Apps and Technology Platform-Based Tools to Give Employees the Information They Need for Relocation
By Paula Kupka
It is often said that employee relocation can be some of the most stressful experiences in one’s life. However, that doesn’t deter us from the experience, nor should it. The fact is that living and working in new locations offers many opportunities for growth, and the pros certainly outweigh the cons. As with everything we do nowadays, the world utilizes the internet for the abundance of readily available information, and mobile devices have further enabled users to retrieve on-the-spot information via the multitude of apps that are offered. It is estimated that there are over 1.6 million Android apps and 1.5 million Apple apps, as reported by Statista.com
Many people around the world will use the internet to self-diagnose our illnesses before heading to a doctor, which isn’t always a good thing to do. The same holds true in relocation or mobility. Many folks are anxious to find out all there is to know about the host location. However, they often don’t get the full picture, just as those trying to self-diagnose don’t.
Most of us have several applications on our phone that help us keep up with news, friends and recent trends in the market. Although we may have several apps on our smartphones, users usually spend most of their time visiting two or three sites. I tend to spend most of my time on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I suspect most people are doing likewise. When reflecting on the reason why I use those social media sites, I came to the realization that it’s an easy way for me to stay current with what’s happening in the workplace, and with family and friends. With respect to our mobile app strategy, we need to think about an approach that will increase utilization for our relocating employees — something that would enable the user to easily find the right information at the right time.
A mobility app needs to go beyond meeting the basic needs, such as capturing expense reports for the relocating employee. The app has to also provide valuable information that will facilitate the employee’s transition to the new location. And on the other hand, we need to consider how the applications can facilitate HR’s day-to-day management of their mobility program. The app should allow HR to stay abreast of the critical elements of the relocation process, including all costs associated with the move.
We need to consider the on-demand economy and the changing trends in flexible policy that allow the relocating employee the opportunity to select the best way to spend their money. The on-demand relocation is here now, and it requires the mobile tools to meet the market demands.
With so much information available, I wonder if we are going to reach a point of being over-informed. Although an abundance of information is a wonderful thing, that doesn’t take away the need for human interaction. Until we have mainstream cognitive thinking computers, like IBM’s Watson, technology can only take us so far. We need human interaction or at least a simulation of human interaction in mobility.
Paula Kupka is the vice president of Global Business at Crown World Mobility—the world-renowned provider of domestic and international end-to-end workforce mobility solutions and talent management strategies.