Gobble Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving!Gobble Gobble! (That’s turkey for “Happy Thanksgiving!”).

Paragon would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving wherever they are celebrating the American holiday in the world.

Paragon’s CEO, Joseph Morabito said the following about Thanksgiving today:

I want to wish all of our clients, customers and employees a happy and safe Thanksgiving. This particular holiday is a good time to take a deep breath and give thanks for our families, friends and health. And no matter what our possessions, all of us should be thankful for the blessings we have, and think of those who are less fortunate with a charitable heart. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on God’s blessings because they are real for all of us.

What’s the history of Thanksgiving?

Check out this great infographic on the history of Thanksgiving compared to how Thanksgiving is celebrated today!

thanksgiving infographic

We are thankful for all our clients and customers giving us a chance to do what we love. What are you thankful for?

How Much Refinancing Lowers Your Payment Infographic

How much money are you leaving on the table by not refinancing now while interest rates are low? Recently we wrote about how mortgage rates are at nearly all time lows. Now Credit Sesame, a credit rating site, has published an interactive infographic (with help from content creation company ColumnFive Media) on how much money on average could be saved for a homeowner refinancing in each state. See below to see how much people are saving in your state.

How Much are People Saving from Refinancing?

Click the image below to see how much could be saved on refinancing your mortgage in your state.
Are American Homeowners Leaving Money On The Table?

For more information about Paragon’s mortgage company, GenEquity Mortgage, and to use their refinancing calculator to see how much you can save please visit GenEquity.com.

How to be a Great Relocation Manager When There is No Time

relocation Time managementHow do HR managers find time to be excellent managers of their Relocation Program and yet balance the other duties of their jobs? Today many people are not only doing the work of one position but of a number of positions. To be good at managing a Relocation Program while saving time you need to develop a smart program that requires less attention on a daily basis so that you can work on the big picture of making your program better.  Abraham Lincoln said “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time”. If you can improve your Relocation Program one day at a time it will make a significant difference in the amount of time needed to manage your program down the line. What small steps can you take today to make your Relocation Program run more efficiently? Below you will find our tips on how to save time as a Relocation Manager and improve your Relocation Program in the process.

How to Save Time as a Relocation Manager

Start Smart. Sometimes a fresh start is the best approach to getting a handle on a Relocation Program. Getting it right from the beginning has a disproportional effect on the amount of time needed later on to manage a Relocation Program. When you start your Relocation Program make sure that it meets the goals of the program and can be administered effectively for all employees being relocated by your company. Does your program meet the up-to-date best practices of leading Relocation Programs in your industry? Sometimes you don’t need to completely start fresh but perhaps you can just “refresh” your Relocation Program with Relocation Policy and Program Development to maximize efficiencies. Program development takes your current program and it simply updates your program based on industry best practices and makes it competitive with other companies in your industry.

Don’t Major on the Minors. Prioritize what you’re focusing on. While it is important to keep track of the many different relocations that happen under your management it may not be necessary to focus on the minutiae of every detail of each move. With limited time it is wise to consider what would be the best use of your time if can’t do everything at once. By thinking of your program as a whole you might be able to think of better ways to structure your program over all to save time in the future.

Merge the Meetings. Often times there are opportunities to reduce the number of meetings related to HR, Talent Management, and Relocation by combining the meetings that involve a number of people who touch each of these areas. In addition, discuss with your team if there are opportunities to cut down on the number of meetings and their duration. It might be possible to eliminate certain meetings entirely with a few routine “reply to all” emails each week. Tim Ferriss of the 4 Hour Work Week recommends setting a clear agenda and end time for each meeting to keep meetings short and effective.

Better Living through Technology. Your Relocation Program needs to be introduced to the 21st century. Technology should simply work when you want it to. You shouldn’t have to fight your relocation technology to be successful. Unfortunately many relocation companies today still use archaic technology platforms that haven’t kept pace with a smart phone world. Your relocation technology platform should be automated so that it speaks to your company’s Payroll platform, HRIS systems, Recruiting Talent Management platforms and other company systems eliminating the need for time consuming data entry. In addition, it should be the one-stop-shop for information for all your transferees and all possible relocation benefits that your company offers. Finally, real-time data tracking and reporting is essential. Relocation reporting that is accurate, easy to understand and yet comprehensive is crucial to making executive decisions on-the-fly.  To save time managing your Relocation Program you need technology to work with you not against you. (We don’t mean to brag but this technology platform sounds a lot like Paragon’s recently launched, PRISM 2.0 web based relocation management program. Let us know if you would like be included in a webinar demo!)

Outsource the Operation. There are many different ways that relocation is managed from programs that are managed completely in-house at a corporation to programs that are completely outsourced to a relocation services company, and with everything in between. For clients of International Relocation Services companies such as, Paragon Relocation, they offer almost every possible form of outsourcing of the relocation function. Are there elements of your Relocation Program that you don’t have a want to hold onto? Consider discussions with a relocation management company about taking that off your hands. It’s possible that once that piece of your program is managed by a relocation company there would be cost savings related innovations to your Relocation Program design, as well as opportunities to reduce overhead. With Paragon, for example, we offer many other services other than Relocation Management one of which is Visa and Immigration services, would outsourcing this part of the program save you time and money? We have found that many companies prefer to have one provider for Relocation and Immigration services because it allows for more competitive pricing and the opportunity to only manage one supplier which saves more time.

Schedule the Stressful. When you pick up and move everything in someone’s life there are inevitably are going to be ups and downs. The amount of goods being moved might exceed the limit allowed by your corporate relocation policy, or your employee needs special assistance to relocate a pet, or worse there are challenges getting your employee’s home sold. How can you deal with these pressing issues without losing track of other tasks at hand? Schedule them into your day. Set apart 30 minutes or 1 hour a  day or a week to take control of the stressful elements of relocation. Attack them head on to clear them off your plate first and other items on your to-do lists will be easier to accomplish. On other days when you have no pressing relocation issues at hand you can use that time to educate yourself about relocation so that you will be quicker on your feet next time a decision needs to be made. There are plenty of resources online to learn about relocation including Relocation related LinkedIn.com Groups and industry sites such as WorldwideERC.org. The information you learn on these sites will be helpful when confronted with a new relocation challenge.

Managing relocation by itself is a full-time job, add on to that other responsibilities and it can become quite difficult. However there are many HR managers who have been gracefully pulling this off for years. What are your tips and advice for effectively managing relocation for your corporation? Let us know in the comments on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook or below!

Critical Considerations For Your Corporate Immigration Program

paragon geoimmigration banner

Join Elaine Martin, Managing Director of Paragon GeoImmigration and an experienced immigration lawyer, for this informative seminar focusing on global immigration program best practices. During this seminar, you will be able to benchmark your program and network with other professionals on global immigration issues and topics.

Immigration Learning Session Opportunities

This learning session will be available at two locations:

  • Chicago (downtown) - Wednesday December 7, 2011 – 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM.
  • New York (Manhattan) - Thursday December 8, 2011 –  9:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

Free networking and educational event. This course is approved for one hour of CRP credit, GMS credit
and HRP credit. Breakfast will be provided.

For more information and to register please email info@paragongeoimmigration.com! Space is limited.

PGI Header Critical Considerations For Your Corporate Immigration Program

Paragon Relocation’s Customer Reviews – November 2011

first place ribbon 148x300 Paragon Relocations Customer Reviews   November 2011Paragon Relocation has for years prided itself on excellent customer service for our customers who we relocate all over the world. Recently, on this blog and internally, we have been celebrating the comments and reviews of our customers who have given us an Excellent rating. (The positive reviews for the month always rotate at right of our blog in the sidebar) now, we also want to spread the news in form of a blog post each month about what a great job our Relocation Consultants are doing. In addition to posting these reviews here, we also post these internally on our Relocation Consultant “Wall of Fame.” Ultimately, Paragon bases our success on if our relocating customers believe we did an excellent job.

Paragon Relocation’s customer reviews:

I was kept informed of all steps in the transition process, and any questions I had always were answered promptly.

It was a superior performance from all individuals involved in the relocation of my family from Switzerland to Singapore. I am extremely pleased with the initiative, responsiveness and professional courtesy displayed by all individuals, at every level of the process. Tremendous effort! Thank you very much.

LaTardra did a great job for me.

Dawn Harbeck is an excellent Consultant. She is extremely customer-centric and always works to get to the right outcome. I appreciate all of her efforts.

Crystal Hatfield deserves a raise and promotion; fantastic service.

LaTardra was very accommodating & timely in her communication.

I enjoyed working with LaTardra. She was very helpful and had excellent communication skills. She provided the information I needed and was instrumental in making my move from Omaha, NE to Seattle, WA as smooth as possible. She was easy to talk to and had a very approachable style. I appreciate all that she has done for me!

Kelly was a fabulous resource and a big help in guiding me through the process. She was consistently patient, helpful, and knowledgeable about all of the aspects and could refer me to experts outside of her area, when necessary. I felt lucky to have her assigned to my case.

Leslie, my Paragon rep, was excellent.

Dawn Harbeck was outstanding during a process that was anything but routine. Thanks for all of the help and keeping my wife and I sane through this transition.

My main contact through the process was Megan Greenwald and she was excellent. Very responsive to phone calls, emails and any questions I had. She made the process very smooth and it was an easy transition.

Excellent service from Jessica Stroede.

Very satisfied with the help provided by Mr. Otis Lau.

Nancy Johnson was great to work with. This is our second ISE move and she was fantastic to work with.

Thank you!

Nancy Johnson was very good as our Global coordinator…she should be commended.

My Paragon account coordinator repeatedly went over and beyond her job role in helping my wife and I. She made the move MUCH easier and I appreciate her help.

Very happy with the services and responsiveness shown by Bonnie (Consultant). It has been a hassle free experience working with Paragon and it’s consultant.

Very friendly, customer oriented. Nancy is a pro.

Pam Shepardson did a great job coordinating our move.

“Pam Shepardson was awesome; great client servicing. ”

Paragon Relocation enjoys making raving fans out of their customers. Let us know if you have any other stories where you have received great customer service from Paragon Relocation!

Related Posts:

The World’s Biggest Companies Choose Paragon Relocation – HRO Baker’s Dozen
Paragon Relocation Opens New Office in France!
Paragon Relocation Expands Operations Into the Benelux Countries
Paragon Relocation now offers billing in Chinese Renminbi

Are International Assignments Good for Children?

listening to linkedin international relocation1 150x150 Are International Assignments Good for Children?Our post series from last week on Why You Need to Accept that International Assignment generated a lot of buzz on social media sites, especially on the LinkedIn.com Discussion Groups. The conversation that this generated and the comments from former International Assignees could be really helpful for people making the decision about going on an International Assignment so we want to pass on the best of the advice that was generated as a result of those conversations. Would you recommend taking an International Assignment with children? Leave your recommendations or advice in the comment section below or tweet @ParagonRelo on twitter!

Should I take my child on an International Assignment?

Here are responses to the question “Would you recommend taking an International Assignment with children?”:

Lisa Casey from Office Depot said:

Definitely would recommend to take the assignment with the children. I did it. My husband and our two children, ages 5 and 7 at that time, accompanied me on my assignment to Hong Kong. The exposure to culture, food, travel, and people added another dimension to their growth. We have since traveled back to the Asia region several times after the assignment was over and we still talk about it…

Susan Lomartire from HeartSilks said:

Absolutely — unless, of course, the assignment is in a high-risk area. It is my experience working with expats that all family members benefit in many ways from the exposure to other countries and cultures. It’s a fantastic educational experience — both in school and outside of it.

Jan Kasper from Russell Real Estate Service said:

We have done the international relocation and with a family. Our son was in high school when we moved to Australia. It was a great experience and we all still talk about it as a fantastic growing experience! There are always ups and downs but you will regret not taking the challenge!

Ron Scruggs from SCI Procurement said:

My wife and 4 sons joined me on a transfer to Geneva Switzerland. My 3 year assignment was extended to 10 years. The family is all bi-lingual now (though not at the start of the assignment). This was a tremendous experience for all of us. The quality of life proved to be excellent, the experience was worthwhile. Though not for everyone as a rule, this was a positive life changing experience for all of our family.

Rebecca Grappo from RNG International Educational Consultants said:

I think there are many factors that contribute to children’s success in overseas assignments. It seems to me that the kids that are able to easily make social connections, are successful learning in a mainstream, traditional setting that one finds in most international schools, have supportive parents, and a well-developed sense of self are the ones that do really well.

In contrast, the kids that struggle to make social connections, or struggle in school and don’t have their learning needs met, or who wrestle with core identity issues, are the kids who seem to not do well. I have worked with many very bright, gifted kids who could not easily relate to peers – and thus hate moving and starting over.

Rebecca Sullivan from Adare International said:

I’m over a year into an overseas relocation with my family – husband and 2 young boys (now 3 & 5). While this kind of move presents many challenges – not least a language barrier to some degree – the benefits are evident for my children. In fact the children have gained the most out of the country change. Naturally the country you move to plays a major part in the benefit stakes so homework needs to be done in advance.

Danielle Lammie from Oakwood Worldwide said:

I relocated to Europe throughout high school with my family to Luxembourg. It was life changing. We became closer as a family. I attended American International School of Luxembourg now (ISL) – this was an amazing school, with fabulous professors. I would never take that kind of experience back. I see how the world is global not just local.

Patricia D. Rivera from 123 Accounting LLC said:

There are many different aspects to international assignments one critical is where is the assignment? Children are extremely resilient. However parents need to set the stage. If the parents are excited and look upon this move as an adventure and a way to expand the children will very nicely adjust as well.

Christina Buchanan at Audubon Engineering Operations, LLC said:

In my experience, children thrive during an international assignment. Of course, not all places are children-friendly (or for that matter, people-friendly…) but in most locations children adapt quickly and will look back to it as a turning point in their lives. In a continuously changing world, let your children get “a leg up” on the competition!

From a lot of the conversation that was generated on this topic it seems that families that take International Assignments have been very pleased with the experience for their whole family. In addition, a few comments reminded that there would be challenges to every relocation but yet even in light of these challenges the comments almost all said “go for it!” in one way or another. What has been your experience? What advice would you give to a family thinking about a big international relocation?

Why You Need to Accept that International Assignment (Part 2)

take an international relocation for familyThis is the second part of our two-part series on Why You Need to Accept that International Assignment. In the first part of the series we focused on the benefits of an International Assignment from a career perspective. To read the first part of the series please click here: Why You Need to Accept that International Assignment (Part 1).

As we wrote about in the previous post there are many benefits to taking an International Assignment from a career perspective. However, many are reluctant to accept an International Relocation because of how it will affect a person’s family and life outside of work. In this post we would like to point out some solutions to the main barriers to accepting an International Relocation as it relates to family life that can be overcome with a little bit more information. To get to that point where you are ready to say Yes to an International Relocation you need to find answers to your questions so you can make the decision with confidence. It may be a good idea to take time with your family to write down what could be potential obstacles to taking that International Assignment so that by working with your HR department and their Relocation Services company you can come up with a solution that fits you and your family.

Why Should I Take an International Assignment?

It’s Family Friendly. One barrier to accepting the International Relocation might be the question, how will a relocation affect my family? In response to this question many former International Assignees will say that taking their family on an International Assignment was one of the best things they could’ve done because it gave their family (and especially their children) a truly global education. The Expat information website, Expatica, wrote about taking children on an International Assignment: “Don’t worry parents, your children will settle in the new country, so don’t use them as an excuse for turning down an International Assignment. Expatriate children can – and do – grow up to be savvy, articulate, interesting, and diversity-embracing adults, so give them a chance of a lifetime, a life-altering, enriching experience.”

Home is Where the Heart is. Some of the barriers to taking an International Relocation might include your housing situation. You might own a home which cannot be sold in the current real estate market. How can you accept a relocation when you can’t sell your home? With the help of a good relocation company you can find a way to sell your home for the best possible price and capitalize on cheaper housing costs in your new location, or you can continue owning your home while you’re on assignment and use it as an income property while you are away. To help with this companies like Paragon, offer Property Management services.

International Schools are Cool. In addition, another question might be, if I take an International Relocation, what will my children do about school? A good relocation company in conjunction with your company will often include access to very highly rated schools for expat children as part of your company’s International Relocation policy. The education at some of these schools is among the best in the world. In addition to this, children will often return from the International Relocation having learned another language with a valuable international experience to take with them to college and or to the workplace.

Broadens Your Horizons. Taking an International Relocation will broaden your horizons like no other experience. It will open you up to new cultures and different approaches to a variety of issues. It is impossible to have this same experience without taking time to live in another culture other than your own.

Live the Adventure. In addition to the reasons given above one of the primary reasons you should take that International Assignment is because it can be the adventure of a lifetime. An International Assignment is an opportunity to break free from the normal routine. It gives you an opportunity to truly make each weekend a vacation adventure. Don’t waste the time abroad, explore your surrounding countryside and put together a plan with your family to use your location as a jump off point to visit other major destinations in that region.

In addition, to the many reasons an International Relocation will benefit your career it might be even more beneficial as a life experience for you and your family. Don’t miss the opportunity of a lifetime when your company offers you the chance to go live and work in a country other than your own.

If you liked this post and would like to receive more helpful articles from us, would you take a moment now to “like” us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn?

Why You Need to Accept that International Assignment (Part 1)

Relocation Decision MakingThe decision to take an International Assignment is a difficult one. The excitement of international travel and a new challenge in a different country definitely have their appeal. However, the obstacles associated with an International Assignment can certainly be high as well. You have to move away from a familiar life at home and at work, change is never easy, and the fear of the unknown always looms large. In light of this, should you take an International Assignment? In most cases the answer should still be Yes and we are going to tell you why.

First you may want to consider if you are an ideal candidate for an International Assignment by visiting our recent post on the topic, but like with most major decisions in life you won’t know if it was the right decision until you decide to make it. In addition, there are certainly some risks to taking an International Assignment but the risk of missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity may be much greater. You can live the rest of your life in your home country but you may never be offered the opportunity to take an International Assignment ever again. That is why if you are fortunate enough to given the opportunity you should take it. If it turns out that you don’t enjoy your assignment, you can simply return to your home country after it is done but if you don’t take the opportunity you will never know what you would have missed.

We are breaking this post up into two parts to focus on two different sets of reasons why you should take an International Assignment. In today’s post we will talk about why you need to accept that International Assignment for your career, and then in Part Two we will talk about why you need to accept an International Assignment from a life experience/family perspective.

Why should I take an International Assignment?

Builds the Resume. When you are invited to take an International Relocation you should take it because there may be no other experience that adds to your resume more. Inherent in the opportunity is most likely a promotion which instantly builds the resume but more than that a recent study has shown that 7 of 10 Fortune 100 C-Level Executives have had International Assignment experience in their past. Taking an International Relocation can only help you rise up the corporate ladder.

Become a Multi-Cultural Pro. When you take an International Assignment it gives you an opportunity to add to your multi-cultural tool belt. Everyday you will be challenged by cultures different from your own in the workplace. Learning to manage people of different cultures than your own is an increasingly valuable asset today. In addition to this there is no better way to learn a foreign language than immersion, you can use the opportunity of your international relocation to pick up a foreign language in a relatively short amount of time.

Work with Clear Objectives. An International Assignment in the strictest terms is a temporary relocation with the assumption that you would either relocate back to your departure country or take a rotational international assignment to your next location once the goal of your project is done. As a result of the assignment being a big investment by your company and because of how assignments are project oriented the goals of your International Assignment should be very clear. In a well-managed Relocation Program you should know what you are sent to do and how much time you have to carry out your tasks.

International Relocation Opportunities are Rare. The opportunity to have to secure a stable job overseas is very rare because of the costs to the corporation involved with relocating an individual (and their families) overseas. Often times the cost of the International Relocation costs three times as much (or more) as employee’s annual salary over the course of the assignment. If you were trying to take an International Relocation without the help of your company (and their Relocation Management Company) it might be prohibitively expensive to do on your own so take the opportunity to relocate when the option is available.

Expands Your Network. As we said above, taking an International Assignment builds your resume and puts you on the fast track to executive leadership but it is also an opportunity to significantly expand your network to people from all over the world. This will broaden your perspective and give you access to more job opportunities and career resources that you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t take the assignment in the first place.

When the opportunity presents itself to take an International Assignment take some time to think about all the benefits to your career before you close the door. Even some things that seem like impossible barriers to taking the International Assignment can be overcome with the help of your HR department and your Relocation Company. Before saying No, look for ways to say Yes to the great opportunity of an International Assignment.

What are some other reasons someone should take an International Assignment? Let us know in the comments below, or on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter!

Update: To read the second part of our two-part series on Why You Need to Accept that International Assignment, please click here: Why You Need to Accept that International Assignment (Part 2).