Tag Archive for: mobility

Significant segments of this article were originally published by Executive Expatriate Relocations Middle East (EERME).

As the world collectively attempts to combat the impact of the recent global pandemic, much of the focus is on rebuilding and strengthening economies. Governments and organisations continue to determine which avenues and actions will be most beneficial, both in the short term and the long term. One undeniable source of economic growth is geographical expansion, particularly into areas that will be a catalyst for new consumers and new revenue streams; this is where emerging markets come in. For many companies emerging markets offer a unique opportunity for development, but any potential prosperity is highly dependent on a successful relocation strategy, which can be more challenging than expected.

Our MD, Rene Stegmann, recently joined EER’s Marie O’Neill, Elite Woodhams Relocation’s Anna Kavelj, and A.P. Moller-Maersk’s Tamlyn Kuhn in a EuRA webinar about Considerations When Relocating to Emerging Markets. Together, they examined the crucial considerations required to take advantage of this lucrative arena.

The Importance of Emerging Markets

Coined by the World Bank in 1981, this phrase is intended to apply to any country or economy that has “some characteristics of a developed market, but does not fully meet its standards”.  Unsurprisingly many countries have found themselves shifting in and out of the moniker as their status adapts or circumstances change. Essentially though, markets that fall within and around the definition of ‘emerging’ continue to be of great interest when it comes to international expansion. Emerging markets offer enormous potential for diversification and growth. They often feature an ambitious population, fresh, creative talent, amenable governments and, of course, new demographics of consumers.  In the past engagement with emerging markets has helped propel the fortunes of organisations and the economies of their home nations exponentially and in turn transformed the landscape of the engaged market. In order to fully integrate with an emerging market, a company needs to facilitate a smooth relocation process and that is only possible if proper adherence is given to the challenges and obstacles that might be faced and expert help sought on how to avoid or overcome them.

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

Just so you know we really mean it.  Preparation is absolutely critical when it comes to emerging market relocation. Ensuring that you can do this successful is entirely related to your local connections. Without the proper research and knowledge, it becomes almost impossible to navigate the nuances of new destinations and avoid costly mistakes. Those considering relocation must ensure they have trusted in-country partners with expert local knowledge and an unimpeachable sense of how things work on the ground. By investing in forging those connections it is then possible to determine key aspects that will be required from your employees, your administration and your budget. Regional insights are always invaluable when it comes to relocation and that expertise can ensure a smoother process that means assignees can focus on their role and get stuck in from day one. Local partners can advise on elements such as:

  • Relevant requirements and laws to abide by, including taxes
  • Time lines and compliance for immigration and visa services
  • Potential customer bases and audience demographics
  • Best-suited locations for commercial and residential properties
  • Cultural customs and unique attributes
  • Employee relocation considerations from housing to schools, bank accounts to utilities

A Collaborative Approach

When any company is looking at emerging market relocation, the chance of success can be significantly increased if they adopt a collaborative approach across the whole organisation.  Every department needs to be comprehensively briefed so that objectives are understood and actions taken that facilitate their achievement efficiently. Procurement, HR, Senior Leadership and others need to make sure they are on the same page.  By implementing a robust talent management approach they can ensure they have the right people helping them on the ground, the right people coordinating the company’s new strategy and the right people to cope with the stresses of relocating their life.

Communication is King

As with many areas of business, communication is incredibly important. Any company looking to relocate to an emerging market needs to make sure it can effectively communicate with:

  • Local partners on what their objectives are and important cultural understandings
  • Relevant authorities on what rules and regulations will be
  • Internally with teams managing relocation and assignees being relocated
  • New audiences within the market on raising brand awareness and generating interest

Prioritizing communication and ensuring it remains consistent throughout the whole process can be a huge factor in avoiding potential pitfalls such as complex business requirements and ‘lost in translation’ mistakes.  It will also help to manage expectations. Expert DSPs will be able to communicate key information and potentially surprising aspects. They can relay that things may well work differently than expected such as overall concepts of time, common cultural attitudes, political upheaval, technology holes and problematic infrastructure.  They can also coordinate cultural training that can provide invaluable knowledge for the company and the assignee to understand their new environment and hit the ground running.

Ultimately emerging market relocation isn’t right for every company.  They need to weight the risk and reward elements of any expansion decision to prevent costly issues. Companies need to research the proposed location, connect with local experts, foster effective communication and choose the right assignee to undertake the challenge. If they can successfully do those things then they are left with nothing but potential and opportunity.

To watch the recorded webinar, click here, or watch it in the media player below.

To discuss relocating to emerging markets in more detail with us, and to find out how we might assist you with relocation services across Africa, feel free to contact us via the details below, or visit our website by clicking here.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Comparing to Europe, North America and Oceania, many things are different in Africa. So is Global Mobility. Changing that perspective is what this article is all about.

The ability of sending talent around the world for business-critical purposes, is essential for any international business no matter there the headquarter is located. The key to success is neither a generous salary package nor the destination itself. Success with Global Mobility is closely tied together with structure, predictive-ness, collaboration between stakeholders and access to the right support & information when the assignees (and partners) need it.

For many companies in Africa, Global Mobility is a fairly new discipline, but following our 5-step guide below will bring you significantly closer to your goal and we guarantee it will raise the employee satisfaction tremendously!

1. Recognise the need

Everything starts with understanding your company needs. Spend a little time on considering where you are now and what has been done so far. Allow yourself as a company to admit mistakes and listen to your employees as well as your supporting staff to pick up their experiences with the process (or lack of process) and which challenges they have met trying to support international assignments whether long or short term. Where are your delays? How is your money spent? What’s the quality of the services you buy? What is your compliance level? Can you stand an external audit for an ISO certification? We are here to listen, take notes and help you getting an overview of where you are on the Global Mobility Maturity Barometer right now.

2. Understand the game

Global Mobility is not a singular service. It is a myriad of disciplines ranging from compliance topics such as immigration, employment law, tax and insurance to strategic support such a relocation, in-country destination services and trainings within culture, language & security to minimize the time to productivity and maximize the employee experience. Once you know where you stand right now, it is time to fill the gaps of knowledge and understand the game of Global Mobility.

We will provide you with an overview of Global Mobility topics to take into consideration and at the same time train and guide you through the individual topics, so you know what it is all about and can start navigating in the Global Mobility industry.

3. Build your vision

What you want to achieve should always be closely connected to you overall business strategy. Global Mobility should never have it’s own strategy. It depends on how you want to grow the business; which markets your company wants to succeed in; where you have a lack of talent/management/technical skills now and in the future; where you strategically want to be present and not the least: where your talent is available. Once your company vision is clear and you know what Global Mobility is all about, you can start building your Global Mobility strategy.

We only have one promise: we will challenge you in this process! Together we will explore how you can move from no-practice to best-practice and find the blind spots (we all have them) in your company.

Design your framework

When you have your vision in place, it is time to make processes tangible and design your policy hand in hand with your delivery process. This is where you tie it all together. You make a plan. You decide, what you want to do, how much you want to pay and who you want to do it for you.

Having a framework is guarantee for no-trouble down the road, but it covers your back and enables you to focus on the singular problem when they occur, because you’ve got the rest organized and people around you know what to do and what they are expected to deliver.

At this stage, we work as Siamese twins with you. We draft your policies and processes based on your current level og maturity and your vision for the future. We make a plan for you to achieve your goals and we stand by your side providing advice and guidance when selecting your future suppliers worldwide.

4. Taking it forward

Nothing is perfect and Global Mobility is a moving target, where you constantly need to fine tune and keep yourself updated on news. Our best advice is to join on-line groups, participate in webinars and seminars and stay close to your provider. Ask questions, read newsletters and request annual reviews of the collaboration with all your suppliers, partners and – not the least – assignees and their accompanying partners.


How do we support? Relocation Africa is offering Global Mobility Advisory services in order to provide you with efficient support to work through the above 5 steps within a 3-6 months timeframe. Engaging with us, you will have a combined Global Mobility expertise, coaching, mentor and sparring partner in the project and once you are ready to take it forward, we will step out of the process and just be on stand-by if you need us.  Contact us on info@relocationafrica.com.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], Martin23230 [2].

Navigating with the ideological crystal ball (a superpower I wish I held in the C19 World) and looking at the World ahead what permanent changes do we see in delivering DSP services in Africa.

We all carry scars of this new COVID world, and it has heightened our awareness of our environment. In South Africa we had a complete lock-down, no exercise, no alcohol, no cigarettes, no movies, no sporting events, and no driving to work for a period of 5 weeks. When they relaxed the rules and we were allowed to go to the shops, I experienced anxiety around “when did I have to put my mask on” “what was it protecting me from”, and it took me a little time to feel comfortable, I ran out the door for exercise with this strange mask on my face and when it dropped people shouted at me saying put your mask back on.

We then slowly returned to the office and there was new protocol at the office – someone coughed – how do I react?, at shopping facilities with others, I wondered if they were standing too close to me, and pre-COVID these did not take up any of my thought processes.

I tell you this because I felt anxious about walking around my own neighbourhood, so it occurred to us that assignees moving to different countries are going to be experiencing this much more acutely. We are needing to ensure we manage, protect and comfort the assignee to feel safe with everything we do. I remember Bill Graebel saying at an Alliance meeting in 2019 “treat the assignee like your Grandma” – now I feel like this phrase means something completely different – not only are the assignees fragile and need more comfort they are also now more at risk. The simple things we do – we will now do differently.

COVID 19 has projected the world into a world of VUCA which is Africa normal a world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. This has given the world a common purpose and common understanding which will have a profound need to fundamentally change the way we treat the environment, human society, and the mindful way we look at the economics of the world.

These all relate to personal situations.

On the other extreme, government regulations are impacting our industry. For example: Due to unemployment in the US President Trump has signed an executive order to block various visa categories to ensure their local employment is safe guarded. Other nations like in the EU have restricted some countries from travel to protect the spread of the virus. These are trends of protectionism. These are two independent examples of how our industry is materially impacted.

Time is not always linear in the same way email leapfrogged us forward from faxes, COVID will leapfrog us to a place we don’t even understand yet.

The additional regulatory and legislative landscape are going to require forethought, planning and collaboration. We are going to have to review and align what can be provided vs what cannot be provided. What does this mean for all of us – We are going to need to be thinking proactively and almost consider the What if scenarios and be steering clearly away from What is in this for me! Perhaps starting a move away from extreme capitalism to a more inclusive and thoughtful way of working. May not sound realistic yet but my crystal ball buzzes at the sound of sustainable options into the future!

We perceive our clients are going to become more cost conscious, therefore this may have an impact on what they are willing to pay for certain services. We will be required to develop new ways of delivering the services (R&D) as well as adhere to additional precautionary measures and regulations which will make services we deliver more expensive. This is going to push the entire supply chain to find solutions ensuring we integrate the high personal touch with technology to achieve a potential lower cost solution.

In some of our African markets it is challenging and risky to offer some lower cost solutions like Self Service type delivery, we are going to have to look for solutions that meet compliance, duty of care and considerations to create efficiencies. But not all is lost – if we look as a DSP at providing a virtual orientation video/tour while the assignee is in their home country – the client would be saving costs on flights, visa’s, accommodation costs and most important time! There certainly will be an upside if we combine the use of technology for certain services but not compromise on the suppliers like your DSP’s who you entrust your assignees care.

In Africa due to property ownership being poorly regulated offering the obvious solution such as the DIY or Self Service would expose the assignee to various risks and neglect of duty of care. In countries like Angola one may be required to pay rentals of up to a year upfront. As this is a poorly regulated property ownership environment, assignees may be using a broker who has no jurisdiction over the property that he has been paid for. These mistakes can be to the tune of $60 000. In order to achieve the balance of cost savings vs self-service in Africa these DIY programs are more complex than may be perceived. Our focus is to ensure we are addressing the clients heightened senses of the impact of VUCA to ensure a sense of comfort and certainty while on assignment.

We know that technology alone will not fulfil the revolutionary push to completely digitise the mobility industry as there are people involved, and we all know moving people is more complicated than moving boxes. Therefore, we are going to need to enhance processes and reduce admin time through technology and digitisation but ensure that we are conscious of the “Happiness” and “Humanness” of the assignee at all times.

We predict that with digital offerings, companies are going to need to offer additional support to the assignee through methods which will support their need to be comfortable and certain of their process so a need to have a consultant and/or a call centre available 24/7 and possibly build video support (5G is coming) to ensure each stage of their relocation is supported and a resource available that can be referred to, to give them the required comfort and certainty.

There are also many safety issues, as Africa being a predominantly developing region, there are more desperate people. We are needing to ensure our communication around security gives assignees comfort and security to move to Africa confidently. Of course, due to this pandemic, their health security will be top of mind for most assignees and it is our responsibility to ensure they are informed that there are indeed high levels of medical resources in many African Countries but we do need to ensure that their evacuation solution is appropriate.

In conclusion, no-one knows what the future holds, but we do know Africa, and we have nearly 30 years’ experience dealing with assignees moving into Africa, and the challenges that COVID has thrown up have forced us to evolve rapidly. We are pivoting our solution with new innovations like our virtual orientation tour, which we were already working on prior to COVID due to the Amazon request for the integrated program in 2018/19 which had seedlings of what is to be our virtual orientation programs. We are confident that with heightened levels of communication we will be able to ensure as smooth a transition for all assignees into Africa.

In our business we are generating a Virtual Orientation Tour which will be presented to clients in a video format which will give them from their home country or from their Quarantined Accommodation a view of the city they are relocating too, it will cover all aspects of a traditional Orientation ensuring it encapsulates the full experience. This will potentially assist clients who are considering talent to be relocated to either convince them to consider the assignment without a physical orientation tour. Look out for the launch in August 2020.

The impact on the customer experience would be to reduce duplicity through efficient digital integration and enhance experiences such as orientation tours virtually, however relocating an assignee to a new host location with a virtual orientation tour, virtual property tours and possible sight unseen scenarios of properties which will lead assignees to potentially be feeling even less comfortable and requiring more human interactions with the local ground team. We need to ensure we are providing Certainty in the new style of delivery and not only concerned about the costs, the assignee’s well-being should be at the forefront of any company’s mind.

With all the unknowns we are going to have to remain flexible and agile to ensure that we adapt to each unique circumstance as we have learned in the past month’s things change rapidly. Communication will be key; we need long sensitive feelers and hyper responsive capabilities at all levels of the organisation and process to ensure we act quickly and appropriately for some of these eventualities. Don’t let fear get the better of us. Learn as we go. And we need to be doing this together and collaboratively with all stakeholders.

Rene Stegmann’s bio

I am Rene Stegmann, I live just below Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.  I am the owner of The Relocation Africa Group covering Immigration, Destination Services, International Payroll and Expense Management as well as Research on Housing and Cost of living Surveys across the continent of Africa of which there are 54 countries. We have been in business for 28 years and continue to expand and diversify on the continent of Africa with our main purpose being to Help our clients Embrace the Unknown

I hold a Masters in Strategic Marketing and did my thesis on Expatriate Hurdles in Africa, I have recently completed a Cambridge Program in Sustainable Development in the Post Capitalist World, as I hold some of these strategic thrusts close to my heart and value and hope the world can achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals for our plant and our children’s sake. I am married to Andrew and have two children aged 18 and 15 and 2 fur Boxers.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2], [3].

This article was first published by Vivian Chiona of Expat Nest.

Emigrating can be stressful. Sometimes a bit of silence can be key in sustaining our sanity throughout the process.

Silence. It’s something so natural and known to us, yet also something so rare that we don’t have enough of it. The importance of silence is increasing as our environments become more filled with noise and distraction. Counsellor and health psychologist Kristýna Maulenová digs deeper.

Do we need silence?

Our ancestors had to be quiet in order to survive, to find food. They kept their ears open for risks and opportunities. This is still true today: if we don’t listen out, we miss both dangers we should avoid and opportunities we’d like to pursue.

But… car horns, aeroplanes, televisions, phones ringing, clocks ticking, smartphone notifications, police and ambulance sirens, YouTube videos, dogs barking, people talking, loud music, advertisements… our daily lives are filled with noise. 

Being exposed to noise has been associated with a number of adverse medical and psychological effects. These include hypertension (high blood pressure) and cardiovascular disease, deafness or impaired hearing, impaired sleep rhythm and sleepiness during daytime, decreased hospital personnel performance and worsened patients’ outcomes, decreased well-being, increased and chronic stress, annoyance, as well as heightened aggression and violence and lowered willingness to help others.

Noise can be harmful for children too. Exposed to too much noise, they show delayed development in mental abilities such as working memory and attention. Their reading ability may also delayed and below average.

In fact, the World Health Organisation recognizes excessive noise (noise pollution) as a serious threat to the functioning, health and wellbeing of humans.

Is it just about the noise, or something deeper? 

Silence is not only the absence of artificial sounds (electronic and transportation noises, for example) but an absence of distractions that prevent the mind from being calm. In other words, silence can also be about choosing to put our phones, books and other activities awayWe can choose stillness. Now, that might feel unnecessary and pointless: there is so much to know, to learn, to listen to, to watch, to hear, to read… 

But even if you don’t notice it much, ongoing stimuli from inside or outside exhausts your attention, your working memory, your mind. Think about it: when was the last time you did ‘nothing’? I don’t mean procrastinating, or doing something you don’t like much (say, attending a boring meeting or being stuck in a traffic jam), but just standing, sitting or lying down and deliberately not doing anything – nothing but listening to the sounds around you, your mental chatter, and breathing in and out; in and out…

Bring more silence into your life

  • First, start noticing what your body and mind are telling you when you are surrounded by noise, and, in contrast, by silence.
  • Physically protect yourself from noise pollution, either by avoiding loud places, or by using sound-blocking tools such as ear plugs.
  • Put distractions away for longer periods of time. If you are new to practicing silence, five minutes daily is enough. 
  • Go into nature! Being in a forest, for example, can have many benefits.

Bear in mind, though, that encountering silence isn’t easy. As with anything new, replacing noise with silence might initially bring up some intense feelings. But it’s also the only way we can listen to what truly matters to us. Sit with it… let it settle… trust the silence.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].