Kristen Hollinger has been with Aires for 15 years and currently serves as the Aires Implementation Director. Kristen’s credentials include the Certified Relocation Professional designation from Worldwide ERC® and the Project Management Professional (PMP) designation. In this two-part blog series, she provides insight into implementation success.
We all know that successful implementation leads to successful management and application of relocation programs, but sometimes the steps that lead to the implementation can be daunting. The good news is they don’t have to be. Like any other major undertaking, preparation, planning, and strategy are key.
PREPARING FOR SUCCESS
Getting prepared for implementation is critical to avoid delays. During the RFP process, start collecting copies of all mobility and travel policies, assignment/offer letter templates, process documents/flow charts, etc. that outline how your program runs currently. You’ll also want to gather copies of authorization form templates, report templates, and other document templates. All of these will help your new Relocation Management Company (RMC) wrap their arms around the current state of your program. Make sure to reach out to other departments like Human Resources or Talent Acquisition that may have additional documentation saved in shared drives or on intranet pages. You’ll find it helpful to make a list of where these documents are housed within your organization so that you are able make comprehensive updates when you arrive at the change management phase.
REVIEWING YOUR PROGRAM
Next, determine if you’re going to implement your program as-is or make policy, process, or other changes. Introducing a new RMC will require a change management effort – capitalize on the opportunity to roll out other program changes as well. Along the same lines, determine who the decision makers are for any policy/process changes and how long the approval process may take. This will need to be considered in your project schedule to prevent delays. Finally, confirm what’s going to be outsourced to your new RMC – if you plan to change the scope from what’s currently provided, re-review your contract (including KPIs and pricing) to ensure those changes are reflected.
Next, identify related or dependent projects and consider how they may impact yours. Are you changing an HRIS or Payroll system? Are you conducting RFPs for other mobility services such as Tax or Immigration providers? Do any departments have black-out periods where project work cannot be performed? Identifying these potential roadblocks and interdependencies proactively will help ensure your project plan takes them into account.
GATHER THE PROPER TEAM MEMBERS FOR SUCCESS
Identify the project lead and project team within your organization. The project lead will need to help the RMC’s Project Manager navigate your organization & coordinate resources. Often this is someone in Global Mobility but could be a dedicated Project Manager in some organizations.
The project team generally should consist of representatives from Global Mobility, Human Resources/Talent Acquisition (assuming they have a role in discussing relocations with employees/candidates, helping the business budget for relocation or initiating the RMC, etc.), Payroll, and Finance. You may also need participation from Corporate Travel or your Travel Provider if relocation travel is managed by these groups. Other folks who may have a minor role to play may include Corporate Tax (to review BVO/GBO home sale programs) and Legal (to approve policy or repayment agreement language changes). Government contractors typically also engage Compliance to help the RMC document FAR and audit requirements. External project team members typically include a representative from your tax provider and other partners such as an immigration provider.
Proper preparation for the implementation process is critical to success. In part two of this blog series, we will discuss project planning and strategic thinking to ensure a smooth and successful implementation.