Multinational firms consider having the right employees in the right place a core part of talent strategy, not a niche human resource function.
Relocation management companies called business process outsourcing or BPOs have traditionally helped, but the market is shifting to cloud platforms as companies demand technology and data to manage an increasingly mobile and dispersed workforce.
That is where MOVE Guides, a startup offering a software-as-a-service platform for employee relocation, comes in. The company, which has joint headquarters in London and San Francisco, is disrupting traditional relocation management, a market worth $11 billion, by some estimates, and adding what it calls “mobility management” services.
MOVE Guides’ clients include high-growth tech companies in Silicon Valley and large multinationals in the tech, media, financial and professional services and manufacturing sectors, says Brynne Kennedy, the MOVE Guides founder and CEO, and a scheduled speaker at Slush, a technology conference in Helsinki Nov. 30-Dec. 1.
Today’s environment requires a very different kind of resource planning, says Kennedy, a former investment banker who launched MOVE Guides while studying at London Business School. The market has moved from coordinating logistics for 5% to 10% of employees who have been traditionally managed to becoming a strategic function involving as much as 60% to 70% of the workforce, after factoring in employees who relocate for a short period and might work for a week a month out of New York City, for example, or have to go to Paris for a month.
Employees who work abroad for a short period of time are “a hugely growing part of the employee segment at a large public company and today that is not managed so we are looking at products that pull in experiences, compliance, and additional segments of employees,” says Kennedy. “Ultimately we want to offer services to anyone who is mobile.”
MOVE Guides’ Talent Mobility cloud, which can be integrated into core HR systems, aims to support all aspects of a global mobility program. Companies can instantly estimate the cost of different types of moves, track spend versus budget and access all of their employee, vendor and spend data with real-time dashboards and reporting. Employees can learn about their benefits package, obtain personalized information about their new city and receive status updates about the progress of their relocation services, like shipping.
Certified partners are able to access job authorizations and provide updates on service delivery, which are shared with companies and employees. MOVE case managers, who act as concierges supporting employees while they are moving and while they are on temporary assignments, can instantly access all information about the employees they support in a single employee file.
MOVE Guide’s offering is “step one” of what Kennedy says is her “lofty vision of changing the world for mobility so that economically and socially there are less barriers between people and places.” At the same time that MOVE Guides is trying to ease things for people who work at multinationals — who are usually part of the top 5% of the global income pyramid — it is also trying to make life easier for the bottom 5%, many of whom are forced into mobility due to conflict. The company donates 1% of its revenues to non-profits who aid refugees. “We have an obligation in the tech community, and frankly in the business world, to give back,” she says.