Buckle Up this Summer for Household Goods Move Challenges: Plan Ahead!

International HHG Moves

Arriving just in time for summer, a familiar story; the household goods industry will have a difficult time over the summer months meeting consumer demand. While COVID-19 impacted how household goods suppliers had to perform their services, the need for moving was still great, plus increased levels of restrictions such as mask mandates, cross-border travel restrictions, quarantine periods, supply chain disruptions, and labor shortages, etc., provided even more hurdles. The list is extensive regarding additional burdens household goods suppliers need to overcome, and consequently, we are seeing a sharp increase in fees for services.   

Internationally, global supply chains have been impacted by the war in Ukraine which was already suffering due to Covid lockdowns. With China implementing additional lockdowns including Shanghai, the world’s biggest container port, this has only exasperated the problem. More than 8 million residents in Shanghai are still banned from leaving their residences and this means people that run logistics are not on the job. According to Project44, which tracks shipment times, the delays between China and the major US and European ports quadrupled since late March. According to Daejin Lee, an associate director at S&P Global Market Intelligence, the situation in China will push global inflation higher this year. Last year, inflation was driven by two factors: supply shortages of key parts led to supply chain bottlenecks; and record-high container freight rates.  Both problems continue into 2022, and the war in Ukraine will only make commodities prices rise as well. 

Not only is there an international shipping problem, but there are difficulties in the US. According to the American Trucking Association, they estimate the industry is short 80,000 truck drivers, and there is a fear this number could double by 2030 as more retire from the profession. To try and remedy this problem, the $1 trillion infrastructure bill includes a three-year pilot program that would allow commercial drivers as young as 18 to drive across state lines. In most states, you need to be 21 to receive a commercial driver’s license. However, this would be a band-aid approach and is unlikely to remedy the immediate situation. In response to the shortage, companies are raising wages for truck drivers and these increases are being passed on to consumers. 

How this translates to the relocation industry is that clients and employees must be extremely proactive. For example, according to the US Army and an article written by Chris Gardner, they have 36,984 soldiers that have reporting dates in 2022 during the peak summer season. Fort Sill’s property supervisor, Shirley Castle, stated, “Soldiers and civilians need to contact the local transportation office as soon as orders are received and keep their chain of command informed of any issues or challenges…waiting until 30 days or less before the move to contact the local transportation office could result in non-availability of DoD approved moving companies.”

The way to address all of this is to understand the situation and over-communicate to all involved in the logistics and household goods moving process. This includes clients and their transferring employees by implementing the following:

  • Work with a knowledgeable Relocation Management Company (RMC)that can navigate these challenges.
  • Plan for more shipment time, especially international moves.
  • 30 days’ notice is the minimum; try and plan well in advance.
  • Change to air freight versus sea freight if feasible and affordable.
  • Consider providing a furniture allowance rather than moving furniture.

At WHR Group, Inc. (WHR), our Supply Chain Management department builds and maintains relationships with quality network providers. We continue to monitor this ever-changing situation and its impact on the supply chain and logistics. Through our extensive and well-vetted supply chain network, we can find the right providers to navigate each employee relocation on a case-by-case basis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHR CHOOSES WINNERS OF ITS 2022 PARTNER IN QUALITY AWARD

WHR Group, Inc., (WHR) announces its 2022 Partner in Quality Award winners. Recipients are WHR Global Network Partners who exceeded customer satisfaction and service excellence throughout 2021. To be considered for a Partner in Quality Award, a partner must complete at least 20 transactions in the previous year and receive performance rankings within the top one percentile of the relocation partner’s service category. The award winners listed below exceeded WHR’s expectations in cost management, customer satisfaction, quality and supply chain management.

 We are extremely thankful to our entire supplier network, but specifically to these 22 companies that have gone above and beyond from a service and partnership aspect. Their dedication and commitment to excellence has helped WHR Advance Lives Forward® of countless relocating employees.

 2022 Partner in Quality Award Winners (in no particular order)

 Relo Network Asia – Singapore

 Pro Relocation – Bratislava, Slovakia

 Merchants – A Budd Van Lines Division – Racine, WI

 BHHS Georgia Properties – Roswell, GA

 Tiffany Broecker – Stevens Point, WI

 IOR Global Services – Northbrook, IL

 AltoVita – London, England

 Paramount Transportation Systems – Reno, NV

 Suite Home Chicago – Chicago, IL

 Amanda Howard Sotheby’s International Realty – Huntsville, AL

 Apartments in Town – London, UK

 Aaversal Global Relocation – Sumner, WA

 Packimpex – Bern, Switzerland

 Transportation Worldwide, Inc. – Katy, TX

 Isaac’s Moving and Storage – Stoughton, MA

 Boone’s Moving & Storage (Lytle’s Transfer) – Tipton, PA

 Arpin International – West Warwick, RI

 Avery-Hess Realtors, Inc. – Woodbridge, VA

 Ward North American – San Antonio, TX

 LARM USA, Inc. – Coral Springs, FL

 @ Properties – Chicago, IL

 RE/MAX Partners Relocation – Andover, MA

WHR Group Announces International Training Program for its Employees

 On March 1, WHR Group, Inc. (WHR) announced its first-ever global training program for its employees. Staff in WHR’s US, Switzerland and Singapore offices now have the opportunity to visit another global office for up to four weeks as part of a multi-year investment in its employees.

 WHR President Paul De Boer said, “It’s critical to provide these global experiences so our employees can understand the impact their work has on transferring employees and families. It also allows our employees to build personal and business relationships so that everyone can understand their unique role and how it impacts the entire organization.”

 As an eight-time recipient of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Top Workplaces award, WHR recognizes the need to increase communications and meaningful interactions between employees in its global offices. Since WHR has three international offices, WHR’s employees require greater experience and collaboration with their American, European, and Asian counterparts. While emails, instant messages, and calls on Microsoft Teams can be impactful, WHR believes positive work cultures and relationships are best cultivated in person. Through this program, WHR hopes to increase its employee retention/engagement and allow employees to take initiatives on a global scale. This new, bi-annual program is part of WHR’s continuous employee satisfaction process.

 Four WHR employees were chosen in March to participate in the first round of the program. From the US office, one employee will train in Switzerland and one in Singapore, while one employee from Switzerland and Singapore each will train in the US office. WHR will support the employees with fundamental travel, housing and other essential costs so that the employees can focus on training activities/interactions with their colleagues. Each employee will also be assigned an in-office teammate at the location they’re visiting. WHR will choose teammates who strongly exhibit WHR’s core values (empathy, trustworthy, proactive, hardworking and results-driven), and who can share extensive local knowledge with the traveling employee.

 

Interested in joining the global mobility and relocation management leader? View WHR’s open positions at https://www.whrg.com/careers/.  

 See how WHR can transform your employee relocation program. Contact our sales department at sales@whrg.com, or call 262-523-2800.

Competitive Real Estate Market and Relocating Your Employees

A recent study conducted by IBIS World stated that in the last five years, the Employee Relocation Industry has had a growth of $13.9 billion, which is at 0.4 percent annually. It is believed that the impetus for this growth is due to the rising economy and corporate profit. The other factor that boosted the Employee Relocation Industry is the housing market’s positive trend in the last few years. A substantial share of the revenue for the Employee Relocation Industry is generated from the real estate market.

As a result, the study concluded that in 2021 alone, the growth in the economy and house pricing index likely contributed to about a 7.8 percent increase in the Employee Relocation Industry. Unfortunately, this improvement came at a time when the industry is immensely affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While some employees refused to relocate due to health issues, and with a drastic loss of employment in parts of 2020 and 2021, the Employee Relocation Industry suffered. But with work-life coming back to normal, the relocation of employees is picking up. Furthermore, with the new trend of the Great Resignation, companies and employers are looking to hire talent beyond domestic boundaries. However, the incentive offered to talent doesn’t end here. The existing employees can rise vertically or horizontally within the company to ensure they are retained. 

In such a scenario, where real estate plays an important part in relocation, we need to see how it affects an employee. In many situations, the employee needs to sell a property before relocation and/or purchase a new property in the new location. In this article, we will investigate the effects real estate has on the relocation of an employee and how an employer can help. 

Perspective of an Employee 

For many employees, buying and/or selling their house is critical for relocation, hence understanding their experience would help the employer to prepare and offer a better relocation outcome. 

Low-Inventory and High Prices 

Across the country, many home buyers are facing difficulty with purchases because of the record-high prices in the real estate market. While that bodes well with any employee selling the house for relocation, there is another issue. When the same employee searches for the house in their new destination, they are looking at a price that can be higher than expected. They can also be in the situation of losing out on multiple bids or they may feel rushed to buy an overpriced property. Given such a situation, there are ways the employer can help the relocating employee. 

Employer Can Help to Relocate an Employee 

If you are still wondering why there should be a relocation program for the current real estate market, the answer is simple. The last thing you would want is for your employee to leave your company because of a tough home purchase experience. Furthermore, without a mobility or relocation program in place, you are in the position to lose out on more money. You may lose time, for example, if the employee is outbid by others for a new home, thus delaying their relocation time. You also might receive more exception requests, for example, if the person is moving into an expensive real estate market.  

So, how can an employer help an employee with the relocation program? 

Extending the Corporate Housing Benefits 

If you already don’t have one, you should provide your employee with corporate housing benefits. In case you already have the benefit in place, it is time to extend the benefit longer. Corporate housing offers the transferee a short stay in fully furnished accommodations until they find a new place to call home. But this stay cannot be for an indefinite period. With relocating employees having a hard time finding a house in this real estate market, extending the stay should be an option when applied for by the employee. 

Extending the Timeline 

The high-priced real estate market, with delayed enclosures, travel bans, and the introduction of an air-bubble due to the pandemic resulted in employees failing to utilize the relocation policy within the stipulated time. As a result, some people failed to relocate within the required timeline and had to forgo the benefits. Employers should evaluate existing relocation policies. The impetus is on employers is to identify the areas where they can extend timelines and offer the benefits to the relocated employee, mainly when it comes to real estate. 

Final Words 

One of the best ways to execute an employee relocation assistance program is to work with an experienced Relocation Management Company (RMC). An RMC can help your employees with relocating, finding the right house/closing, plus the many other steps needed in an employee’s relocation. An RMC can also design a cost-effective relocation policy that serves transferees’ needs while still saving your company money.

What is Repatriation Assistance?

What is Repatriation?

Repatriation occurs when an expat employee returns to their home country. Unfortunately, it’s oftentimes an overlooked benefit in employee relocation packages. The process isn’t always easy on the assignee and can result in costly expenditures for your organization. However, if you have a clear plan in place to tackle these challenges, you’ll be ahead of the game.

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The Challenges of Repatriation

These are some of the challenges your expat employees might face when repatriating, and how to navigate these changes.

1. First, remember there will be changes in their job role: The repatriating employee may not know a lot about his or her next role yet, which is why it’s important to stay in contact during the change. Work out a plan with your repatriating employees so they each know what role in the company they will have when returning from their assignments. Even if they will retain their current position or title, their teammates and office culture will be changing once more.

2. Second, employees’ families will also be going through the adjustments: Just like relocating in the first place, it is important to make every effort to help assimilate employees’ family members during and after the move. Does your relocation package include spousal assistance to help the spouse or partner find a job and get re-assimilated? Offering school search benefits will also help when re-assimilating children, as their needs may have changed since they have been abroad.

3. Next, employees will need to re-adjust to their “home” surroundings: While employees may be moving back to their home country, they may not be moving back to the same location within that country. Your repatriation program should be prepared for aspects of the home location that will have changed from the last time the employee lived there.

4. Focusing on these three challenges will help your employees overcome the last potential hurdle of repatriation: Changing their perspective of where “home” is. Employees and their families have potentially been on assignment for a long time, and the country they are coming from may now feel like home. As the employer, be prepared to help those repatriating to think of this next location as home once more. Embracing and overcoming the changes of moving again will help employees re-identify with the location faster and allow you to be assured of their successful repatriation.

Source: Worldwide ERC®’s “Effective Repatriation Planning” Presentation, March 2017

How WHR Group Can Help

WHR Group has helped companies relocate their employees to countries all over the globe. We offer full repatriation program management, including program guidance and ongoing talent management recommendations to ensure your employees feel welcome, settled, and valued back home.