Written by: Kaltra Imeralilai

With an incredible drive again behind our tech offering, improved service processes, the rapid expansion of our Ireland Office, and great additions to the team, 2022 has been more than successful! Well done Team Cornerstone!
 

Enhancing our tech… 

The Power Behind the Cornerstone Experience! 

Cornerstone always has one eye on innovating and advancing our tech offering, and 2022 has been no different…  

The last couple of years really have reinforced, for all of us, the importance of being able to access local, professional advice, and information virtually alongside the adaptation – where necessary – to virtual services too. With this in mind, it is then no surprise when we believe that Tech is imperative to the future of relocation! At Cornerstone, we are building our technological solutions with the user experience at the forefront of everything we do. We are pleased to say that our team’s hard work during 2022 has paid off, and as we approach the new year, our objective of launching our new internal systems during the first quarter of 2023 is well underway! 

So how have we achieved this?  

Our internal system, affectionately known in-house as ‘Halo’ was a solution we built out of the box a few years ago, however during 2022, and with the expansion of our service offering, we realized it needed a revamp and rebuild! To achieve this, we used one of the applications within the software that is the digital equivalent of a blank sheet of paper and where you can build anything from scratch! It was a really interesting process as our Tech Lead worked closely with all team members across many roles in workshops to glean how they worked, what their processes were, and what data they captured. Brainstorming all the potential scenarios that could arise for each service, and then translating this information to a language the programmers would understand – programmers who do not know the industry at all – was quite a challenge, but in doing so, and by building process workflows, and understanding at which junctures in the process data was captured, we could analyse our entire operations model. In formulating how we want our tech to behave and how the system could automate administrative and bureaucratic tasks, we could free up time that our team could direct towards more face-to-face support for our assignee populations! Not only were we able to create and build a better solution, but at the same time, we were able to reflect on the efficiency of our operations, and identify where we could improve them. Win, win! 

Expanding our Team 

Damon Ward – Executive Director  

One of the most noteworthy facts about 2022 is Damon’s addition to the team. Damon brings almost thirty-five years of Global Mobility experience, joining Cornerstone as the Executive Director. Welcome on board! 

Damon has worked for some of the sector’s largest RMCs and across a broad range of disciplines including global sales and team development, client services and management, client implementation, business start-ups, and acquisitions. He really does bring an immense wealth of knowledge to a hungry and dedicated team. If that isn’t enough, Damon is also a technical advisor to the RES forum.  

At the time of Damon starting with us we asked how he felt about joining Cornerstone and what his thoughts were, he had the following to say: 

‘I am so excited to be joining such a dynamic and empowered group of people. The sense of purpose within the team is really motivating; and being given the opportunity to help shape and deliver Jason’s vision for the business, our people, and valued clients is a real privilege!’ 

We are thoroughly enjoying working with Damon, and he has gelled with the team almost instantaneously, which is something not always easily done when you join a close-knit team. The only thing left to be said is that we really are excited about what 2023 brings with Damon’s influence and leadership!  

New clients… 

2022 has been a great year for Cornerstone when it came to winning new clients across different sectors, as we now service companies across Retail, Pharmaceutical, Engineering, Tech, Finance, Construction, Government Services, and Immigration! With this expansion, naturally came a growth in our geographical reach with services happening not only all over the UK and Ireland now, but also Internationally, particularly into the US, Canada, and Singapore. Much time and effort were spent recruiting the right individuals in-house to cope with demand, consultants on the ground, and trusted partners in further reaching regions. It has been an exciting and rewarding year to see that we have honed services underpinned by tech that can respond to a myriad of clients all with differing needs and requirements. Well done team! 

Expansion of the Irish Office…

As we came out of the pandemic and into 2022, we have seen Ireland’s commerce boom with rapid expansion in Dublin, Cork, and in fact Ireland as a whole. This, in conjunction with all building and development work ceasing during the pandemic, meant the Irish rental market was extremely challenging this year. According to the latest Daft.ie Rental Report, the cost of rent increased in the first quarter of 2022, with the average rent rising by over 11%. By Q3 there was an 81% decrease in available properties compared to early 2021. The rise was a result of the high demand, and at one stage, incredibly, there were just 851 properties listed nationwide, which is the lowest number ever recorded by Daft. 

In recognition of this, throughout the year our team in Ireland has adapted, changing operational processes to cater to an increasingly fast-paced, competitive market especially when it came to Home Finding. Property viewings required high flexibility as appointments were ‘released’ with very little advance notice, and we prepared the assignee to be available for the required slots as they presented themselves. In addition, many agents were only showing properties at specific times and didn’t entertain rescheduling requests. Some agents and landlords were asking potential applicants to provide references in advance (work offer letter, previous landlord references, bank statements, personal BIO) so potential tenants could be pre-screened even before a viewing would be ‘offered’. Other agents and landlords started to carry out affordability checks – something historically the Irish Rental market has not done – to ensure that potential tenant’s income would sufficiently cover the rent payments. Finally, the norm became that there was also a ‘first-contact-first-serve’ viewing policy which was commonly restricted to the first 10-15 applicants only! Faced with these challenges and in response to client requirements, we designed and implemented a number of new services including our property sourcing and management service. Considering market conditions and demands, this service has proven extremely successful and popular with our clients, so, well done, again, team!  

Cornerstone won new clients across a number of sectors, including healthcare and retail, and through these clients, we began to evidence significant expansion into Cork, and we predict this is going to continue well into 2023. Cornerstone has spent 2022 cementing connections with agents and private landlords so that we can be the first to spot the property and start the conversation on behalf of our clients. So, yes, it has been challenging, but the investment of time, and in recruiting the right individuals in Ireland this year, has meant we have nurtured a talented team whilst building more agile services. A combination that has overcome the extremely difficult market! 

To wrap up 2022. Many thanks to our loyal clients, trusted and supportive service partners, and of course, all of the fantastic and interesting employees whom we’ve had the pleasure of supporting. From everyone at Cornerstone, we wish you a happy, healthy, and restful holiday season, and furthermore a successful, exciting, and again, happy new year! 

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