Looking Back – and Forward – to Mobility Topics of Interest

Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Elaine Baker

As we look to the year ahead, we can’t help but also look back on the mobility trends that we saw in 2019. Throughout the year, SIRVA professionals conducted research, held workshops, sessions, and webinars, and met face-to-face with our clients during roundtables and client advisory board meetings. These events were held throughout the world, in locations including Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Washington D.C., London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing. The output led to valuable insights regarding the challenges and concerns our clients expect to face while managing mobility in 2020. Below, we list a few of their top issues and recap SIRVA content that addressed them:

What Mobility Professionals Care About in 2020

  1. How to manage mobility costs without sacrificing employee experience: While cost rationalization remains a top priority for mobility stakeholders, it should never come at the expense of a positive employee experience. If decreased or rationalized costs result in damaged employee morale or motivation, relocations can be negatively impacted, along with talent retention and the company’s goals and overall mobility brand – canceling out any short-term savings that were achieved on any individual relocation package. By balancing controlled costs with value, company goals and a positive employee experience can both be achieved. This past year, we published the white paper, Controlling the Costs of Mobility, which explored key influencers driving mobility costs, strategies to manage those costs, why it can be difficult to quantify the true cost of mobility, and how companies can better track actual mobility spend. Stay tuned in 2020 for more content on how companies can strike a balance between rationalizing mobility costs and maximizing the employee experience.


  2. Lack of flexibility in mobility policies: As companies attempt to remove relocation barriers and address the specific needs of the business, they’re striving to incorporate flexibility into their mobility programs. Current programs that don’t provide the right level of flexibility are experiencing a high volume of program exceptions, failed relocations, complaints of inequity, and higher-than-expected administrative spend; all potential signs that a mobility program may not be operating at the right level of flexibility. But how much flexibility is enough? How much is too much? In 2019, Global Advisory Services Vice President Taryn Kramer and Director Kathy Burrows hosted a Worldwide ERC webinar to answer these questions.We expect to see a significant focus on incorporating flexibility into mobility programs to balance stakeholder and relocating employee needs and preferences in 2020.


  3. Best practices for mobility policy design and structure: Organizational growth is typically listed as a top priority for companies and designing an effective mobility program is critical to achieving that growth. Our white paper, Designing a Future-Ready Relocation Programme for Going Global, discusses the evolution of global mobility programs, analyzes the importance of aligning relocation programs to the goals of an organization, and outlines recommended components to include in a quality relocation program.


  4. Securing the right educational opportunities for children of relocating employees: A family’s ability to assimilate into a new destination is key to the success of any relocation and/or assignment, so it’s no surprise that strong school-finding and educational support services are a key concern for mobility professionals and relocating employees. Both local and international schools may have requirements that differ from schools in an employee’s origin location, enrollment should never be left until the last minute, and time will be needed to address any special needs or requests. Working with a relocation management provider (RMC) often provides employees with access to education subject matter experts and an innovative education solution that might not have otherwise been thought of in such cases, but always provides employees and mobility teams with an extended team of experts when addressing this very important part of a family’s relocation.


Recent workshop discussions revealed additional topics our clients are eager to hear more about, including such topics as:

  • International Expertise / Changing Visa and Immigration Requirements: Stay tuned in early 2020 for a white paper that discusses the importance of visa and immigration compliance, challenges associated with individual countries, particularly in the APAC region, and how an RMC can help companies stay current in today’s rapidly changing geopolitical landscape.
  • Mobility-Minded Technology: SIRVA’s Vice President of Marketing, Jeff Mills, recently wrote an article on the growing need within mobility for self-service technology, the importance of balancing that technology with superior, live customer service, and introduced iMove, the inspiration behind our innovative technology that addresses all of these goals for every kind of move. Look for it in CIO Review magazine during the month of January 2020.   
  • Meeting the Needs of Accompanying Spouses/Partners and Families: The success of any relocation is largely dependent on not just an employee’s ability to assimilate into his/her surroundings, but also the ability of accompanying spouses/partners and families. To address these concerns, we’ve written blog posts that address best practices for supporting an employee’s spouse/partner during a relocation, supporting children during an international relocation, and helping dogs adjust during a move. Keep an eye out for these between February and April.

The world of mobility is constantly changing, and SIRVA is prepared to evolve with it. As our clients’ needs evolve and new trends develop, SIRVA professionals will continue to be on hand to provide valuable advice, guidance, and partnership – this year and every year. Please check our learning center regularly or contact for additional information.


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