Ten Takeaways from the Worldwide ERC ® Spring Virtual Conference on Global Mobility
From Dwellworks Living and Dwellworks Teams
Workforce, Supply Chain and Rules of the Road
Worldwide ERC ® hosted a comprehensive series of panels and presentations May 17-19, at its Spring Virtual Conference (SVC). The conference focused on issues being acted on in global workforce mobility and business travel. Worldwide ERC ® President and CEO Lynn Shotwell introduced the conference as centered around Workforce, Supply Chain and Rules of the Road, the latter defined as the framework necessary for ongoing progress and innovation. The ‘infrastructure’ framework that supports workforce and supply chain success include Technology, Security (data security, physical security, and extended duty of care), and Sustainability and the ESG focus on Environmental, Social and Governance progress
Within the framework of the conference themes, the sessions included panels with leaders from Industry Verticals (Immigration, Real Estate, Mortgage, Corporate Housing, Relocation Management, and Technology), as well as updates from the Public Policy forums whose subject matter experts review legislation and regulations and provide advice to WERC ® stakeholders. The Public Policy forums provided guidance on what to expect from policy impacting Global Immigration, Global Tax Policy, Global Compliance, and North America Real Estate.
The Comeback in Hospitality and Real Estate
The keynote speaker, on the topic of Growth During Challenging Times, was John Murray, President, and CEO of Sonesta Hotels. He shared a story of remarkable growth and ‘build back’ in the hard-hit hospitality industry, where 8 out of 10 hotel rooms were unoccupied in April 2020. The Sonesta brand expanded through acquisition and financial and operational focus in a period of uncertainty. Other speakers addressed topics as varied and as relevant as sustainable development, expanded definitions of diversity and inclusion, including disability diversity and the students-of-color intern initiative of Upward Mobility, ongoing trends in digital nomadism and return to office/hybrid staffing, global domestic relocation policy, cybersecurity, expanded duty of care, immigration challenges and corporate housing.
As always, the spring conference included updates and insights on the US rental and real estate market. The experts provided data-driven evidence of the anecdotal experience we are all now familiar with. Recent increases in interest rates and drops in the stock market that fueled cash buyers and frenzied real estate purchases in the pandemic era, have slowed real estate =activity slightly, but there is no escaping the impact of home values up 13% to a national average of $375,000 and rental rates up 19.8% YOY. Some markets are hotter, some are less expensive, but all in, both rental and homebuying activity are strong and sustained, homes for rent and sale are scarce, construction is slowed by labor and supply chain shortages, demand remains high as tens of millions of millennials move into home purchase mode (or stay put in expensive rentals), and as a result relocating individuals and families everywhere are faced with fewer, more expensive choices.
What were the most frequently discussed themes?
There was an abundance of useful information shared in the SVC sessions. Here are 10 key takeaways (and a bonus!), many related to the housing services sectors where Dwellworks and Dwellworks Living are focused:
- Solutions are being developed for all mobility challenges – this requires adopting new models and acting on new realities.
- Innovation also requires full Partnership across the ecosystem, not a handoff or standoff between corporate policy/practices and supply chain/logistical realities.
- Panelists from all sectors spoke with Transparency about the impact of a turbulent employment market and the macro realities of housing and services shortages
- Companies that have truly invested in employee Engagement – listening to and respecting the need for flexibility, mental health support, equity, inclusion, sustainability, and purpose – will win the war for talent.
- The role of mobility management has shifted from point-to-point relocation, to managing the Risk associated with employee mobility, whether business travel, virtual assignments, nomads, or traditional relocation.
- As a result, platforms must deliver more Integrated and Seamless Technology; the term used by one presenter was ‘a single pane of glass’ that presents data from diverse resources in a single display.
- Well managed data will provide insights and the capability to Customize where the ROI is justified and Standardize core processes for better efficiency. Employees expect Flexibility and want to engage in managing their choices.
- Long term rental housing and short-term corporate housing draw from the same well of multi-family home Until more housing is delivered to market, customers will have fewer options and need to make fast decisions
- The Compliance environment requires constant diligence - to manage risks in immigration, tax, customer service, data privacy, duty of care and more. Risk mitigation requires systemic solutions and partnerships.
- A new landscape requires a new mindset and new Policies. Example: do not define policy by ‘renters’ and ‘homeowners’, define by business needs. Better data will make mass customization and employee-centric options possible.
…and a final observation,
- Strategic Supplier Relationships and expert advice have never been more valuable. Supplier partners will have more leverage for their clients and can provide better, more creative, cost-efficient solutions if they work in stable, values-driven relationships
Learn more at www.worldwideerc.org. We’re looking forward to the Global Workforce Symposium in Las Vegas in October!
Can we meet your unique workforce mobility and travel needs with our distinctive services? Contact us at Dwellworks or Dwellworks Living