Utilizing Technology to Make a New City Feel Like ‘Home’

Danny Herskowitz leads Elliott Scott Mobility in New York, an arm of Elliott Scott HR that focuses on the recruitment of global mobility and relocation professionals. He recently sat down with Lynn Greenberg, Co-Founder & CEO of Pivt, a company mobility app designed to reduce churn and improve the well-being of relocated and mobile employees.

Tell us about Pivt
Pivt is the first mobility focused social networking app designed to help transferees and their families make their new city feel like ‘Home’. Pre and post move, Pivt helps transferees plan for their new post, meet quality friends, and acclimate once they arrive. Pivt’s distinct features like GPS locator, community feed, and company social calendars, make it the best place to connect with others in a similar situation, source trusted advice, make plans to meet socially, and orient right away.

What led you to found Pivt?
I relocated to London to work for Bloomberg without knowing anyone. While I was there, I faced the same challenges and anxiety that so many of us experience when moving to a new and unfamiliar place: How do I go about finding information on my city from people I trust and how do I build my network from scratch?

As it turns out, the #1 concern for relocated employees is their social wellbeing. Despite the fact that companies spend millions of dollars annually on relocation packages, the most important piece is left out, social tools. This leads to high employee turnover and inefficiencies. I was determined to find a better way. Pivt initially launched a consumer app, but shortly after launch, we were approached by corporations and relocation companies about building a “Pivt” business platform for their relocated and mobile workers. Turns out that despite the fact that companies (on average) spend $90K to relocate each employee, more than 1/3 leave their post early due to social reasons. After extensive research, the market demand became apparent, and we revamped our consumer platform to best fit business needs (we are very excited by the market opportunity).

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve found employees face when relocating to a new a place?  
As mentioned, social wellbeing is the #1 concern of relocated employees. The most vulnerable time for transferees and their families is before the move, when they are concerned about logistics like where to send their kids to school, who they know in their new city, and anxiety about how the whole move will pan out for them and their families. Likewise, once the RMC’s and DSP’s are done with the transferee, they are left with no one to answer questions and help them once they’re there.

Can you provide us with any case studies or testimonials from those that have benefited from using Pivt? 
One user commented: “As a relocation client almost a dozen times, the greatest and rarely addressed challenge we faced was getting connected to the local resources needed for a successful transition before, during and after the move. We needed reliable sources to find schools long before we arrived to be shown homes with an agent who often didn’t have the necessary knowledge for our particular needs. This was especially true when we moved to an unfamiliar city following an Expat assignment and asked our agent for help finding an International Baccalaureate program. She provided us inaccurate information resulting in a missed opportunity to enrol our children in a nearby IB school — resulting in my son changing high schools for a 3rd time in 3 years. A platform like Pivt is needed to connect with other Expats and Repats living in the area in order to get connected to the resources we needed to fit our unique needs that a local agent might not understand.”

What current trends are you seeing in the Global Mobility space? 
When it comes to the current state of the Global Mobility space finding innovative solutions is no longer a nice to have, it’s a core, competitive business need. I am also seeing that relocated employees are returning at an alarming rate because the number 1 concern for them isn’t being addressed; social well-being.

I am also seeing the industry break outside of the traditional relocation packages to include flexibility and less support from RMC’s and Lump Sum relocations are rising as well.

What areas of the Global Mobility function do you think could be improved?
Adaptation to technology and new solutions. Unfortunately the mobility industry is still very behind other industries in terms of adopting new technologies that can tremendously improve employee experience and company ROI. I would also say emphasis on employee wellbeing and experience. We are seeing now more than ever, that doing the right thing to improve employee experience, also results in higher company ROI. We also need to provide more pre and post move attention to transferees- employee churn occurs when transferees and their families feel unsupported and unable to adapt. Pivt provides a cost efficient, hand-held solution that companies can provide to their transferees to resort to pre and post move.

I would also say that the prioritization of family members is lacking, a majority of relocations fail not because the relocated employee is unable to adapt, but because their family members are unable to. A holistic approach that includes the family is very much needed.

How is Pivt responding to COVID-19 and can using your mobility app help people better navigate through this challenging global epidemic? 
A friend of mine said it best: “I wish people would stop calling it “social” distancing, as its physical distancing we need to do. The social part cannot be eliminated and, in fact, is fundamentally essential for us all to carry on.”

Over the last couple of weeks Pivt has gotten an outpouring of emails from companies that are rightfully concerned about their employees’ and clients’ social wellbeing during COVID-19. Deep in Coronavirus quarantines, transferees are longing for the familiar, ‘home’, a sense of belonging and connectedness amid the magnified crisis, anxiety, loneliness, fear, and confusion that is an inevitable part of all of our lives at this time. Most recently, we have spoken to transferees who have said that they have inundated HR Departments, RMC’s, and DSP’s with calls regarding mental health concerns, uncertainty, and questions about what’s next.

The reality is, transferees face many of these issues not just during this time of crisis, but in their everyday lives; they want to be in control of their own happiness in their new city, but do not know where to start. Imagine what they are feeling now. What Pivt is giving these employees and their family members is a solution in the palm of their hands (especially important while in quarantine and alone) to source advice, connect to others who are in a similar situation, and seek community. Business continuity, ROI, and transferee churn will ultimately depend on how companies react to this. Hopefully this pandemic will make more of us aware of the effects of loneliness and the importance of mental health and wellbeing, towards everything we do. Amid the circumstances, we are offering companies that sign up in the month of April, the first month free. Hopefully this will incentivize companies to give this to their employees now, when they need it the most.

It was great to speak with Lynn and learn more about Pivt. It was fascinating to get some more insight on her business and the value she is providing to individuals that are finding themselves in a new place. I enjoyed learning about Lynn’s journey to launching Pivt and how her own personal experience inspired her to create a platform that improves the well-being of relocated and mobile employees.

To get in touch with Lynn Greenberg to learn more about Pivt you can reach her at lynn@pivtapp.com and to get in touch with myself Danny Herskowitz, you can reach me on dbh@elliottscotthr.com to discuss the market or to assist with your search within the Global Mobility industry.

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