Knowing your customers is a key success factor for successful business. Barona Relocation recently went through some organizational changes and we saw a bunch of great opportunities to develop and improve. In fact, we bravely and proudly decided to jump a few steps up and rethink how we do things.
We believe in a customer-centric approach, so we decided to start by talking to our clients. This is why we began with a customer research and interviewed clients, representing different industries, different size of companies at different development stage. Our goal is to understand how the current global trends in relocation and global mobility are viewed on the local scene. We are curious to see what practices work and don’t work, of course, get some feedback and tips on how to develop out service and at the same time ideate together with our customers what the relocation of the future looks like.
Thank you all, who took a moment and shared valuable thoughts! This is a continuous conversation and we will keep asking questions 😊
Here is a short summary of the main challenges our clients face. I roughly grouped them into two groups, depending on whether they affect the global mobility or the cross-border recruitment process.
building and sustaining global mobility policies during growth
It was not surprising to see that many of the global mobility and relocation trends are also present on the local market. Looking back at the data from the last few years, our clients are relocating employees from both EU and outside of EU countries. The Nordics are often cited as great place to live and work at. Nevertheless, they remain a challenging destination to attract candidates to (more thoughts about this in the next section).
In order to retain talent, local employment is trending to be more and more the preferred type of employment rather than expatriate or other short-term assignments. As companies tend to employ on long-term and permanent basis, they are also investing more effort into supporting their employees to integrate as well as possible in the long run. This is noted in the demand for family support services.
The HR function often cover a wide range of responsibilities. Our customers are often posed with difficult choices in terms of resource and time management. Relocated employees may require more support in their induction period compared to local recruits. In addition to their new job and tasks, they often change their entire life thus need help for many work non-related issues. Therefore, companies are careful to choose the right partners for the right functions.
Scaling up HR policies
Many technology focused companies aim for high recruitment targets, which lead to fast paced recruitment process and company growth. Having cross-border recruitment as the main source talent means that internationalization become essential part of HR teams’ responsibilities. As a result, global mobility policies and relocation issues affect the recruitment decisions and processes.
Maintaining sustainability of operations during fast growth is another challenge for the HR function. This becomes even more complicated when entering multiple countries and when acquiring local knowledge on labor legislation, taxation and immigration processes and requirements. Working towards unifying the company policies International companies with business activity and offices in many different countries pose a challenge for the HR of growth companies.
Attracting talent on the global recruitment scene
As a result of the digitalization global trend, a broader specter of companies to invest in technology. This means that the lack of IT professionals is not solely a problem for IT companies. Industrial engineering is another sector that is scarce on local talent. Cross-border recruitment becomes one of the main solutions to finding the needed talent. Many customers consider the offered relocation to be an essential sales point when attracting talent.
However, recruiters express that they face difficulties on breaking the commonly known stereotypes of working in the Nordic countries. Candidates often have prejudice when it comes to the expensive cost of living, high taxes, bad weather. Recruiters say they spend a large part of the recruitment process on branding the Nordic countries the right way – clearing myths about income taxation, tackling the cultural barrier, praising the work–life balance mindset, etc. Comparing living standards between countries is not an easy task. As Nordic recruiters compete for talent with popular destinations in central Europe or the United States, they need more tools to sell the Nordic lifestyle. After all the Forbes ranks the Nordic nations as the happiest ones in the world and the Bloomberg Innovation Index ranked Sweden, Finland and Denmark as the most innovative economies in the world.
Improving immigration process
One concern and common challenge for all interviewees is the issue of immigration process, it’s clarity, transparency and length. The immigration process varies between countries. Quite commonly immigration processing times are long and inflexible. Many interviewees expressed concern about the unreliable estimations of processing times.
We work towards and we are optimistic that since many institutions have recognized the need and the benefits of attracting and keeping international talent, the processes can be adjusted and simplified.