Name: Mike Ferguson
Job: Director, Client Services
Work & Travel Company, Program Manager: 2002-2005
Tucan Travel, Sales & Marketing Executive: 2005-2007
BGRS, Consultant: 2007-2009
BGRS, Team Leader: 2009-2010
BGRS, Regional Account Manager: 2010-2013
BGRS, Director (Australia Operations): 2013-2015
BGRS, Director (Client Services): 2015-2017
I fell into mobility by accident really. I had a friend who was working in the Supply Chain team for BGRS (then known as GMAC GRS) in London, and he kept saying he thought I would be a good fit for a consultant role. He then arranged an interview for me and the rest is history.
It certainly has given me a lot more empathy towards what employees (and their families) are going through. I also feel that my first-hand experiences relocating (I have relocated six times internationally) helps clients to trust my judgement and advice.
I don’t know if there is such a thing a business as usual in the mobility industry! No two days are the same, and that is one of the things that appeals to me the most about working in global mobility.
However at BGRS, business as usual is very much to partner with our clients to craft and implement talent mobility strategies that empower them to attract, retain and develop top performers.
Everything we do is based on our core set of values:
At this stage, the APAC region is my focus, but it is unlikely to be my last destination. However, I have previously spent a number of years in Europe and do see it as the biggest growth region for the global mobility industry.
Working in global mobility is extremely rewarding and will provide you with numerous opportunities to grow your career. However, you need to be aware that this isn’t a normal 9am-5pm job, so flexibility and a can-do approach is a must.
To be successful in global mobility, I suggest that someone really tries to immerse themselves in the industry and try to learn as much as possible. The rules and regulations are always changing (as is the industry in general), so it is important to keep up to date.
Finally, the industry is very small so try not to burn any bridges along the way!
When I first started in the industry the focus was very much on providing top level customer service i.e. if the assignee was happy then the company’s global mobility team was happy. Now there is so much more focus on cost reduction (and avoidance), as well as providing a more strategic and consultative approach. I think this is applicable to both internal mobility teams, as well as RMC’s.
Technology is also playing such an important part in mobility now and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
Compliance! It’s such a tricky subject, and so many companies are not where they need to in order to be fully compliant.
It is making it easier for RMC’s to capture data and provide the analytical reporting that their clients require - especially when it comes to cost savings initiatives. It is also allowing RMC’s to come out with new tools/service offerings to meet the changing requirements of their clients i.e. technology designed to support lump sum moves for example.
I think it will help global mobility service providers. Companies will find it easier to have a global mobility service provider handle this on their behalf, rather than have to commit resources and investment to keep their internal systems and process up to date.
BGRS’s ReloAccess Tool of course!
Diversity is a critical component of innovation that leaders should be driving in their organisation, and it should be seen a competitive advantage for them.
We are in the business of serving clients, so innovation means solutions that we bring to our clients. If we have people who come from all different walks of life, then the solutions that we bring, the way we interact, and the relationships we build with our clients are going to make us stand out from our competitors.
I think companies need to create more formal links between global mobility and their talent management i.e. forming stronger partnerships across business areas, geographies, or the larger company initiatives.
I think more flexibility in repatriation strategies would also be helpful.
The ongoing need for big data, the ability to show cost savings, and also the requirement to track compliance, means that technology will continue to be a big focus in the changing face of the mobility industry.
We are also seeing technology been used more and more to help improve the overall move process for the relocating employees as well i.e. virtual survey technology used in the HHG industry and virtual home finding offerings being provided by the DSP to replace the traditional pre-assignment visit, are just two examples.
I think the industry as we know it will change greatly in the coming years, and what those changes actually look like is a little bit unknown at this stage.
This makes the future of global mobility very exciting as so many new opportunities are going to come about for the industry.