Name: Curt Smith
Position: Group Vice President
Company: Crown World Mobility
Crown Worldwide Group, Group Vice President (United States): 2017 – Present
Cartus, Vice President, Client Services (United States): 2011 – 2017
Cartus, Director, Global Account Management (United States): 1996 – 2011
A: I fell into the industry to be fair. After graduating from university, the job market was awful so I got a job in retail management. One of my fraternity brothers came into my store one day and told me about a global mobility company he worked for, mentioning they were looking for consultants. After asking him “what’s global mobility?” I submitted my CV and the rest is history.
A: It’s hard to pick just one, but I’m really proud of Crown World Mobility’s new brand and website. This was a team effort and one of the priorities I set for my team within the first month or so of joining. I feel the new brand better reflects who we are as a company and our strategic ambitions, while our new website delivers an improved client experience and better showcases our credentials.
A: This is an industry I never knew existed before I was ‘recruited’ in and it’s given me an opportunity to work with so many other cultures, visit many countries and meet with great people from all over the world. Very few of my friends have had the same opportunities to see the world that I have. Working in global mobility is rewarding and challenging at the same time. We problem solve and truly make a difference for the employees we move and the companies we partner with – each day comes with challenges to solve! No day is ever the same. So, my short answer would be; “absolutely, do it!”
A: There has been so much change over the recent years. One of the biggest changes has been moving from what has historically been a very high-touch industry to lower touch with greater reliance on technology. Our industry was very ‘old school’, but global mobility is shifting from tactical to strategic; finding creative ways to mobilise employees. The days of the lucrative assignment packages for employees are long gone!
A: So many things are changing in our industry and the world in general. I would say compliance, data security, technology and employee engagement are at the top of the list.
A: Mobility is not a standalone endeavour anymore. It’s almost always linked to the business or talent management. As I said earlier, our industry is becoming more strategic and global mobility must be included in any organization’s people strategy. The most successful mobility programs have a ‘seat at the table’. Without it, they are looked at as a tactical or transactional function. Global mobility is an integral part of any organization’s people and growth strategy, but is often forgotten. If you are not included at the proverbial table, ask for it!
A: At Crown we started this discussion over four years ago and we see it coming up more and more in the industry and with a few of our clients – increasing the number of female assignees or ensuring the right support is provided to LGBT families. Traditional policies were written with an assumption the assignee is male and the accompanying spouse doesn’t have a career. Today families come in all shapes and sizes and employee populations are extremely diverse. Many forward-thinking companies that we work with at Crown have already aligned their mobility program to their diversity and inclusion strategy. Diversity in mobility is definitely an emerging topic in our industry.
A: A few things come to mind; flexibility with a framework is key, for both the business and the employee. Decisions shouldn’t be made on cost alone and many times the business pulls benefits from a policy not understanding the impact it may have on the overall success of the relocation or assignment. Cultural training and partner support are vitally important to assignment success, but many times removed from the package. Having flexible packages with ‘guardrails’ is important. It allows the business to achieve their objectives, protects those critical policy elements and allows the program to be agile – not having to reinvent the wheel every time.
A: Technology is changing so fast and as I said, our industry has traditionally been a people driven, high-touch industry. I feel like the pendulum was swinging too far to ‘all technology, no people needed’, but we need to find the right balance. There are customers who want pure self-service, “just give me the tools and I can do the rest” and others want some level of hand holding.
How we use technology in our personal lives impacts how we want to consume information at work, with companies, and even retail stores we interact with. Speed of information – the continued evolution of AI and chatbots.