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This article is taken from chapter 4 of the K2 Bespoke guide to Successful business-critical (VIP) assignments.

In the case of business-critical assignments, a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t fit for purpose. Key to success is a distraction- and stress-free employee experience, made possible by detailed planning, careful management and precise execution.

Leveraging two decades of global mobility experience, we have identified the key elements that need to be considered during the planning stage of a business-critical assignment.


Tailoring the assignment so that it is the right fit for both the individual /workforce population and your organisation.

Organisation culture and approach

Consider your company culture and how to apply VIP level support consistently and fairly. Be aware that how you define and position eligible employees or populations within your overall global mobility programme may vary.

Business-critical assignees are often time-poor and thus require a high degree of flexibility and responsiveness. Critical is not the range of services provided, rather the way those services are delivered. The result of exceptional service delivery? A positive, productive and seamless assignee experience.

Create a personalised assignment experience

Focus on service enhancements – business-critical employees tend to be more effective if their personal needs and motivations are understood and supported. As a result, a VIP move should see sharpened customer service objectives leading to outcomes that are above and beyond assignee expectations.

Consider how you can use these moves to drive innovation within your overall programme, introducing tried and tested service enhancements for your assignee population as a whole.

Do your research – knowing your audience is vital. Develop an understanding of your assignee’s motivations, speak with their colleagues and their PA, build a picture of their personal life (spouse, children, pets etc.)

This will help you to view situations from your assignee’s perspective, providing you with the understanding necessary to go that extra mile in improving their experience.

Build a relationship early on – taking your research one step further by connecting with your assignee on a personal level. Get to know them as a person rather than an project, creating a bond of trust which will result in greater transparency and so make it easier for you to manage the move.

“Managing a VIP move is much like managing a project. It requires a budget, a plan and a timeline, plus tailoring in response to specific requirements. Upfront planning is absolutely critical for success.”

Daniel Natoli, Managing Director, K2 Bespoke

Exceptional project management

Managing a VIP move is much like managing a project. It requires a budget, a plan and a timeline, plus tailoring in response to specific requirements. Upfront planning is absolutely critical for success.

Provide a clear brief – From the outset, develop a brief with clearly defined goals. Ensure that these goals are communicated to both your team and your chosen service partners.

Manage the budget – with high net worth individuals comes high expectations. Extra thought and care must be taken with budgeting and cost estimates in order to ensure that costs don’t begin to spiral out of control. There may also be additional relocation costs and remuneration elements that need to be factored into the budgeting equation.

Be clear on requirements when communicating with service partners – ask them to scope the project fully and commit to a budget for their support and services, as this will minimise additional charges and approval requests later on.

Resource carefully – The calibre of your service partners is hugely important. They must be experienced and fully accountable. Credibility, sound judgement and flexibility are key.

Ensure clear roles and responsibilities – there should be clear lines of responsibility both within your organisation and with specialist service providers. If you are engaging multiple vendors, make sure that each identifies a clear point of accountability – a senior and experienced individual within their organisation who can assume full responsibility. Clarity of roles and responsibilities will help avoid situations where something is missed because two parties each believed that the other was dealing with it.

Create a timeline – ensure that your specialist providers are aware of deadlines and key dates, and that any changes are communicated clearly to them.

Conduct regular progress reviews – Ensure that communications channels are always open and schedule regular progress reviews with your team and your vendors. This will allow you to keep a handle on deadlines, targets and costs.

Outsourcing and service partners

To meet the resource challenges that a business-critical move presents, you may need to outsource. But which areas should you consider outsourcing?

Financial and tax – A business-critical assignee’s financial affairs tend to be very complex.

Immigration – It can be very difficult to keep a handle on risks, costs and compliance.

Relocation and household goods –  a local provider comes with the local knowledge which can shift a move from being acceptable to being exceptional.

Specialist services –  high net worth assignees often require niche services such as the movement of a wine collection or the installation of a chandelier. Such collections/items have huge monetary value and cannot be put at risk through inexperience and lack of specialist equipment.

Once you’ve decided which areas you wish to outsource to experts, you must then begin the process of selecting your service partners. Before you begin, be aware that it is often not the range of services that is most relevant to the success of an assignment, rather the method of service delivery. Delivery should be customer- focused, flexible and proactive. Effective and timely communication is essential. A standard provider who is used to delivering formulaic, high-volume services may not have the experience required to manage a much more complex business-critical move. In this way, providers should be selected based on their ability to offer specialist expertise. Determine this by evaluating level of specialisation, track record, experience, responsiveness and level of decision-making authority.


Given the newsworthy nature of many business-critical relocations, how do you go about ensuring confidentiality?

Non-disclosure agreements – consider having key people – both internal staff and specialist providers – sign an NDA prior to commencing work on a move.

Discretion –  ensure that everyone working on the project uses discretion. Conversations and meetings should always be held confidentially. Discretion should also be applied when delivering services such as home searches, the processing of immigration papers, and household goods moves.

ISO 27001 data protection best practices – all parties concerned with the move should follow the strict confidentiality practices which form part of the ISO standards. The practices relate to how sensitive information is collected, processed, stored and shared. For example, individuals working on the move should consider where they are sitting and how visible their screen is to others. They should be aware of what they share via email, as well as who they share it with. And they should never forget the risks associated with holding personal data on unprotected laptops.

PR contingency planning – you should have the ability to manage any information leaks immediately, efficiently and effectively. Are your legal, PR and social media capabilities sufficient?

Security and duty of care

The level of personal security risk associated with a business-critical employee tends to be much higher than that of the general assignee population. For example, when moving to a hardship location there may be a risk of kidnapping or increased security threats to the assignee’s home. Consider what security measures you will provide and to what extent the security considerations will be integrated with the broader relocation requirements and processes.

Equally critical is having the right insurances in place. Consider insurance for health and medical, high value personal effects, evacuation and  kidnapping. In addition, ensure that you develop robust contingency plans – e.g. a disaster recovery plan – which will enable you to manage the situation effectively should things go wrong.

If you would like to discover more you can unlock the complete guide to Successful business-critical (VIP) assignments today.

Whether you wish to build a business-critical programme from scratch, or simply evolve/extend an existing programme, our experienced specialists are here to help, speak to a member of the K2 Bespoke team today.

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