Move Advocates Make Relocating No Big Deal

     

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This article orginally appeared on wework.com.

From an early age, Moné McLucas knew that she had good people skills.

“My mom calls me a social butterfly,” she says with a smile. “We knew when I was pretty young that I wouldn’t have a problem interacting and engaging with people—that’s one of my gifts.” 

For her current job, that personality type comes in handy. McLucas and her colleague, Morgan Woodhouse, work for the talent-mobility cloud platform MOVE Guides. They’re known as “Move Advocates,” meaning they’re the dedicated point people for employees being relocated to a different city.

“You get people who are just, ‘this is no big deal,’ who’ve done this many times before,” says Woodhouse. “And then you get people for whom this is just the biggest deal in the world, and you’re holding their hand throughout the whole thing.”

Both McLucas and Woodhouse have themselves been relocated—the former from Santa Barbara, where she originally worked in real estate sales, and the latter from Maine, where she grew up and attended college. Coming to San Francisco for their jobs has entailed more than its fair share of culture shock. They both work out of WeWork Transbay.

“It’s a totally different lifestyle here,” says McLucas, whose Southern California roots haven’t prepared her for life in the Bay Area. “I’m just enjoying all the city has to offer. I don’t even think I’ve scraped the surface of what’s here, what’s available.”

Woodhouse is of the same mindset.

“I’ve been here for six months now, which has flown by, and I still feel like I’m pretty new, but it’s an incredible city,” she says. “And there’s no Maine winter, so that makes it that much better.”

Since their jobs require them to work directly with people undergoing similar transitions, their experience with the process has been a valuable asset.

“I tell people that I just moved here, so we have an instant connection,” Woodhouse says. “If they’re really nervous, we can help them feel comfortable with all the knowledge we have.”

But there’s more to relocation services than just being able to step into a client’s shoes. The profession also requires a certain outlook, a commitment to assisting others that Woodhouse says is key to success.

“We’re looking for people that want to provide a ‘we’re here to help you’ energy, to take the stress out of someone’s move, to make it as seamless as possible,” says Woodhouse. “So if we just come forward with that attitude, that really is something that sets MOVE Guides apart from other relocation companies.”

And make no mistake—their job involves much more than a few phone calls every now and then. They’re in charge of finding temporary housing, providing city transportation guides, making sure their clients’ belongings are properly transported, and numerous other services tailored to the needs of each employee or family. They work with people at all levels of a company’s power structure, from the lowest rungs to the top brass.

McLucas’s favorite type of client? 

“The interns,” she says. “This is their first time out, they’ve just graduated, and you’ve got this company who’s providing them with a great relocation package.”

You’d think that with a career as demanding as theirs, it would be difficult to strike a good work-life balance. But the advantage of working for a global company is that someone—whether in Hong Kong, London, or any of the company’s other offices—is always on call, ready to respond to an employee’s concerns. After McLucas and Woodhouse leave work at 6 p.m., their phones stay pretty quiet, allowing them to have some fun and build a sense of community with their co-workers.

“We’re very social,” says McLucas. “I like to say that we’re the MOVE Guides family—we spend a lot of time out of the office, because all of us have relocated to the San Francisco area and left our families. I think all next week, we’re booked—everything from Bocce Club to just going out to dinner.”

Woodhouse agrees. “I think that’s important,” she says, “especially in a growing company or a startup, to just be able to work hard while you’re at work, but to get to know each other outside of work as well.”

In their free time, McLucas and Woodhouse are immersing themselves in their new environment, carving out their San Francisco niches. Woodhouse, who played soccer in college, is scoping out a league, as well as taking advantage of nearby hiking trails.

And McLucas? “My passion is working with youth,” she says, “so I do a lot of volunteer work here twice a week.” For someone who makes a living interacting with stressed-out, disoriented employees—with babes in the woods, so to speak—that should come as no surprise.

by Henry Robinson

MOVE Guides delivers full mobility program management to companies like Societe Generale, SurveyMonkey, Stripe and more. Visit www.moveguides.com to learn how we do it.

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Sean Pratt