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From mid-November 2022 to the end of April 2023, Senior Relocation Manager Vicki Hutchinson went on secondment to one of K2’s clients.

Having given Vicki a couple of months to settle back in to life at K2, we took some time to speak with her about her secondment experience, discussing challenges overcome, knowledge gained and the value of secondment opportunities.

How did the secondment opportunity come about?

Our client’s Global Mobility Team had recently gone through a number of personnel changes. For K2, this provided an opportunity to not only support the new team members, but also to gain a valuable insight into exactly how their GM Team operated. Within two weeks of both parties signing off on the secondment, I was setting myself up in their offices.

What did the opportunity see you doing?

I went in to support the day-to-day running of the Global Mobility Team. I worked on cost projections, assignment letters and initiations. I also took part in internal briefing calls and worked closely with assignees, mostly on permanent transfers. A typical day would see me liaising with the client on the progress of visa applications, discussing tax implications with EY, and communicating with my fellow Relocation Managers at K2 about shipping and housing.

What challenges did you encounter?

I took 39 K2 cases with me when I moved over, which meant that I had to divide my time between my K2 work and my secondment role. I had to take two laptops with me wherever I went – it felt very much like I was constantly playing tennis! In addition, for security and compliance reasons, I wasn’t granted access to all of the data that I needed in order to carry out my role effectively, therefore I had to rely upon my new team members to fill in the gaps for me. Luckily, the team were very helpful and supportive, plus the need to work so closely together really catalysed the development of our professional relationship.

To what extent do you feel that your secondment was a valuable experience?

It was 100% a valuable experience. For me, the time I spent on secondment taught me how to manage the relationship between the K2 Team and the client GM Team more effectively. A relationship is never built in a day, but spending a significant amount of in-person time with the people you are working with really strengthens the bond of trust between you. Whilst I can’t speak for the client Team, I hope that my presence gave them greater visibility of what goes on on the K2 side of the fence, providing them with a deeper understanding of exactly how we manage a relocation, and how we bring the K2 touch, the personal touch, to every aspect of the process.

There is a direct correlation between depth of understanding and the strength of a relationship, and the stronger a relationship, the more fruitful it is likely to be. I think that for the client, my secondment helped to reinforce the fact that their relationship with K2 is more than just a contractual arrangement; it is a true partnership.

What advice would you give to others who accept a secondment opportunity?

Try to build a clear picture of exactly what is expected of you in advance. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really able to do this because everything happened so quickly for me – this meant that I started a little bit on the back foot and had to work especially hard to get up to speed. In addition, don’t take the opportunity for granted: a secondment puts you in the privileged position of having access to knowledge which will help you to grow professionally and strengthen your relationship with a client. A secondment should be embraced with open arms and appreciated for the unique learning opportunity that it is.

Client secondments are just one of the things that makes K2 a Great Place To Work®

It’s hard to capture the true culture of any company and put it into words. We stopped trying, we simply called it Q, and when you know, you know. Joining us won’t teach you Q, it’s something you’ll have before being here. But when you arrive, it’ll flourish. If you think you have Q and would like to join the K2 family, drop us a message through our careers pages.

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