July 14, 2019

Revamped program improved employee experience and saved time for HR team


The existing provider did not have local knowledge nor expertise to support Ferrero’s needs.

In 2015 Ferrero, a maker of fine chocolates based in Luxemburg, launched an RFP to appoint a global relocation provider. Despite Sterling Lexicon’s expertise, the project was awarded to two other providers. However, the chocolate maker’s remote population was growing rapidly, and the existing practice of using local destination services was no longer sufficient.

Shortly after implementation, it became clear that neither vendor had what Ferrero needed in China. The vendors lacked support on the ground and didn’t understand local customs and culture.




Program Challenges

Global contract works best when selecting a vendor that has true local expertise

  • Employees had trouble assimilating abroad, and were unprepared for local customs and culture.
  • China’s launch of an online immigration system posed extensive immigration challenges.
  • Language barriers made communication extremely difficult.
  • Heavy burden on internal human resources team.



Revamped comprehensive relocation program provided vital support to employees.

After the negative experiences with past vendors, Ferrero was wary but agreed to trial moves with Sterling Lexicon from Luxemburg to Shanghai and Hangzhou. With substantial knowledge of the local Shanghai and Hangzhou markets, Sterling Lexicon was able to demonstrate their expertise in local customs and the cultures.

Within a few months, the partnership grew, and Sterling Lexicon signed a local contract with Ferrero China not long thereafter. Ferrero was impressed with Sterling Lexicon’s excellence in project management, flexibility and customer service—and relieved to work with a single partner, rather than several.

For the first time, Ferrero had a comprehensive relocation program in place: providing vital support to assignees, helping them integrate into their new community, assisting with visa processes and reducing the chances of an unhappy household.

Using its full range of services, Sterling Lexicon supported talent management strategies to improve visibility of the mobility programme, enhance the assignee experience, refine existing processes and work closely with Ferrero on their local and regional strategy for growth. Sterling Lexicon also keeps Ferrero up-to-date and advises on how economic, technological, geographic or political shifts impact their program and how this might affect broader business priorities.

“With a rapidly changing world, Sterling Lexicon adapts themselves to any new environment with ease and streamlines relocation every step of the way. Not only do they have the experienced crew and great relationships with partners, but they also care about our goals.”

- Barbara Maistrello, Human Resources Director, Ferrero China

Business Impact

  1. Sterling Lexicon fully integrated into the Ferrero culture, acting as an extension of their team and understanding their need for local expertise, dramatically improved the destination experience for relocating employees.

  2. Made international relocation to the Asia Pacific an attractive opportunity for Ferrero employees.

  3. Eliminated the burden on human resources by only having to work with one global vendor, allowing them to focus on the opening of the first Ferrero Asian Innovation Centre in Singapore

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