Name: Ruth Lockwood
Job: Business Development Director Africa Relocation Services
Company: Santa Fe Relocation
Vodacom, Head of Operations (South Africa): 1994 – 1998
Asian Relocation Management, Country Manager (Philippines): 1998 – 2004
Santa Fe Relocation, Director Relocation Services Africa (Hong Kong /Asia): 2004 – Present
Santa Fe Relocation Services, Group Director (South Africa): 2004 – Present
Q: Why global mobility, and how did you get started in the industry?
A: I was offered the opportunity to run a small boutique relocation company in the Philippines, which led to me being recruited to join the Santa Fe family. Having lived all over the world, it was an amazing fit. I love living and sharing my experiences with the amazing global mobility professionals all over the world.
Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to build a career in global mobility?
A: Without doubt you have to have a passion for people and be able to listen. My advice would be to gain a basic understanding of Tax, to ensure you can put yourself in the customers’ shoes. Another piece of advice would be, to be more active in social media and other online platforms and writing articles for great online magazines like this one. Share interesting articles on LinkedIn to grow your profile, and finally, always think of solutions.
Q: How do you think the global mobility industry has changed over the years?
A: Organisational focus on talent acquisition and retention, and leveraging social media and technology to enhance effectiveness the customer experience.
The shift from head office postings, to a mix of home and host locations as talents emerge from all points of the globe has probably been the single biggest shift in my time. This has created an exponential increase in complexity as many more home / host combinations exist, creating new challenges.
Q: What aspect of global mobility is likely to keep you up at night?
A: Compliance and risk in the face of vast armies of international business travellers, assuming they are fire-walled from immigration, fiscal and employment issues.
Q: What do you think is the primary thing hindering the global mobility industry's progress?
A: Lack of visibility with leadership, caused by structural organisation design, lack of strategic engagement, and inability to deliver data analytics. In essence, the ability to tell stories with supporting data that makes Leadership want to engage and, of course, budgets, or lack of!
Q: How can global mobility practices get better in the next 5 years?
A: Increasing the use of technology/AI and big data, to proactively anticipate problems before they happen.
Q: What more can be done to improve current global mobility practices to benefit talents on the move?
A: Enhance customer experience by ensuring the right resources engage and deliver support at the right time. Relying on local HR to go out looking for housing, as an example, is yesterdays practice – partnering and engaging with the right specialists allows all stakeholders to deliver value in the whole supply chain.
More connectivity with the Talents on-assignment to manage their career plans. Companies still lose too much talent on repatriation and don’t take the on-assignment learning into future roles when the person comes back home.