In The Spotlight: The U.S. Government
Amber Tucker, a seasoned mobility expert and the Vice President of U.S. Government Client Services, recently took the time to answer a few questions about her experience servicing this unique client base.
Q: Amber, you have been delivering mobility strategy and services to government clients for more than 30 years. What are some of the changes you have seen over the years?
A: A lot of service providers have stopped offering the level of partnership that we continue to provide to government clients. The market for relocation within the government sector isn’t going away – in fact, in some bureaus and agencies, regular relocation is a must.
While that number of providers in the space has changed, a few things have remained the same while presenting new challenges:
- A tight focus on managing costs while delivering greater security and compliance. Our government agencies continue to experience budget cuts yet the complexity inherent in their mobility programs does not diminish.
- The contracting process continues to be rigorous to ensure the best provider by service is identified, though technology has enabled more transparency in the process from end to end.
- With new technologies and threats from around the world, we continue to step up our own procedures to deliver the highest level of data security and compliance in the industry. We take proactive measures to ensure our people are regularly trained, tested and are in total compliance with our proprietary gCertified program.
Q: Which of these changes strikes you as the most important?
A: All of the challenges are extremely important and require an experienced team to navigate. Among the many areas where we leverage our deep experience to help our clients overcome their challenges is around cost management. The scrutiny on spending is leading some service providers to concentrate exclusively on price. While we appreciate and can manage within budgets, we are also steadfast in our effort to deliver a superior service experience for the transferring employee. Our many years of service for the government sector coupled with our organizational structure ensure that our internal teams are constantly innovating to bring more value to our client relationships – all within the budgets that our clients must adhere to.
Q: Besides that additional thinking and value that our team brings, what else do you think is essential when serving a government client?
A: Staying abreast of legislation and regulations that may impact an agency’s ability to provide a competitive relocation package for their transferring employees. We stay closely connected to what is happening on Capitol Hill and within the various regulatory agencies. When we identify pending rules that may damage the government’s ability to recruit and retain qualified talent, we immediately build and implement an action plan to educate decision makers within the government on the downstream affect to their mobility and talent management strategies. This is critical since relocation programs in the government are not managed by human resources. They are typically managed by finance or procurement. So, their eye is on the financial aspect of a move and they may not understand the human capital impact of what appear to be sound financial decisions but ultimately do not benefit the agency.
Q: Do election cycles and changes in administration bring any change to mobility?
A: Election cycles and administration changes do impact mobility, but not immediately following the election or administration change. It takes a year or so, sometimes more, for the President to identify new leadership candidates for the various agencies and for Congress to complete the confirmation process. Once new leadership is in place, we will see agency reorganizations or changes to an agency’s mission which drives mobility. One interesting, little known fact is that Presidential appointees do not receive any relocation assistance from the “agency” that they are joining!