
The traditional way of pricing will include a detailed list of the already-described summary scope. Services are then broken down for pricing into segments from half a day to four, five or six. Pricing usually has been provided based upon the unit of time, not on the time anticipated to complete the scope.
In any location, fulfilling the service requirements of a home finding program will take more than one day. Anyone who has leased an apartment even in her/his home town can attest to that. An unfamiliar city, unknown language and customs and different housing add further complications. Differences between destination cities can also raise or lower the time requirements. Locations with heavy traffic congestion like Jakarta, for example, can significantly diminish what can be accomplished in a day. Instead of viewing seven to ten properties, only two or three can be managed.
Changing assignee demographics and downward pressure on costs have altered the benefit packages companies can offer. A three-day program is seen as a reasonable request for a middle management-level move, but unreasonable for a new hire, a rotational or a short-term assignment.
Up until recently, a 1-Day Home Search would have been ordered in conjunction with additional home finding days or a combination of services including Area Orientation and Settling In. Of late, there has been an increase in requests for one day of home finding in isolation. Alternatively, even on occasion, 1 Day of services is requested to fulfill the scopes of home finding, area orientation and settling in. The once-mutual understanding of how things work has subtly changed into a vision that is not just challenging, but impossible.
Where does that leave us?
Providing assignee support to navigate a foreign country is essential. The costs of not doing so go beyond downtime at the office. There are impacts to safety, financial repercussions, and compliance issues to name a few. However, using a 1-Day home search that was arbitrarily defined for a pricing exercise as a service does little to accomplish the goal.
There isn’t a person involved anywhere along the process that doesn’t want to provide the support assignees, and families need. Perhaps the stand-alone 1-Day Home Finding requests are a result of over-optimism? Hope? Desperation to give support within the parameters of other constraints?
The needs created by a proliferation of new assignment types, benefit packages and changing assignee demographics won’t be met by the existing format. A different approach is required.
Our Relo and Destination Consultants have already been providing the solution by customizing the services delivered to meet the critical needs and concerns of the assignees within the timeframe they have been given. Maybe that critical need is an accompanied 1 – Day of home finding. When time is short, and resources are limited, it usually is not.
For situations that require something other than the traditional service, we’ve got a new and different approach. Our Core/Flex service program delivers the flexibility to either create a program to match your policy or offer maximum flexibility for assignees to decide what works best for them.
By reviewing each location, we’ve identified those services that are most critical and have the most significant overall safety and success impact to the assignment. Those are the core service minimums that assignees should receive. The flex services are grouped into two categories. One set is services that we highly recommend, and the second set is nice to have when time and budgets permit.
The program is currently in development, but we welcome conversations with our peers and clients to understand better how it can be used to meet their expanding needs.