employee ownership cultureWhen you select a service provider, in any industry, not just in global mobility, you’re also buying a culture. And cultural compatibility can be a critical part of a successful business relationship. While culture is usually a longstanding part of a company’s identity, it can be tested and changed by dramatic outside events—like a global pandemic.

Beyond health considerations, the pandemic upended most companies’ day-to-day operations, reducing the office-based workforce by 90% by some estimates. Organizations with office-based cultures and little experience with a dispersed workforce had to figure out the nuts and bolts of universal remote work: laptops, phones, videoconferencing technology, home office setups and protocols, security considerations, tech support and much more.

These were significant practical hurdles, but most companies overcame or at least muddled through them. However, given the urgency of health and practical work considerations, culture received little thought, especially in the pandemic’s early days. Culture, in many cases, is still locked in the office, frozen in time with the March 2020 desktop calendar pages and dried-up houseplants.

But this crisis turned out to be a moment for employee-ownership culture like TRC’s to shine. TRC employee-owners pivoted to an entirely virtual work environment in under 24 hours. With a significant permanent dispersed workforce, TRC already had the technology and remote work protocols buttoned down, and we could focus on delivering uninterrupted, seamless talent mobility services.

As owners with a stake in the business, we quickly rolled up our sleeves and concentrated on urgent client needs, like repatriating assignees under challenging conditions. We worked more closely than ever with our household goods, real estate, mortgage, visa and immigration and other partners to solve problems, overcome obstacles and get relocating employees settled and out of harm’s way. We implemented the client service, consulting, education and training and IT initiatives planned before the pandemic. And we continually celebrated one another’s successes, big and small, along the way.

Meanwhile, TRC’s leadership and ESOP Committee have worked hard to maintain TRC’s culture and camaraderie. Our team-building events have continued uninterrupted, albeit virtually, and Inc. even selected TRC as one of America’s Best Workplaces mid-pandemic. Like everyone, we miss personal engagement, and we look forward to in-person meetings with colleagues, corporate relocation clients and our partners. But we’ve learned that our employee ownership culture and commitment are strong enough to withstand and even thrive in a multi-year global pandemic.

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