Paragon Relocation will be participating as a sponsor, member and exhibitor at the Worldwide ERC Global Workforce Symposium in Seattle October 27th – 29th. It’s not too late to join us! Take advantage of the Free Registration offer on behalf of Paragon Relocation and Worldwide ERC for corporate HR professionals who have not attended the Global Workforce Symposium in the last 3 years or more.
At the conference, stop by Paragon Relocation’s booth #415 for an opportunity to win a Starbucks gift basket valued at over $200! And don’t forget to follow Paragon Relocation on Twitter for conference updates and pictures. See you in Seattle!
Paragon is committed to global growth in the APAC region. Underscoring that commitment is the signing of two major Korean companies through Paragon Korea for destination services. As is indicated in the following article published in the Joongang Daily, Korea is a growing economy that is quickly becoming a top destination for global talent.
The Globalization of Jobs: The good and the bad of foreigners working at Korean firms
In recent years, the numbers of foreigners working at Korean companies has been growing as the 2008 global financial crisis has narrowed job opportunities in many advanced nations.
The global talent that has worked for several years in Korea say there are positive challenges as Korea is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, and there are great opportunities as many of the companies are advancing into the global market.
Foreign employees working in Korea mostly agree that one of the strengths of Korean companies is the work ethic and corporate commitment here.
“The Korean corporate environment in general promotes a very strong work ethic and employees tirelessly put in hours to support their companies,” said David James Biske, who has been working at GM Daewoo for six years and currently is the development director.
Biske said he joined GM Daewoo to experience life abroad while promoting his career development. But more importantly, he liked the challenge of working at the automaker just after it was acquired by GM in 2004.
Dana Lee, a Chinese woman who has been working at Hyundai Motor for the last five years, also praises the country’s work ethic.
“I believe that this is the reason for the country’s fast development,” Lee said. Lee studied at the Graduate School of International Studies at Sogang University before working at Hyundai.
“There are certainly differences between Korea and the U.S. that affect the work environment,” said Steve Frawley, the first non-Korean executive at SK Telecom. “The U.S. tends to place a greater focus on individualism versus collectivism in Korea.”
To read the rest of this article click here
The latest research by the Kenexa Research Institute suggests that an organization’s participation in corporate responsibility and environmentally friendly business practices has a significant influence on employee engagement and business outcomes. In the U.S., almost 50 percent of employees report working for a responsible organization . The report is based on the analysis of data drawn from a representative sample of workers surveyed through WorkTrendsT, KRI’s 2010 annual survey of worker opinions.
An organization that is considered to have a strong corporate responsibility climate is one where business choices are made that support environmental responsibility, its actions demonstrate a genuine commitment to corporate responsibility and it contributes to the communities where employees live and work.
Across all countries surveyed, working for an organization whose employees positively view corporate responsibility efforts has a significant, favorable impact on how they rate their pride in the organization, overall satisfaction and willingness to recommend it as a place to work. Furthermore, employees with favorable opinions of their organizations’ corporate responsibility activities are more likely to state an intention to stay.
“Our research clearly indicates that organizations operating with a strong corporate responsibility climate have more engaged, confident and customer oriented employees,” said Anne Herman, research consultant, Kenexa Research Institute. “It will be of great interest to senior leaders in organizations, however, that our, results also indicate that those organizations who implement corporate responsibility efforts outperform those organizations that do not on important financial metrics such as diluted earnings per share.”
Employees in today’s job market still care about the organization’s values and reputation. Previous research indicates that corporate responsibility plays an important role in attracting interested candidates. Employees indicate that their organizations’ corporate responsibility activities increase their overall job satisfaction. This is particularly true for those in upper and middle management roles and this knowledge can be a key tool in helping organizations achieve their retention targets.
Herman continued, “Despite the recession, organizations are still engaging in building socially responsible businesses. In fact, since 2008 there has been a slight increase in the number of organizations who can be described as having a strong corporate responsibility climate. For example, in the financial industry, three in four businesses reportedly operate with a strong corporate responsibility climate. In the case of financial services firms this may be in response to negative backlash to the activities that have occurred in recent years.
This article was published by HRO Today.
Click here for Paragon’s previous Facebook post about how Paragon gives back. While you’re there, “like” our page to get the latest Paragon news, informative articles and useful links about what’s happening in the relocation industry.
Message from Paragon CEO, Joseph Morabito
Continuous Improvement at Paragon
Paragon is committed to a continuous improvement process to create a better service experience for our clients and customers. As a result, we are spending a considerable amount of time and resources reviewing all aspects of our service elements to better understand things like response time, follow-up procedures and appropriate metrics to measure success. In addition, we have also under taken a complete review of all job descriptions related to those Paragon employees who directly touch our clients and customers, as well as the support functions necessary to our service implementation. Once completed, we will implement additional training to make certain that all our employees fully understand their roles, responsibilities and the new quality metrics in order to improve our services. To read more about our Continuous Improvement Initiatives please refer to the corresponding section below.
New Service: Pre-Decision Consulting
As our services continue to evolve in a never-ending process of improvement, we are now offering Pre-Decision Consulting Services implemented by Paragon Decision Resources, the consulting arm of our company. This is happening because we have clients who often implement more of a flexible benefits approach to relocation services and/or, specific to new hire candidates, a more tailored program than typical fixed plans. Since this approach usually involves 2 hours of consultation for a US Domestic Renter and up to 4 hours of consultation for a US Domestic Homeowner or International move, it cannot be done as part of our normal fixed plan authorization process. Pre-Decision Consulting Services often include an in-depth needs assessment, ordering of a broker market analysis to determine home value, consultation with client management as to plan design options, cost projections for budget purposes, development of an offer letter if required, policy counseling and then authorization into our relocation services.
PRISM 2.0 Update
We are very excited about the roll out of PRISM 2.0, the new and improved version of our automated Operations and Client/Customer Access system that will be completed by year end for most Paragon clients. We are carefully implementing a migration process from our old system to ensure a smooth transition. This new system will provide access to a broad variety of standard reports, as well as a means for custom reports through an ad hoc report writer feature. Our goal is to provide a high-touch, high-tech service experience for both our clients and customers. To read more about our PRISM 2.0 functionality please refer to the corresponding section below.
Location, Location, Location
We continue to grow our operations overseas. I am pleased to announce that by year-end we will establish Paragon Relocation – France to add to our Operations in The Netherlands, Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, South Korea, Hong Kong and the US. In addition, we are in the process of establishing a wholly-owned company on the mainland of China in Beijing to allow us to do business in China as Paragon Relocation, which also should be in place by year-end. Discussions are also under way to add to this list of countries as we extend the Paragon brand around the world. We also have affiliates in 150 countries.
We’re on the Move
Last year we moved into a new, expanded office location in Hong Kong. This year we will move our Danbury, Connecticut office to a new location. And, by next January, 2011, we will move our Dallas, Texas office to a new 23,000 square foot location to accommodate our growth in the US.
Introducing Paragon GeoImmigrationSM
To better support international relocation, we have established Paragon GeoImmigration, managed from our Dallas, Texas office in the US and Dublin, Ireland operations overseas to provide worldwide visa and immigration services. In doing so, we can provide single point of contact, cost effective visa and immigration services, including client and customer computer access to information to track all aspects of the immigration process. This new subsidiary will provide better, more consistent service and cost savings for our clients. To visit the Paragon GeoImmigration website, click here.
Even though the last few years have been challenging to say the least, I am pleased to report that Paragon is financially sound and moving forward on many fronts to improve and add to our service capabilities. Our talented and dedicated staff members continue to remain focused, disciplined and passionate in providing services for our clients and customers. While there are various external factors impacting our company and our clients that we can’t change, we are diligently working on all the things that are under our control and that we can change to improve our services. Most importantly and as always, we are thankful to our clients for their continued patronage and support.
by Steve Crispin
With the stabilization of the financial markets after the near meltdown of 2008, the mortgage industry has faded from the news in favor of other matters related to the world economy. However, the mortgage industry is still experiencing a heightened pace of change in reaction to the US real estate market. Borrowers who have not obtained a mortgage since before the financial meltdown, and even those who have not obtained one over the past 18 months, will face a different, regrettably more onerous, experience. Some examples of the more recent changes to the mortgage guidelines include:
- Higher down payments are required for those market areas deemed as “distressed markets”
- Financing for condos is especially difficult as lenders will restrict lending in certain condo developments based on overall occupancy, owner occupancy, quantity and amount of delinquent HOA dues and reserve levels of HO associations, among other factors
- FHA guidelines are not immune to these changes either, as FHA lenders raised the minimum credit score required and have raised the cost of FHA premiums across the board
- Guidelines are more restrictive as it relates to DTI (debt to income) ratios. Said differently, a higher income level will now be required to obtain any given loan compared to a year ago
- Borrowers are also expected to have higher reserve levels (home equity, investments, etc.) than before
- The items noted above, and others, are also true for Primary Residence purchases, refinances, and second home/non-owner occupied homes as well
Now, given this, the news is certainly not all doom and gloom. Mortgage rates are substantially lower than they have been in decades. As of September, they appear to have reached an equilibrium with no clear movement up or down. This means that for a significant percentage of homeowners out there, this is still an outstanding time to refinance. If a borrower can qualify based on the more stringent criteria, some of which are indicated above, the chances are that borrowers can save significant amounts of money by choosing to refinance.
PRISM 2.0 is currently being utilized by several of our clients, including Boston Market, Dematic, IDT and Hyundai. Our IT department is working with these clients to perfect the system before on-boarding our other clients in 2011. Paragon’s Consultants find PRISM 2.0 more efficient because it combines three systems into a new, user-friendly application. PRISM 2.0 not only promotes a paperless environment and offers an improved client interface, it helps clients with the following:
Online Authorization Process
The client can elect policy and optional benefits/exceptions for each employee.
The client has the ability to electronically send a cost estimate to the appropriate personnel, which streamlines the approval process.
Multi-layered Dashboard Data
The client can view relocation data graphically, by line item and then even the micro detail for each line item, which allows them to track each transferee’s relocation more closely.
Clients can customize the way PRISM 2.0 displays information to fit their specific needs.
Improved Online Expense Entry
Improved expense tracking and reporting allows clients to receive more details about individual employee expenses. Clients can also map expense entry items to their policy
Improved Relocation Status Tracking
The client can view each individual step in a specific relocation and monitor where the transferee is in the process.
Detailed Homesale Information
Clients now have the ability to view documents such as appraisals, inspections and broker market analyses, which help to organize the homesale process.
Improved Notes Section
Clients can sort notes by time, date, subject, attachments, etc. to find specific information more quickly and efficiently.
PRISM 2.0 offers clients a more robust online system and assists the client in overseeing and managing their relocation program in one centralized location. With PRISM 2.0, not only do we offer the best customer service and relocation program management, we offer the best-in-breed technology to our current and potential clients.
Continuous Improvement Initiatives/President’s Council
In an effort to enhance client relations, Paragon Relocation announced the creation of the President’s Council. Craig Selders, President of Paragon Relocation, will be hosting a quarterly open forum presentation to directly interact with client contacts. The council meetings are structured to provide a brief overview of industry changes and trends, along with Paragon-specific updates. After the presentation, the session is expanded into an interactive dialogue with Paragon’s President to address any questions, suggestions or concerns. The first President’s Council will be held October 26 at 10:00 am CST.
The President’s Council is part of an overall company-wide continuous improvement initiative in which Paragon is implementing ideas and suggestions from our employees, clients and customers. Employees were asked to submit innovative ideas and suggestions to improve Paragon’s service to clients and make Paragon an exceptional employer of choice. Employees earned $100 for every suggestion that was implemented.
As a result of employee suggestions, Paragon is implementing change in several core areas.
- We are changing our survey process to include a second survey; the first to be issued 30 days after service authorization and a final survey issued after the move has been completed, or at the conclusion of each year on assignment. These surveys will be used to measure performance at critical stages of the process to proactively address any service issues or concerns. We are redesigning customer and client surveys to gather even more meaningful information to better foster process improvement.
- We are adding a line to every employee’s e-mail signature that provides the name, phone number and email address of their direct supervisor in an effort to guarantee exceptional service.
- We have added an “Ask a Paragon Policy Expert” link on our website for current and prospective clients with questions regarding their relocation policies to receive immediate attention from our consulting group.
- We are establishing a Paragon Cares Community Service Award. This new program will recognize one employee each year for his/her community service to help change lives, or otherwise better their community. This award will be given out in December and the winner will receive a cash price of $500.
- We are donating $5 for every hour that a Paragon employee volunteers at a charitable organization to encourage community activism.
- We have designed a Wall of Fame on our intranet and our blog where client compliments and words of praise are displayed on a monthly basis. We collect these comments from our client surveys. Please refer to the scrolling comments on the right sidebar to see what our client are saying about us!
Visa and Immigration News
Paragon GeoImmigration Director, Elaine Martin, recently authored an article dealing with the Effect of Restructuring on Foreign National Employees which appeared in the July/August edition of the ACC Docket magazine. To read Elaine’s full article, click here.
Paragon’s Philanthropy in Action
Paragon Relocation recently donated $2,000 to the Boy Scouts of America to help sponsor their “Travel Around the World with Caterpillar and the Boy Scouts” dinner and fundraiser. Deborah Graham, Vice President of Global Client Relations, was on hand to represent Paragon. The event was held at a Caterpillar training and demo site in Edwards, IL. There were many varieties of CAT tractors on display and the Around-the-World theme was carried through the event with stations representing all the continents with food, drinks, dancing or region-specific animals on display. There was also a formal presentation awarding the Boy Scouts’ Distinguished Citizen’s Award to Caterpillar CEO, Jim Owens. The event was an overwhelming success raising over $400,000 for the Boy Scouts of America. Paragon is excited to be able to participate in such important charitable endeavors.
Recently, Paragon’s own Andrew Rees, Director of Business Relations, was featured in the Aperian Global newsletter. To learn more about Andrew, click here.
Paragon has a full schedule of fall exhibitions. Most recently, we exhibited at the 13th World HR Congress in Montreal, Canada on September 27-29, as well as the CIPS (Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply) Conference in London on September 23.
The CIPS conference, attended by Paragon Relocation’s Managing Director, Liam Brennan and Director of Global Business Development, Barrie Gilmour, provided a networking forum for global procurement professionals to discuss issues facing buyers today and to promote procurement best practices.
The theme of the conference “Driving Business; Delivering Opportunity; Directing the Future” focused on a wide range of procurement issues incorporating outsourcing processes as well as the financial, legislative and legal aspects of procurements through a mix of keynote sessions and interactive workshops.
We hope that you will join us at the following upcoming Conferences and Exhibitions:
Worldwide ERC®, Global Workforce Symposium
October 27-29, 2010
Come by Booth 415 and register to win a great prize!
CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) Conference
November 9-11, 2010
Come visit us at Booth F70
The Homebuyer credit of up to $8000 has expired, unless a binding contract for purchase was in place by April 30, 2010. If such a contract was in place,
Congress has extended the date to September 30 by which the sale must be closed. Although there have been a couple of bills introduced, there is no current activity by Congress to further expand the credit.
The credit as originally enacted in 2008 was not really a credit, but a loan. Recipients had to pay it back over 15 years beginning with the 2nd year following the purchase, with the entire repayment due in a year in which the home was sold or was no longer the primary residence. Congress, though, revised and extended the law in 2009 and eliminated the repayment requirement unless the home was sold or ceased to be used as the principal residence within three years of purchase. However, this change applied only to purchases in 2009 (and later, in 2010). Those who bought a home in 2008 are still subject to the original repayment requirement no matter how long they may stay in the home.
Companies are beginning to be confronted by claims from transferees that they will have to pay back the credit to the government if the company moves them within the three years of the home purchase.
For those who bought in 2008, the credit must be repaid whether or not they are relocated. The relocation simply accelerates the repayment.
For transferees who bought in 2009 or 2010, companies need to be advised that the credit is only required to be repaid up to the amount of gain on sale. With the current trend of home values decreasing, if the transferee did not have a gain on the home sale, no credit repayment is required. Even though the credit must be subtracted from basis in computing gain, for sales within three years by transferees there will ordinarily be no gain, or not enough to require repayment of the full credit.
Transferees who do not sell the home in the old location present a different issue. Since they cease to use the home as their principal residence they will have to repay the credit. Employers will need to consider that the decision not to sell, rather than the relocation itself, may be the principal reason why the credit repayment was required. Transferees who choose not to sell may do in order to avoid incurring a loss, but had they sold and incurred the loss, the credit would not have had to be repaid. A “one-size-fits-all” policy may not be applicable in such circumstances.
Companies who are willing to compensate transferees for a credit repayment due to a relocation should do their due-diligence to determine whether any credit repayment is actually necessary, or whether the claim for compensation is playing on sympathy.