Peggy Smith – President & CEO at Worldwide ERC
ExpatFinder had the chance to speak with Peggy Smith, who was Microsoft’s Global Relocation Director for over a decade before her current role at Worldwide ERC. As the President & CEO, Ms. Smith has also taken part in in-house training and earned herself the titles of Senior Certified Relocation Professional (SCRP) and Senior Global Mobility Specialist-Talent (SGMS-T). In an exclusive interview, she explained in greater detail what Worldwide ERC offers to its members and shared her take on what can be done about pressing issues plaguing the mobility industry.
Q: Tell us more about Worldwide ERC® and its network of partners.
A: Worldwide ERC® is a community for workforce mobility professionals, and is a place for global talent mobility leaders to gain education and awareness in the mobility profession. This welcoming community of individuals and companies support each other, embrace best practices and develop intelligent insight on how to attract, recruit, place and retain high-performing employees.
Q: How many members does Worldwide ERC® have and how are they categorised?
A: Worldwide ERC® has nearly 7,000 members who come from a variety of fields, all of which can touch the acquisition and movement of talent. This includes professionals from corporate and government agency employers as well as industries like real estate, corporate housing, household goods moving/removal, immigration, tax and legal, relocation management, financial services, counselling, schooling, and the like. We have thousands of additional stakeholders as part of our community who take advantage of our training, publications and networking opportunities.
Q: As an association, how does Worldwide ERC® help the different industry stakeholders?
A: Our community is focused on managing talent, on moving that talent to the right place, more efficiently and effectively, and on giving the employees and families being moved the best experience. We have created a community with a strong networking foundation, and an environment where we share information and education freely. Employers learn how to increase their appeal and source talent more effectively, and they are supported by the service side of our industry that aids in moving an employee and family from A to B, with attention to all of the issues that come with such a move. We know that companies that are able to fully integrate HR and mobility will experience more efficiencies, position as more attractive employers, improve retention, and better support their growth initiatives.
Q: What are the tools that Worldwide ERC® offers?
A: As noted previously, networking and education are two of the best tools. Within those areas are options like global and U.S.-based conferences, one-day summits and learning opportunities, webinars, online learning and certifications like our Certified (and Senior Certified) Relocation Professional (CRP®/SCRP®) designations, and our Global Mobility Specialist (GMS®) designation, for which one can also earn the senior level (SGMS®) and the Talent Mobility certification (SGMS-T). We also publish and curate research, produce a monthly magazine and several newsletters, maintain online resources for compliance information and subject matter expertise, and have a peer-to-peer forum that our members find to be both expedient and information-rich.
Q: What are the biggest challenges faced by mobility professionals?
A: Certainly the scarcity of talent for key positions is a difficulty, and will be a concern for years to come, given the demographics that we see around the world. Engaging younger professionals and offering the work-plus-lifestyle blend and technological interfaces they need is another. Compliance is a constant concern, and gets more complicated as regulations can change quickly, borders are tightening, and business travel can overlap with mobility. Big data is another – we know that analytics will help solve some of the HR and mobility issues that companies face, but knowing what information to collect, then parsing and applying it effectively is something we are learning.
Q: What advice do you have for them?
A: Here is the opportunity and the challenge for the mobility industry: the world’s talent pool has never been more mobile! This is a highly dynamic industry and a vigorous environment for global workforce mobility. Stay tuned to all of the shifts that are occurring, stay connected to the thought leaders and change agents in our industry, keep learning, be open to reimagining our work for this new world we’re encountering, and enjoy the adventure!