As business becomes increasingly global, relocation and mobility are high on the agenda for many organisations. The winners of the annual Re:locate Awards, which recognise the specialist contribution of companies and individuals involved in relocation, were announced and presented with their trophies on Thursday 10 May 2012 at a champagne reception and gala dinner held at London’s Institute of Directors. Among the awards presented were Best Relocation Strategy/Policy and Inspirational HR Team of the Year.

In what was the best year yet for entries, all the available dinner tickets were sold well in advance, and there was a buzz of excitement as guests from across the relocation spectrum – including both HR professionals and suppliers – networked the night away and awaited the announcement of the winners. They were entertained and inspired by this year’s celebrity host and guest speaker, broadcaster and travel presenter Adrian Mills.

Speaking before the gala dinner, Fiona Murchie, managing editor of Re:locate, the magazine for HR professionals, global managers and relocation specialists, who established the Re:locate Awards in 2007, said, “This year’s record number of entries and huge increase in dinner bookings demonstrate that, as we had hoped, these awards have become the ultimate recognition of excellence in all aspects of relocation, both here in the UK and internationally. We had to make extra places available in order to accommodate everyone who wanted to attend the gala dinner, but it was well worth it.”

The standard of entries has continued to rise. Explained Fiona Murchie, “As the judges said, there have been some stunningly impressive entries this year. It’s clear that, when compiling their submissions, entrants took inspiration from the judges’ comments on previous years’ winners. This is resulting in a year-on-year rise in standards, which means that the awards are truly promoting best practice.”


The winners

Between them, this year’s ten Re:locate Awards recognised individuals, teams, policy and innovation, with a choice of categories for HR and service providers. Entries were subjected to rigorous scrutiny by a team of independent judges.

The shortlist, which included companies and individuals from the UK and overseas, reflected the many different types of organisation involved in relocation, from HR people to specialist support providers of various kinds, including serviced apartment companies, removals experts and relocation management companies, all of which contribute a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Large companies like Crown Relocations, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Cartus and Interdean were side by side with smaller ones.

Pricoa Relocation UK (now Brookfield Relocation Services) took the award for Best Relocation Strategy/Policy. The judges praised the company for its strategic approach to addressing the challenges presented to relocation by one of the biggest events in UK history, the London 2012 Olympic Games, and described its clear emphasis on cost control and non-profiteering as “helping to show the UK in a positive light”. As one judge said, “Pricoa appears to be setting industry standards here.”

Said Pricoa’s David Brady, “The Olympics are a great opportunity for Pricoa, and for London. Our win is all about teamwork: clients and suppliers, as well as our people, all pulling together.”

The award for Inspirational HR Team of the Yearwent to retailer John Lewis for its commitment to best practice in mobility across John Lewis and Waitrose, and, in particular, for its Branch of the Future change initiative,

which affected 3,300 employees. The judges called this “an inspirational example of how some of the most challenging of HR change management activities involving large-scale restructuring can be led and managed effectively, and a valuable message to others.”

Accepting the award on behalf of John Lewis, Claire Herbert said, “We try to do our best for our partners and the communities in which we trade. Thank you for this welcome recognition.”

It was not only larger organisations that tasted success. The Excellence in Employee & Family Support award, for example, went (for the second year running) to London-based FOCUS, whose small but dedicated team supports expatriates and their families living in the South East. Receiving the award, FOCUS’s Alessandra Gnudi commented, “The whole team is delighted to have won this award, particularly for the second time. We thank Re:locate for introducing a category that recognises the importance of the partner and family to a successful relocation.”

The award for Relocation Service Provider or Team of the Year was won by Interdean Relocation Services, while PricewaterhouseCoopers triumphed in the Technological Innovation in Relocation category for its TravelWatch system, which provides a comprehensive solution to the issue of business traveller tracking. The highlight of the evening was the announcement of Relocation Personality of the Year. To reflect the increasingly international scope of the Re:locate Awards and the exceptional calibre of the shortlist, the judges made two presentations. Joseph Morabito, of Paragon Global Resources, was named International Relocation Personality of the Year, while Margaret Moes, of Clearview Relocation, became UK Relocation Personality of the Year.

The Re:locate Awards 2011/12 were sponsored by Cartus, Interdean International Relocation, MoveAssist International, NatWest Global Employee Banking, Pro-Link GLOBAL, SIRVA Relocation and Weichert Relocation Resources. Beswick Relocation Services, Paragon Relocation, Pricoa Relocation and TEAM Relocations were Supporters, and the Association of Relocation Professionals (ARP), the British Association of Removers (BAR), the European Relocation Association (EuRA), FIDI Global Alliance, FOCUS and the Relocation Users Group (RUG) provided professional endorsements.

The Summer 2012 issue of Re:locate, to be published in June, will feature full details of the winners, with case studies.