While most people and organizations understand the value of providing settlement support to new employees who have chosen to relocate to London, I’ve had a lot of questions about what exactly I do, as well as how CityMatch differs from other relocation services. The best way for me to explain is to give you an inside glimpse into my day-to-day, and how CityMatch functions on the ground.
We all know that moving is stressful, distracting, a drain on productivity, and can be completely overwhelming for newcomers and the loved ones they often bring with them. So how exactly does CityMatch turn a stressful and often overwhelming process into a positive experience for everyone involved?
If these past three months since launching CityMatch have demonstrated anything, it has been that settlement support goes far beyond simply finding a home. Certainly a key piece of any settlement program is finding a suitable place to live, but we all know that newly relocated families need a lot more than a roof over their heads to thrive and establish meaningful lives in their new city.
The types of things I have been doing for my clients range and change constantly. I’m continually researching, tapping into my current networks, as well as making new connections to provide the best and most unique service possible.
Since launching CityMatch, some of the things I have done for my clients include:
- Toured apartments, condos, houses, neighbourhoods, and some pretty amazing furnished suites - we definitely need more of these in London!
- Built guided local and regional touring itineraries, so clients can get a feel for everything London has to offer, from dining and shopping to exploring many of the city's beloved places and events - including SunFest, Pride and the Western Fair Farmers Market.
- Searched for and found family physicians, dentists and also a wicked car detailing shop.
- Researched and booked site visits for daycare centres, as well as public and private schools.
- Investigated hiring a live in nanny, a live out nanny and au pair, and all the issues surrounding these various scenarios. By the way, I’m on the look out for a Hindi/Punjabi speaking nanny if you happen to know of anyone!
- Connected my clients to cultural organizations, places of worship, and provided curated opportunities to enable them to pursue their passions, and most importantly, make new friends and connections here in London.
Making connections is a key piece of the puzzle I provide to my clients. We all want our newly relocated employees to love their job, but we also know it’s important they love their community and thrive here. Translation? Making friends and connecting with people is key to a successful relocation.
With this in mind, I additionally serve as a social convenor for my clients. I’ve joined a client at a MeetUp group in the city and helped him connect with a local running group. Recently I assisted a Software QA Manager who wanted to find ways to establish connections with his professional peer group; together we talked to TechAlliance about launching a SQA peer-to-peer group and they loved the idea. He will soon champion this initiative, and I believe he will become a valued member of London’s technology community.
I’ve particularly enjoyed the International settlement work I have been doing and for this, I’ve organized meet and greet services at the airport, car rentals, and temporary accommodations in preparation for a house-hunting mission. As well, I’ve helped my clients set up a Canadian bank account, provided briefings on requirements for buying a home in Canada, and will soon be supporting them to secure health insurance, Social Insurance Cards, and car insurance among many other essential items.
Speaking of car insurance, did you know that you could be driving with a clear record for 20 years and when you move to Canada you go back to zero – that is without a bit of research and proper planning in advance of arrival. These are the kinds of things I make sure my clients are aware of, and guide them through the necessary steps so their relocation is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Most recently I have been hired to develop a preview trip plan for a professional couple as part of a local organization’s recruitment and attraction efforts. I will be meeting the prospective employee and her partner at the airport, touring them around the city, arranging their accommodations, developing their weeklong itinerary, booking meetings and serving as their guide to all things London so they have the needed information to make an informed decision and accept the job offer.
In a nutshell, my day-to-day is filled with whatever my clients need to ensure they have a soft landing, whether it’s prior to accepting their job offer or after they have already done so, all the while being constantly supported and informed. Talk to me in another two months and I can promise you this list will expand greatly. I look forward to adding to it in a myriad of ways as I continue to support my clients so they can build great fulfilling lives here in our London.