Most global mobility programs are always on the lookout for interesting and applicable best practices and benchmarks. After all, if you could save time, save money, or have a better experience, wouldn't you want to know what others have done to achieve the same thing? In our current environment, this is even more pressing, since Worldwide ERC's recently published 2022 U.S. Domestic Permanent Transfers: Volume & Cost Survey notes the importance of mobility for business strategy heading into 2023. The results found that, though the average total costs of domestic transfers have hit an all-time high, the actual volume of such transfers has remained stable, and companies are even projected to increase employee transfers by 5% in 2023. 

This article from invision, "The road to mediocrity is paved with best practices" caught my eye and may challenge you to re-evaluate the overall value of "best practices". I passed it along to our Director of Consulting Services, Mary Fitzpatrick and asked her for her thoughts. 

She shares:

Best practices are a great starting off place to understand what other people or companies are doing and how you compare. With that said, in our consulting with clients, we rarely encourage a client to use them as a copy/paste for their program. Other companies' methodologies lack an understanding of your company’s unique culture and needs. Instead, we encourage our clients to take the time to clearly define what their company and business really needs from their mobility program. We encourage (and support) global mobility programs to talk to the people who use their services, like relocating employees, hiring managers, recruiters, and finance teams (accounts payable and payroll in particular) for example. We suggest taking some time to collect and review the data to understand which benefits are used the most and generate the most satisfaction. You will also want to explore the exceptions requested in the current program, and understand new benefit options or opportunities. For example, how do users feel about any current technology supporting the program? Spending time talking to your stakeholders and reviewing your data will help you understand how to define success for your program and design solutions that not only sound good on paper but will actually meet the needs of your critical stakeholders. An additional bonus to using feedback to redesign your program is that it can help you create experiences that will make your program stand out from the crowd.

Two quotes I felt stood out in the article and are great fodder for thought and discussion are:

  1. "Because best practices are available everywhere and don’t require much effort to implement, they’re also being used by everyone. This can make it very difficult for businesses that closely follow best practices to innovate and differentiate themselves from the crowd."
  2. "Rather than focus on sure bets and small wins that force us to resort to best practices, we should embrace risk as a measure of opportunity. While risk may discourage us from taking bold leaps, it should also encourage us to harness opportunities."

Thanks Mary! 

I whole-heartedly agree and the stickler quote from the article for me was, "Best practices propel businesses toward states of mediocrity." Head out to the article to further explore their line of thinking that explains why best practices are a bad practice and why we should all strive to kill best practices! Great article for anyone rethinking their current mobility program.