Knowledge sharing: learning from the Relocate Awards

The Relocate Awards 2020 provided a showcase for best practice both in the arena of relocation and global mobility, and also for global people management. Much can be learned through the sharing of knowledge from the Award winners and other entrants in terms of strategic and operational excellence.

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Summer Issue 2020 cover image
This article is taken from the latest issue of Relocate magazine – the must read for HR, global managers and relocation professionals.
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All businesses are repositories of knowledge. Knowledge is explicit and tacit. Explicit knowledge is readily accessible, often being incorporated into text (such as policies and other written materials) and is thus readily available to read, digest and embrace.Tacit knowledge is personal, context specific and more difficult to communicate as it is held by individuals. Often individuals are unaware ofthe knowledge that they hold, using it daily with ease but not necessarily recognising its significance to the business or to others in the workforce.The Relocate Awards are a valuable way of making tacit knowledge explicit – and for the good of everyone in our sector and the people we support.

Making the difference - sharing tacit knowledge

Accessing tacit knowledge is critical for organisational success. Businesses cannot move forward without the contributions oftheir people. It is here that being able to draw upon tacit knowledge becomes of immense significance. As such it is important to overcome both the paradoxes of tacit knowledge transfer and evaluation.In the transfer paradox valuable tacit knowledge is the ‘stickiest’ challenge; in the evaluation paradox it is valuable tacit knowledge that is the most difficult to evaluate and assess.Knowledge diversity is an asset if it is shared effectively. However, this hinges on ability and willingness to disseminate and absorb information. For example, disseminating information by using examples of problem solving drawn from people’s tacit knowledge can assist in the creation of explicit knowledge.HRM practices that influence knowledge absorption include job design, performance management, and rewards and incentives. Structural mechanisms such as teamwork, the use of virtual working, social media and communities of practice all support knowledge dissemination and absorption.A social architecture that maximises the value ofsocial capital via networks, underpinned by a shared global mind-set, also supports enhanced knowledge diversity.

Learning from the awards

The 2020 Relocate Awards set out to showcase excellence across a range of relocation and global people management areas with a focus on local, regional and global examples. In so doing, the Awards aimed to demonstrate examples of best practice/best fit in the context of specific countries, regions and across the world. Organisations of all sizes could demonstrate their approaches and share some explicit and tacit knowledge under 15 categories.
  • Excellence in Relocation Management or Mobility Support
  • Best Service Apartment Provider – Country/Local
  • Best Service Apartment Provider – Regional/Global
  • Best International Removals Provider
  • Excellence in Technology or Analytics – Corporate
  • Excellence in Technology or Analytics – Employee or Family
  • Excellence in Employee Experience or Family Support
  • Destination Service Provider of the Year – Country/Local
  • Destination Service Provider of the Year – Regional/Global
  • School Providing Outstanding Relocation Support
  • Excellence in Education Consultancy/Support
  • Excellence in Corporate and Service Provider Partnership
  • Best Resourcing, Talent, L&D, Coach Professional or Initiative
  • Best Sustainability or Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative
  • Best Research Contribution, Thought Leadership or Book

The entrants were required to present evidence of excellence in the following relocation/global people areas:

  •  An exceptional quality and personalised mobility experience or an exceptional global people management experience
  •  A responsive, resource-efficient and cost-effective service or a forward-looking global people management approach improving business outcomes
  •  A committed, engaged, and passionate workforce.

Entrants in the research contribution category were asked to demonstrate:

  • Contribution to knowledge and advancement of understanding of global people management
  •  Impact and implications for practice
  • Innovation and best practice.

Learning from excellence

The Awards specifically required organisations to distil learning from problem solving and to give examples in practice, highlighting their learning from this.Examples given were taken from local level (eg in specific countries) and/or drawn from wider geographies (regions or globally). By setting out the context of problems encountered and how these were solved, entrants enabled the transfer of tacit knowledge into explicit, written, knowledge that could be shared with the judging team. Through this, the judges were able to see how Award entrants had found novel solutions to complex issues.Organisations entering the Awards were able to support the different sections oftheir entry with relevant documentation and many also provided a short video clip to demonstrate the culture/ ethos of their business.Supporting documentation such as testimonials and screenshots of technology solutions, along with corporate videos, provide examples of explicit knowledge that can easily be shared (for instance clients can see these online).However, the key knowledge transfer came from the examples of how difficult issues were managed because these were contextualised by the situation described and examples given demonstrated innovative means ofresolving organisation, employee, and/or family concerns.

Behind the headlines

Going behind the headlines of which organisation won each category, the Relocate Awards Supplement 2020 shares knowledge via a wide range of examples of exceptional mobility or global people management experiences giving details ofresponsiveness, resource efficiency, cost-effectiveness and improved business outcomes that very much impressed the judges.The importance of this publication lies in its success in translating tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge such that all can benefit from the learning points. The write-ups ofthe Award winners’ practices in the Relocate Awards Supplement 2020 act as a knowledge repository of ‘best practice’ and ‘best fit’ examples for all in the global mobility/people management industries.One of the key messages though that came across strongly to the judging team was the emphasis on excellence in managing the internal and wider (sometimes outsourced) workforce. Staff commitment, engagement and passion shone through the winning entries (and many of those that did not win but still exhibited excellent practice). It was particularly notable that efforts to foster trust, autonomy and motivation made a huge difference to the business success outcomes of all the Awards entrants.With leadership and management approaches that cultivate diversity and inclusion, employee development, and support networking via internal and external partnerships, people perform better. Examples of charitable activities and sustainability initiatives were also great employee motivators.It was the exceptional performance ofthe workforce, working under great leadership, which enabled the generation ofexcellent business outcomes. And the key learning point? Leadership and management of people and HRM practices matter hugely in organisational success.Dr Sue Shortland was a Head Judge for the Relocate Awards and Think Global People Awards 2020. Dr Shortland is a Senior Lecturer in HRM at the University of Westminster and also holds the honorary title of Professor Emerita at London Metropolitan University. She is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Sue is an active researcher and has published widely in academic journals and practitioner publications.
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