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Welcome to our Blog

Our blog lets us share with you current news and views from the world of HR and Global Mobility which we hope you will find interesting, informative and even entertaining. Along with our own thoughts and opinions we will bring you external articles and updates on items we think may matter to you.

We hope you enjoy reading our blog.

07
Apr
2014
Supporting Global Talent: Time To Change?
With fast moving economies and global business opportunities, companies to work fast and smart to stay ahead. One strategy which will help any business to…
24
Mar
2014
Relocating? Be Prepared
Are you working with assignees who are relocating abroad? Maybe it’s you? There are so many things to think about… and to organise. At BTR…
07
Jan
2014
2014: The Year of Talent Mobility
As we start 2014, the prospects for the year ahead are good. Industry leaders such as CBI, CIPD and Forbes are optimistic about this year,…

Reconciling Relocation Differences

In a perfect world, the ideal location for operational expansion would be the same as the dream location for employees taking on assignments abroad. The reality? They vary…sometimes greatly.
The key to a successful relocation – irrespective of planning, preparation and support - is reconciling these differences.

In recent years, companies have favoured the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) economies for business opportunities. The ideal locations for assignees? Australia, Spain or United States.
As reported by Aviva, 58% companies surveyed are considering sending employees abroad.

Luckily, just under half the employees surveyed had already considered a move overseas. So, with everyone seemingly wanting the same result, how do we get over the differences in location aspiration?

“In many cases, it is the ‘fear of the unknown’ which puts people off of the emerging markets as a place to work and live” says Suzanne Sells from BTR International. ”Carefully planned, bespoke support helps enormously.”

Whilst we naturally think of the assignee’s support package within relocation scenarios, those managing the relocation within the organisation also need assistance. Aviva’s survey reports that 68% employers find the relocation process challenging with 47% experiencing failed international assignments.

“With years of global relocation experience on our side, we really can help to make international moves as stress free as possible” adds Suzanne. “From supporting employers with designing and implementing a relocation policy to assisting assignees and their families in their move abroad, we really do make a difference.”

If you are managing your assignees’ moves abroad, call BTR for a free informal discussion. Email Suzanne at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call her on +(0)1582 495495.

Together, we’ll go further.

Interpreting International Relocations

When an assignee moves to a new role in a different country, language can be the biggest obstacle; affecting lifestyle and productivity alike. Ultimately, it can be the key to a successful relocation for both the people and the business involved.
Most people moving to - rather than visiting - a different country will endeavour to learn the language. It’s much more than interpretation. It’s the biggest step towards a sense of belonging rather than feeling ‘foreign’.

Employers providing language tuition as part of a relocation package for assignees will also feel the benefits. Kevin Wieczorek from BTR International explains: “Assignees are usually keen to get to grips with their new role and obviously want to settle into their new home quickly. In our experience, language tuition can speed up this process considerably.”

Of course, language is just one element of lifestyle support which helps assignees integrate into a new culture. Orientation support will offer local knowledge about schools, transport and housing for example, including a tour of the area.

“Assignees don’t always know what to expect about the area and lifestyle involved with their new location. This can create a degree of anxiety about a move” says Kevin. “Orientation support is reassuring to assignees and their families. We find that the most helpful and productive relocation support packages offer:

Language tuition
Cross cultural training
Orientation support

This combination allows assignees and their families to settle more quickly, plus the assignee become productive in his/her new role faster. Clearly there are business and personal benefits involved.”

If you are involved in global assignments and/or talent relocation and would like to know more, please contact Kevin via .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call him on +44 (0) 1582 495495. Ensure that your company’s relocations are as stress free as possible.

Supporting Global Talent: Time To Change?

With fast moving economies and global business opportunities, companies to work fast and smart to stay ahead. One strategy which will help any business to stay efficient is to manage – and nurture – the talent it has grown and acquired.
A recent HR Director blog discussed how the days of ‘sustainable competitive advantage’ have disappeared. If this is to be believed, employees and the talent they can deploy on behalf of their employer are essential in helping any business to stand out from the crowd.

Despite the vital role that talent plays within organisational success, 59% of business and HR leaders believe that senior managers don't spend enough high quality time on talent management.
McKinsey’s report explains that whilst concentrating on organisational and financial issues associated with change management, senior executives overlook ‘softer’ leadership skills. These skills include the motivation and support of teams. In a global context, teams often cross countries – even continents. Today, talent management needs to embrace talent mobility, which requires efficient and personalised support.

AT BTR International, we understand that no two relocations are the same. “A ‘one size fits all’ approach to relocation may have some short-term cost saving benefits” says Suzanne Sells who manages many of the bespoke requirements of assignee’s relocations. “Unfortunately, in the long-term, a generic model becomes frustrating and costly as assignees take a long time to become productive within their new roles and lifestyles.”

To find out how we can deliver bespoke support and a stress-free relocation services for your organisation, call us on +44 (0)1582 495 495 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) .

Relocating? Be Prepared

Are you working with assignees who are relocating abroad? Maybe it’s you? There are so many things to think about… and to organise. At BTR International we believe in keeping life simple and keeping moves as stress free as possible.
It’s far more involved than simply a house move and a new job, (although that is not necessarily a simple combination!).

These three key steps should help relocation abroad to go smoothly:

1. Planning
Make a list of everything that needs to be done, from start to finish. Whilst the list looks long, it feels better to have captured everything on ‘paper’. Need a hand? At BTR, we have a checklist of the actions that are usually needed whilst moving.

2. Preparation
Do your homework about the country and location you’re moving to. Look online and ask friends and contacts who have lived/visited there. Have an orientation discussion with someone who knows about the country… and about the details involved with relocating.

3. Patience
The secret to a successful relocation? Manage your expectations. Kevin Wieczorek of BTR International explains: “It’s easy for assignees to put unnecessary pressure on themselves by rushing to settle to a new ‘life’ quickly. It takes time to build connections and become part of a new culture.” In some cases, cross-cultural training and language tuition will help the transition enormously. Help is at hand.

At BTR, we work closely with assignees and their families to minimise the stress involved.

For example, we have recently helped a VIP assignee to relocate across continents. His family have never visited their new country before. They are leaving behind their support network to arrive somewhere with a completely different education system, housing market, currency… and no friends or family. Partner/Family assistance after the physical move itself can make or break an assignment.

BTR is here to help.

To discuss our relocation services contact Kevin Wieczorek via .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call him on +44 (0) 1582 495 495.

We’d like you to meet…

People are the most important and influential part of any business.
BTR International is no exception; our growth has given us the opportunity to expand our team. We are delighted to introduce you to Suzanne Sells.

Suzanne joined our team in November 2013 as our Business Development Executive. Her global role blends her removals experience and people-orientated skills. “I’ve worked in the removals industry since 2005” explains Suzanne. “I’m used to organising domestic and international moves.”

Suzanne’s priority echoes that of BTR: it’s all about the people; the assignees and their families. “I particularly enjoy working with BTR as moves are about personal contact, not just account management. We roll up our sleeves and get involved with all aspects of the relocation.”

“BTR gives me the flexibility to be ‘hands on’ to ensure that assignees and their families have the assistance they need. I am currently helping the family of a VIP assignee who are moving to the UK from overseas. They have never been in the UK before; we can help with the reassurance and guidance they need. Everyone involved – the assignee, client and ourselves – wants the move to be as stress-free as possible.”

Suzanne enjoys the personal contact and freedom she has to offer a tailored service to clients. Every role has its difficult aspects though. Within Suzanne’s role, this involves the negative response to cold calls. “I appreciate that everyone is busy” she explains. “It is very frustrating when someone puts the phone down – mostly because I know that we are offering a service which will be genuinely helpful to them. There isn’t a way around it for that particular call; fortunately it doesn’t happen very often!”

If you would like to contact Suzanne about the relocation services available from BTR, please call her on +44 (0) 1582 495 495 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Achieving Cultural Integration

As business becomes increasingly global, there is one aspect which can be relied upon to create uncertainty: joining (at least) two cultures together.
Talent Management reports that up to 70% of mergers and acquisitions fail. Cultural conflict is one of the common reasons why.

Successfully recognising and managing people and culture related issues are how many succeed. They focus on putting the right people in the right places… with the right support. Understanding the cultural differences involved is a huge help – and becoming even more crucial.

Corporate transferees make up 1% of the world’s expat population. That equates to 505,000 people. This figure is expected to almost triple by 2017. (Angloinfo)
So how do we help prepare assignees for the cultural lifestyle and business changes involved?

It’s the details which count:
Planning – what is important to the assignee; schools, transport links, medical facilities, local amenities?
Orientation – a personalised, assisted visit will help assignees make vital decisions about the neighbourhood they want to live in.
Home Search – finding the ideal new home for each assignee saves a lot of stress and time.
Training – bespoke training to help individuals understand their new country and culture.
Language Tuition – will make settling in and day-to-day living so much easier.
Practicalities – moving to and from any location requires planning, removal, transportation and possibly storage before safe delivery. As stated above, it’s the details that count.

There’s much to think about!

For many assignees and their HR colleagues, it’s good to know that experienced support is available to offer help and advice with integrating into a new culture.

BTR International and our carefully selected partners are proud to offer this valuable assistance.

To find out more visit our services page, or contact Kevin Wieczorek for a free discussion. (Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call Kevin on +44 (0)1582 495 495.)

Successful cultural integration means quicker productivity and sustained moves. It really is the key to overseas business success.

Why HR Matters in Emerging Markets

With European economic growth pitifully low, it’s no surprise that businesses are looking to expand into emerging economies.
It makes business sense. According to Standard Chartered Bank, 70% global economic growth up to 2030 will come from emerging markets. These include:

• BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China)
• CIVETS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa)

Indeed, an FT article forecasts that some Eastern Europe and Asian countries are on track to join the exclusive club of ‘the richest countries’.

As reported by HR magazine, many HR departments are becoming overwhelmed with the challenge of getting the right talent into the right place. Many of these countries do not have the skills needed locally. Whether businesses decide to invest in growing local talent or bring in their own people, there will always be cultural and business nuances to get to grips with in a new country.

The integration stage is crucial. Cass Business School’s research found that 81% companies involve HR at this stage during mergers acquisitions. Add emerging markets into the mix… a whole new set of issues are created. That’s where it’s crucial to include HR even earlier; ideally during targeting. Cass found that only 10% companies do this.

Finance is important in business deals… and so are people; especially when you’ll be moving talent into a whole new culture. Many ex-pat blogs advise on preparing yourself – literally – for the culture shock. In emerging markets, this come with its own guilt complex too... so many indigenous people have so little.

One aspect which HR can rely on… a smooth, stress free relocation.

BTR International has been helping relocate assignees globally for over 25 years. Support is available for assignees and their families regarding their new lifestyle, living arrangements and their actual move.

Contact us via our email contact form (above right) or on +44 (0)1582 495 495 for a free discussion.

Relocation Hotspots

With today’s technology and transport, the world feels smaller. Most locations are a viable option when it comes to choosing a base for work and home.
Productivity and mobility are the predicted trends for 2014 (see our last blog: 2014: The Year of Talent Mobility). Most cities are realistically an option for companies sourcing or relocating employees. But which ones offer the best quality of living? Understanding this, as well as operational requirements, will heavily influence the success of any relocation.

Mercer researched 221 cities around the world in 2012 to see which offered the quality of living that most – arguably all - assignees would seek.

The results are extremely interesting. Globally, the top five cities offering the best quality of living are:
1. Vienna, Austria)
2. Zurich, Switzerland
3. Auckland, New Zealand
4. Munich, Germany
5. Vancouver, Canada

With productivity in mind, Mercer also ranked cities based on a basket of infrastructure services. These were: electricity supply, water availability, telephone and mail services, public transportation, airports and traffic congestion… all important factors to assignees and their families.

The top five cities are:
1. Singapore, Singapore
2. Frankfurt, Germany
3. Munich, Germany
4. Copenhagen, Denmark
5. Düsseldorf, Germany

So – congratulations to Munich for overall consistency!

If you are involved with relocation – managing or as an assignee – talk to us at BTR International via our email contact form (above right) or on +44 (0)1582 495 495. Whether you are tempted by Munich or somewhere else, we can help. We have expertise and contacts involving relocations across the world.

Munich is a relocation hotspot

2014: The Year of Talent Mobility

As we start 2014, the prospects for the year ahead are good. Industry leaders such as CBI, CIPD and Forbes are optimistic about this year, particularly from the view of employees.
General consensus of expert opinion is that companies have reduced costs, rationalised operations and streamlined job functions as much as possible.

The result? More has been asked of existing staff. This too had had an impact. Forbes reports that dealing with overwhelmed employees is the top HR issue for 60% of companies.

Whilst some have been overwhelmed, others have risen to the challenge. In 2014, these top performers are even more crucial organisations. Employee engagement will be crucial to retention this year. In many cases, valuable people will be looking for fresh challenges and promotion, reflecting the unrelenting workload and their achievements during recent years.

With better retention comes a scarcity of key skills prompting a global search for talent and an inevitable need for talent mobility. For some companies, this will be a learning curve; a new approach to employee recruitment and retention. That’s where BTR International can help.

We work with your business and your assignees to ensure stress-free relocations, worldwide. We understand that no two moves are the same, offering advice, accredited expertise and trusted contacts. If you will be involved with the surge in talent mobility, contact us via our email contact form (above right) or on +44 (0)1582 495 495. We’re here to help.
Living or working in a foreign country - who’s taking care of your health needs?

Living or working in a foreign country - who’s taking care of your health needs?

If you relocate overseas from the UK there are plenty of things you may miss, but there are some things you can take with you. Make certain that one of the things you do take is access to the same high standard of medical care for you and your family.
Many people, especially those in good health, do not place medical health insurance high enough on their list of priorities; but it’s vital that you or your employer (if you are relocating as part of a company sponsored assignment) source the right type of quality medical care cover for you before you leave.

With the growth of global careers, stories of expats unable to afford treatment abroad or of multi-national companies facing large bills because the medical insurance cover they have taken out for their employees is inadequate are becoming more and more common place. The task of researching and keeping up to date with local healthcare schemes, legislation, tax rules and costs can be daunting for both employers and expats but there is an alternative known as an international private medical insurance plan or IPMI.

International Private Medical Insurance Plans:

• Highly versatile – with the many plans available, there is a suitable IPMI plan to give you the level of protection required for you and your family.

• Provide the best medical facilities - an IPMI plan allows you to source treatment in the very best medical facilities around the world, without being restricted to certain hospitals.

• Provide a wide scope of cover - an IPMI plan allows you, in most cases, to seek private medical treatment anywhere in the world, including back in your home country. So, expatriates preferring to return home for treatment can do so.

• Designed for expatriates - for the ‘professional expat’, who may be required to move from country to country on different contracts or assignments, an IPMI plan can move with you.

• Guarantee high levels of customer care – IPMI plan providers include vital support should you need medical attention. They understand how daunting treatment in a foreign country can seem and will help you every step of the way.

What to look for when relocating abroad

One of the most common misconceptions relating to medical insurance is that you can take your domestic policies with you when you move. In fact, many domestic insurance policies will become void when you leave your country of residence. An expat may consider themselves still ‘resident’ in their home country, even when living abroad… but it’s what the insurer thinks that truly matters.

Another costly mistake is assuming you will be entitled to state cover. Even if this is the case, medical facilities abroad are often of a lesser standard than you may be used to back home.

Perhaps the biggest misconception of all is the definitions and exclusions surrounding pre-existing conditions. It is absolutely essential to seek expert advice on this complex subject – it’s easy to miss the finer details. We can help you.

Independent expert advice

Working or moving abroad can be daunting for both you and your family. With so many things to consider, it’s very important to consult with an expert to ensure that your family’s health and wellbeing is looked after. Equally if you are an HR or Global Mobility professional involved in sourcing employee healthcare schemes you need to ensure that you are relying on expert advice.

Blythwood Group, one of BTR International’s strategic alliance partners, is an independent broker specialising in international medical insurance solutions for expatriates. One of the major advantages of using a broker based in the UK is the assurance that they are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA is noted the world over for overseeing the global markets operating from the City of London.

If you would like to find out more about expatriate/assignee healthcare options please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Debbie McLean at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

This article appears courtesy of Blythwood Group Ltd (www.blythwood.co.uk) and is subject to copyright. The contents of this article do not constitute advice.

Debbie McLean – .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) is Clients Services Director for Blythwood Group, based in Falkirk, Scotland, UK.

About the Blythwood Group

Blythwood Group is one of the UK’s leading corporate healthcare consultancies, which operates exclusively in the specialist field of healthcare and group risk benefits. We are not tied to one company’s products and are completely impartial when giving advice. Our detailed knowledge of the market place and a unique understanding of the pricing methodology used can enable us to negotiate more effectively on behalf of our clients. Our aim is to develop effective long term working relationships, achieving this by setting realistic objectives. We sell our services on complete transparency and demonstrate how each of our client’s contracts are priced with no hidden costs. As we negotiate face to face with insurers during renewals we can provide clients with a full analysis and the reasons behind any decrease or increase in their premiums.