August 31, 2022
Deliver a Global Mobility Win with a Strong Implementation
Choose a relocation management company experienced in change management to deliver your program’s full potential
Finding the right fit for your global mobility program’s Relocation Management Company (RMC) is no easy task. But don’t look at completing your RFP process as the end – to deliver against your goals, you’ll need a strong implementation of the new provider and program. A successful implementation is the foundation for a long-term partnership between your organization and RMC you have selected.
Sterling Lexicon invests considerable time in this process, building our working relationship at the onset because we believe it pays dividends as we work with our clients and retain them year after year. You don’t need to fear change; you just need to manage it. For a sense of what to expect, here’s a behind-the-scenes tour of our professional implementation methodology.
Plan to Succeed
We start with a plan tailored to each global mobility program, designed to create a seamless transition for the mobility or HR team and for your transferring employees. Our implementation plan aims to have your program up and running quickly, with a typical timeline of 30 to 90 days, depending on the complexity of services, number of discrete policies used, geographic scope, and availability of client stakeholders.
A successful Sterling Lexicon implementation has four key phases:
- We Listen
- We Design
- We Launch
- We Refine
Listening to a client’s needs starts long before the implementation process. It’s key to designing the right proposal for your needs.
During the implementation project, we continue to devote significant time to learn about your organization, your unique business culture, objectives for the mobility program, and whether current policies will continue to support employees on their relocation journey. Our shared goal is to arrive at the Go-Live date ready to accept authorizations. To do this, we provide a planning structure that incorporates listening in to the plan.
We assign a Project Manager to each implementation to tailor the implementation plan to your needs. They will work closely with your Sterling Lexicon Account and Operations Managers, as well as representatives from our Accounting, Supply Chain, IT, and other relevant departments.
Immediately after the Relocation Services Agreement is fully executed, the project manager will institute a kick-off meeting followed by a weekly cadence to follow a detailed project plan. We will determine together whether the go-live will be all-inclusive or whether a phased approach makes more sense for your company.
It is common to realize the need for new policies during this policy review step, and we’re happy to help update or craft policies for our clients. In our experience, starting with detailed benefit descriptions and how they will be administered leads to successful downstream execution.
If the engagement will include international relocation and assignment management, we want to include any regional teams that support these employee types and identify all the relevant stakeholders.
We also know how important it is to define the requirements, processes and procedures for all services. We’ll work to understand client reporting needs including who should receive them, what are the critical performance measures, and when reporting is most helpful for client decision-making.
We will help craft a communication plan to facilitate the announcement of our new partnership within your company. This typically involves a formal internal notification to stakeholders – or in many cases – the entire company is informed, as well as all active transferees and assignees, in addition to informing vendors of the change. We want to make sure our efforts are coordinated, and we will help align our message for each target audience.
Sterling Lexicon will produce a Statement of Work that lists all deliverables, final pricing, details on services we will deliver, as well as any service level agreements formally adopted. By listening first, we are ready to design the program that serves your needs.
We start with listening to streamline the design phase and minimize delays or re-work. Based on a clear requirements and deliverables, the work of the design phase can follow the project manager’s detailed plan.
With discipline, the team addresses the key workstreams of successful implementation:
- Policy development or refinement
- Invoicing and reporting
- U.S. payroll reporting
- Service Delivery Guide
- Household Goods Transportation Matrices
- Home Sale (BVO/GBO) Components Table
- Global Compensation Services (if applicable)
- File transition for active transferees and assignees
- Supplier change management
- System configuration of policies, expense, billing rules, tax assistance, client users
At this point in the process, our experience with managing this change couldn’t be more important. As the energy of project kick-off fades, the project manager will keep the process on track and the timeline top of mind. Of course, they don’t do it alone. This is the time that we see the point person for the client working just as hard to keep their team’s forward momentum.
Three key success factors we know to look for are:
- Continued commitment to weekly implementation meetings
- Checking in on continued support from stakeholders at all levels
- Commitment to make clear decisions on policy and program, then sticking to them
This is a lot to ask, and our experienced team has worked through the challenges of not having all these success factors in play. We can help steer the team through challenges like needing to revise policies with implementation already in process – but your Sterling Lexicon project manager will be doing all they can to avoid problems rather than mitigate them.
The extensive work of the design phase is necessary to configure our relocation management system. When this platform is customized to your policies, users, and program needs, your project manager will guide the team’s focus to executing a successful Go-Live – and the key to that is training.
When we have finished setting up our system and testing it thoroughly, we will train your designated employees on how to use your customized L360 platform. Training will cover an assignment from initiation to pulling program reporting, including:
- How to enter out-of-policy, pre-approved exceptions
- How to approve exceptions
- How to request cost estimates
- How to review the status of transferees in process
- How to review and input notes
- How to review uploaded documents
- How to access reports and review of dashboard tools available in the portal
Beyond training on the system, your project manager builds a training schedule to train key users on the authorization process, exception reporting, and program structure that the platform enables. It’s a true accomplishment when completed technology training means the way is clear for system Go-Live and full program Go-Live.
Your project manager will stay involved until at least one billing cycle has completed through receipt of payment. These last steps of the project plan allow time to evaluate the program from initiation to billing, and to make changes, if necessary.
After these milestones, your account manager will remain your main contact. The implementation steps may be complete, but the refine phase is critical to long-term success. You can expect helpful, proactive insights from your account manager and ongoing support to run your program. Together you will establish a schedule for ongoing program review, and you will have a true partner for optimizing your mobility program.
On the client side, we have one last success factor to recommend: conduct employee surveys or focus groups to understand what is working well in the program and what is not. Combining this input with your portal data to review the process flows and employee outcomes makes for a strong foundation for continued success and improvement long past your implementation.
Planning to Succeed Pays Off
Why do we invest so much in strong implementations? At Sterling Lexicon, we believe that successful implementation gives our clients a strong foundation for long-term partnership with us, helping to put happy, productive employees where they can create value for their organizations.
It’s worth it to invest considerable time in this process so that we and our clients can reap the rewards. You don’t need to fear change; Sterling Lexicon is here to help you manage it.
This article refers to the implementation of a new client account for Sterling Lexicon relocation management services in the Americas region and leveraging our L360 platform. Specific implementation activities for each client and in each region will be designed with your Sterling Lexicon team.
Leah Johnson is Sterling Lexicon’s Director, Client Solutions, and has worked in the global mobility industry for more than 20 years. She has held management positions in business development, operations, account management, and consulting, and had the opportunity to live and work in Tokyo and Hong Kong for six years. She initiated destination services in Hong Kong for a relocation management company and directed global mobility for Goldman Sachs in the APAC region. She graduated from Colgate University, earned an MBA from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and maintains a Senior Certified Professional (SCP) certification from SHRM.