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Utilizing Online Training in the World of Relocation

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Danny Herskowitz leads Elliott Scott Mobility in New York, an arm of Elliott Scott HR that focuses on the recruitment of global mobility and relocation professionals. He recently sat down with Dr. Justin Velten, Co-Founder of Go Culture, who provide a scalable solution for relocation aptitude assessment and coaching. They discussed how this can benefit organizations and individuals in the relocation industry and the potential of online training during the current global climate. 

 

What led you to found Go Culture? 

Co-Founders Dr. Carley H. Dodd and I were professors and scholars of intercultural communication for a combined 61 years. After seeing the growing attrition rate of expats across multiple disciplines (business, humanitarian, military, education, etc.), our hearts went out for these individuals and families. So we set out to create a method to accurately predict relocation aptitude strengths and areas of growth, and over the course of 20+ years, with service to thousands of clients representing work in over 40 countries, we have developed the leading cross-cultural success tool to date. With a reliability of 93% (.93 Cronbach’s Alpha) where the industry standard is only 43%, we can now help organizations select and prepare individuals for their best relocation experience.  

 

What assessments and training do you offer to companies in the relocation industry? 

We provide assessment and training across a variety of industries, but for relocation folks, we focus on the top 15 factors born out of the past 60 years of research in intercultural competency, marriage and family therapy, psychology, etc. These 15 data points provide the most robust pool of factors and corresponding training to date. 

 

How does this benefit organizations? 

With the data we provide organizations and individuals, coupled with the online training provided via the Go Culture app, they can improve relocation ROI. Instead of throwing money at the revolving door of relocation failure, organizations can now send individuals with confidence, increasing the likelihood that they will complete the task and thrive in the host culture (foreign or domestic). 

 

How does it benefit/ impact the Mobility community? 

RMCs want to provide their clients (organizations) with the best possible service at the best possible price. In the past, in order to receive culture training, a culture coach would be scheduled for a one or two day seminar. This training would be cost inhibitive, time intrusive, and though culture-specific training is important, it has not proven to move the needle on relocation attrition or failure rates. 

That is why after testing our program for 20 years, we developed an online version that is bringing cutting-edge research, testing, reporting, training, and delivery to this industry. Instead of paying an expensive consultant to steal employee time by providing a blanket culture-info session that can be readily found on a google search, we are providing an extremely cost effective approach to scale these services to people all over the world at the same time.

 

Can you provide us with any case studies or testimonials from those within the industry that have worked with Go Culture? 

There’s a really interesting case I can share that shows the versatility of Go Culture’s impact. We were called in to serve a multinational organization with headquarters in Germany and two acquired facilities in the U.S. (New Hampshire and Texas). Well, those two domestic locations within the U.S. got along really well with Germany, but struggled with cross-cultural interaction across domestic cultural borders - the invisible borders. We were able to help this organization through purposeful, needs-based coaching, enhancing the universal sense of unity that led to increased communication and productivity.

 

What current trends are you seeing in the Global Mobility space? 

The relocation industry is certainly changing. And one of the most dominant changes is that there are fewer cases of the late-career executive completing a long-term relocation as a last leg up the corporate ladder. Instead, we are seeing more early-career professional desiring or expecting rotational relocation experiences. They want a year here and a year there, and so on. So we should no longer be investing heavily in one person in a one-off experience. We need to develop ways to reach a larger workforce pool with scalable training. We need to create a bunch of “James Bond”-type characters, who can be dropped from a helicopter anywhere in the world for a period of time and simply thrive. That is what we are doing at Go Culture . . . minus the helicopter and tuxedo!

 

Do you have any career advice for Global Mobility professionals? 

Embrace new approaches. I worked in higher education for 14 years as a professor so I completely understand external forces to maintain the status quo. That is probably why I didn’t last but 14 years. We have to begin thinking about how our employees want and expect their relocation experience to function and create or find vendors who provide those high-level solutions. 

 

What areas of the Global Mobility function do you think could be improved?

We are in a mobile-heavy revolution. There was a time when if you weren’t listed in the phone book, you didn’t exist. Then came the period when if you didn’t have a website, you didn’t exist. We are now in a period when if you don’t have a mobile offering, you won’t exist much longer. That is because end-users require a personal touch without the personal interaction. That is why mobile-friendly, on-the-go training is becoming so important. That is what we do at Go Culture. 

 

How is Go Culture adapting to COVID-19?

What we are finding is that we are uniquely positioned to serve clients during this season given that we are an online company. More and more individuals in relocation are demanding a personal touch without personal interaction. As you are aware, at a time like this, HR professionals are especially challenged to provide high-touch services and training to employees. But the need still exists. Therefore, we are able to come alongside Relocation Management Companies (RMCs) to provide customized services to aide in the relocation success process, both domestic and international. 

 

No one knows when this season will pass. There are conflicting views on this topic. But what we do know is that it will pass, and when it does, it is the companies that took this time to equip employees and set up forward-thinking protocols that will come out as winners. It is sad to see so many organizations struggling during this period. We know that behind each company there are many individuals and families hurting, so if there is a way we can help these organizations alleviate costs by providing online services (rather than face to face), all while pandemic-proofing their employee-services models for the future, we are all in, all hands on deck. 

 

 

It was great to speak with Justin and get an insight into Go Culture. It was very interesting to hear how their training is dealing with the cross-cultural and diversity obstacles that we face and more importantly understand the positive impact they are having on people’s lives.

 

To get in touch with Dr. Justin Velten to learn more about Go Culture you can reach him at justin@goculture.org and to get in touch with myself Danny Herskowitz, you can reach me on dbh@elliottscotthr.com to discuss the market or to assist with your search within the Global Mobility industry. 

 


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