In the Spotlight: Global Client Services
BGRS partners with some of the world’s largest organizations in both corporate and government sectors to craft and implement talent mobility solutions. Jo Wakeham, Senior Vice President, Global Client Services, illuminates what sets BGRS apart in the industry and our approach to client services In the Spotlight.
You have been in the industry for over 25 years, what sets BGRS’s approach to client services apart from other organizations in the mobility industry?
Jo Wakeham: It’s a combination of things. Firstly, truly understanding our clients’ current and future needs. Then using that insight to evolve and tailor our services and delivery to meet and get ahead of those needs. One of the ways we do this is through our global service delivery model. We are a global organization, having people on the ground in 15 different locations. Our teams are based in places such as the Middle East, United Kingdom, China, Singapore, Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Canada and the United States. This model allows us to live and breathe the issues that our clients are working through every day.
I also strongly believe we have some of the best talent within the industry. A key priority for BGRS is investing in our people, to build future leaders in the industry. We encourage our people to go on assignment and to always find opportunities to learn more. While we support the development, retention and growth of our own talent, our clients also benefit from their varied experiences and expertise.
Another important aspect is our transparency. We stand by a philosophy of “Disclosure before Discovery.” This idea permeates the multi-layer relationships we build between BGRS and clients. We try to share as much as possible regarding what we are doing and our plans for the future. By sharing where we are going as an organization, our clients can see where we align and how we can work together better. At the same time, our clients can also help us shape our future so we stay current and relevant.
What is a key part of BGRS’s role as a true mobility partner to clients?
Jo: Part of our role is sharing industry best practices. Every organization has different challenges and our job is to get them where they want to be. We share how other clients may be tackling certain issues. Our goal is to help our clients to think about their program in longer terms and think about what they want out of their programs in the future.
One way we help our clients is by presenting and sharing data analytics. Data is valuable in several ways. It can help clients report back to their stakeholders, find new ways to control costs, or improve the assignee experience. In addition, it can uncover anomalies and inconsistencies and help identify opportunities or areas for optimization. For example, we can aggregate data across our client base and compare, either by industry type, program size or demographically. We can take exception trends, satisfaction scores, or costs, for example, and find the outlying pieces and then use that information to help clients develop a plan to achieve more. In this way we continue to add to their strategic growth and continue to add value.
What does being consultative mean? How does that come to life with our clients?
Jo: That’s a great question, because I think in our industry the word “consultative” can sometimes be over-used. What it means is, we want to add value; help clients make decisions so they can achieve their goals. We use our experiences to make recommendations and find solutions. We are not afraid to say no, but when we say something is not the best way forward, we have alternative solutions and recommendations to present.
It is critical for us to have conversations with our clients about their strategic plans. It’s also important to ask questions which inform our business so we adapt and evolve to meet the needs of our clients in the future. What is important to the client today is not what may be important to them in three, six or twelve months. It’s our job to understand the difference. That’s what being consultative means – to keep going back and asking what has changed and how can we help them be successful.
What does being flexible mean to BGRS clients and how does that support achieving their goals and objectives?
Jo: I believe there is an important distinction between being flexible and being agile – I like to believe we are agile. Our job isn’t to simply agree to everything. Being overly flexible can create other challenges along the road and isn’t always sustainable.
We are always looking for solutions; evolving and developing our service offerings and delivering services in new or different ways. For example, recently, two clients who have large Middle Eastern populations shared their need for a localized service delivery solution. After a short due diligence process, we were able to proceed with opening an office in Dubai. The ability to find creative solutions for our clients comes from BGRS’s unique global, flat structure. This means we can make decisions quickly.
We give full accountability to account owners to make decisions which are specific to the clients they manage. I believe what makes BGRS so different is empowering our people; they are able to make decisions quickly and in the interest of the clients, not in the interest of BGRS. It is in everyone’s benefit to do what is agreed upon and meet the client’s needs; say yes as appropriate and then actually execute in line with what needs to be done.