Regional conferences and events are incredibly valuable learning, development, and networking tools for our mobility leaders. The needs and nuances of regional markets can differ substantially, and these events create a platform for open dialogue on the unique trends driving recruitment, retention, and mobility specific to each area.
They create a platform for key players from the corporate and provider sides to come together and share what’s working, what’s not, and how to prepare for future challenges in the world of work. Our teams often come away from these events inspired, with their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in their local market and an understanding of how that plays into their clients’ programs and policies.
The Bay Area market is unique; a thriving and ever-evolving tech hub, it’s ripe with a diverse mix of established and emerging mobility programs and players. Last month, several Weichert colleagues attended the Bay Area Mobility Management (BAMM) spring meeting in Silicon Valley Capital Club in San Jose, CA. With a mission to educate, elevate, and connect professionals in the Bay Area mobility community, BAMM events are always hotly anticipated and well-frequented! Weichert’s Leslie Holmes, Slaven Crnecki, and Carly Fliegler came back from this session with plenty to share about the key themes explored over the event’s interactive sessions and roundtables:
Here is their inside insight on the local Bay Area mobility scene and what regional trends can expect to see going forward:
With new remote work policies in place, attendees reported ongoing struggles with managing compliance. Business partners are not following policy, allowing managers to make their own decisions without Global Mobility’s involvement. Along with this is an uptick in the number of “super commuters.” With many companies requiring Return to Office (RTO) guidelines, many employees live far from the office and don’t want to relocate closer to the office location. As an example, they drive in on a Tuesday, stay in a hotel Tuesday and Wednesday night, and drive back home after work on Thursday. The costs are the employee’s responsibility and not supported by the company. It’s a hot trend on the rise, particularly in this market.
With such a sizable remote population, companies are getting creative about how they can support and engage these employees from afar. A corporate contact from a leading social media platform shared how her company has a program that supplies funds to an account for each team member. Funds can be used for remote activities/events or can be used to travel in person to a location such as NY to meet up with team members. Another client schedules meet-ups in San Jose, and sends their remote workers a basket of goods, as long as they sign up online for the event. For example, if they host a “gingerbread house decorating” team event, remote workers receive the package of goods to make it, and then they do an online “show and tell.” While it’s impossible to replicate the experience for remote workers, companies are making an effort to involve and engage them in some way, and in general, the response has been positive.
Many participants did, however, argue that virtual onboarding is less effective than an in-person experience, particularly when introducing new hires to the company culture. Where possible, companies push for in-person onboarding elements, including live training, assigning them a “buddy” to help them feel welcomed, and arranging team events where they can meet the group in an informal setting. Beyond that first meeting, not all events have to be in person. For example, organize a bowling night where everyone goes bowling in their own location on the same night. The bottom line is, it’s time to get creative with engaging our remote and hybrid teams.
Now, more than ever, RMCs and clients are working together in a consultative manner on updating their policies post-pandemic. This involves integrating more flexibility into their policies to help more easily accommodate a diverse workforce with widely varying needs. Core/flex mobility models continue to be discussed as an ideal flexible framework, supporting costs and the employee experience.
There was also a big focus on data analytics and how we can (and should) be leveraging this to our best ability, particularly as the business value proposition of global mobility evolves. One attendee from a leading tech company shared that they depend on constant, quick, and accurate data from their RMC to ensure cost control and oversight. But it’s not just about the numbers. Clients need to know the story behind the data – including historical data – and what changes should be made to steer the story in a different direction. Tech platforms that go beyond reporting to give a complete story, will reign supreme in this climate. And this is definitely what we’re hearing from our clients using Weichert Go. The data means so much more when it’s presented in a strategic manner that addresses their business objectives and needs; then it’s a complete picture rather than just a piece of the puzzle.