I have heard the phrase “together apart” in numerous situations lately and I think that is a great way to describe the feeling within Dwellworks.Last week our US service delivery teams received the great news that, for the second consecutive year, we have been named the highest rated provider of international destination services and US rental support services in the annual Nationwide Relocating Employee Survey conducted by Trippel Surveys and Research. It was great feedback to receive and it reinforces our core value of teamwork—we’re working well together even when we’re all working apart.
Delivering great customer service is never easy. Putting a great team in place, supporting them with a sustainable process and maintaining a strong corporate culture can be a challenge in the best of times. Trying to do all of that during a pandemic can seem impossible. The reality is we acted quickly to implement an immediate plan to ensure everyone’s safety, and then, like everyone else, we learned as we went.
Getting everyone’s home offices established and getting into the flow was easy enough. Shifting our process and service delivery methods to accommodate the new “normal” across the globe presented some complicated situations to navigate through. Caring for our teammates and network partners who were dealing with things well beyond what we are facing during the regular workday led our leadership team to consider new ways of interacting and supporting our teams. What made this all possible was we did not forget what got us here.
Our team of nearly 1,000 consultants in the US—who cover every state and key employment market—are local experts and “people-people” with a deep entrepreneurial spirit. These are the folks who meet face-to-face with our customers and of course, in a lot of places, that has presented both logistical challenges and health risks. Our consultants leaned in and answered the challenges presented by Covid-19, from virtual area tours using online maps to personalized presentations with voice recordings. They continued to create a unique service experience through socially-distanced toy drop offs to newly arrived families or hosting virtual transferee meet-ups for newcomers to feel more at home more quickly in their new location.
"As part of a rotational program at my company, I have relocated 4 times within the last 2 years, and this has by far been the smoothest and most enjoyable home search experience I have had. Our consultant’s expertise made us feel secure about moving during a pandemic. Since we selected our apartment sight-unseen, the consultant went out of her way to tour the apartment and meet the landlord on our behalf, following up on numerous inquiries we had and answering all of our questions. We are so appreciative of her help at every step of this process." – Emma E., HR Leader at medical services company
Online coffee hours and chats have provided a platform for our local teams to interact across geographical boundaries like never before. This provides the best crowd-sourced validation in our industry. They share information gleaned from years of experience supporting thousands of families in customized and meaningful ways, to make the customer experience personal and keep our digital content fresh and accurate. Less time driving to in-person appointments has increased their availability to engage not only with customers but also with the internal Dwellworks team via myDwellworks.
A silver lining in this process has been the expansion of our knowledge, the closeness between our in office/field teams, and the difference we make to a relocating employee who can’t get into the country, but nonetheless wants detailed, updated information, so they’re ready when the borders open.
As a team some days have been tougher than others, but having a strong corporate culture to fall back on has been the cornerstone of our ability to continue to move Dwellworks forward. I have always viewed teamwork as the key to our success and throughout the pandemic we have continued to make it a priority. Virtual hangouts have replaced team lunches, video chats replaced in-market visits with our on-the-ground network partners and we all have made the extra efforts to check in via phone or email or zoom on the wellbeing of those people we would normally walk by in the office. To me, these little extras have gone a long way towards keeping us together despite the distance between us as we have sheltered in place.
We’ve recognized we are all dealing with more than just new ways of communicating and partnering with one another to get the job done. It’s been stressful on a personal level for everyone, across the globe. Keeping that in mind, we’re consciously giving one another space, not just for the barking dog, the doorbell, or the delivery taking place off screen, but also for taking a moment to check-in with each other on a personal level. “How are you doing today?” has taken on a deeper meaning these last few months. We have become more acutely aware of one another’s strengths and vulnerabilities, and this has drawn us even closer together. That awareness makes it easier to step in, solve a problem, be the backup, or cover a colleague who is on PTO.
I have experienced our teamwork expanding throughout the past several months. When you are spread out in offices across the globe, like Dwellworks is, it is easy to congregate only with the people in your office, it is easy to talk shop only with those within earshot and it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and bigger team. Our global sheltering-in-place has proven to be the great equalizer and communications catalyst. I am now just as likely to run an idea past my counterpart in China or the United Kingdom, where, before Covid-19, I almost certainly would have limited my hypothesis testing to the teammate in the office next door. It might seem counter intuitive, but undoubtedly my global perspective has expanded working from my home office.
Despite the negative news we all see swirling around each day, we are keeping focused on the positives. Capitalizing on the strength of our team to not only get through these tough times, we are harnessing that strength to position Dwellworks to play a pivotal role in an evolving mobility industry. Over the past four months, we’ve been busy with the global implementation of our myDwellworks platform, expansion of our capabilities into Corporate Housing Solutions, and the introduction of Xpedite, a new and simpler product for global Destination Services.
In times of crisis it is natural for individuals to seek out the familiar, to surround themselves with things they are comfortable with. I don’t think organizations are different and for Dwellworks, that comfort was our team. Being “together” has taken on a new meaning and an elevated importance this year, but for Dwellworks that has always been our strength and our go-to. From there, we have been able to accomplish a lot of amazing things, win some nice accolades along the way, and be prepared for the future we are helping to create.
#onward and upward
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