The way in which we buy services in any industry, not just global mobility, has evolved. Buyer/Seller relationships are much more consultative on both sides and there is huge value in investing in creating a vendor relationship that is not just ‘fit for purpose’ but at ‘peak fitness’.
Finding the right long-term partner can have a huge impact on the relocation experience you are providing to your assignees; to the cost of delivering your programme and to how well you are able to help your organisation meet it’s goals.
So, what can you do to get the most out of your vendor relationships?
Get to know each other
Great vendor relationships go two ways. Teams on both sides should work together to explore your global mobility environment and learn about each other.
When you invest in the relationship at an early stage by allowing your vendors to get to know you and your business you will more likely build solutions that are sustainable and more mutually valuable. The ‘buying journey’ is a lot longer these days than in the past so don’t be afraid to spend the time here to help you make the right choices. Even if you don’t end up working with that vendor, that’s OK. Developing a mutual understanding helps you choose whoever is best fit for you and a supplier should always understand your reasons if that’s not them if you’ve had an open and honest buying journey.
Pick their brains
Consulting with your vendors early during policy and process design can really add value to the outcome. Use their knowledge and experience to help guide you and evaluate opportunities for enhancing performance together through shared knowledge and benchmarking to design and test out solutions that create short term wins and long term improvements.
Need to get business buy in? Your vendor can help you develop a clear and concise process to enable you to build a strong business case for your key stakeholders - whether that’s formulating your strategic plan, mapping data collection to support it or finding ways to demonstrate the value global mobility adds to the business.
Don’t just focus on the services you’re buying from that particular vendor but share insight into your wider programme and global mobility goals – often your vendors have experience in areas other than their own niche having worked with a range of different clients.
Keep the momentum going
Investing up front in building a great relationship is important, but it’s equally important to keep it up to continuously optimise the work you’re doing together. Take the time to regularly re-evaluate the gaps – what friction (on both sides) could be slowing down your success flywheel? What else could add more value or increase success? Collect, analyse and use qualitative and quantitative management information to keep driving your strategy forward and to work together to manage risk and plan for the future.
Make sure you feel like one team
The right vendor should feel like an extension of your own team. Do you feel like you’re in it together? For example, are they responsive, flexible and supportive? Does everyone feel free to give feedback (good and bad?). You should believe they are working toward the same goals as you. Invest in ‘team building’ and break down the traditional ‘them and us’ barriers that prevent open, honest transparent partnerships by developing the human relationships in your teams. Grab that coffee, meet for a drink after work, and pick up the phone rather than the keyboard once in a while…..