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Relocation specialists HCR has moved to Belvedere House, on one of Basingstoke's top business parks, Basing View
A MAN who knows a thing or two about moving is Andrew Finney – the managing director of leading relocation specialists HCR Group.
The multi award-winning company, which scooped Business of the Year at the INSPIRE11 Business Awards, recently upped sticks itself and moved from Copenhagen Court, in New Street, to 10,000 sq ft of swish office space at Belvedere House on Basing View.
Voted by the industry as Relocation Service Provider of the Year, HCR is one of the country’s most successful business and employee relocation specialists.
Where an office or even a whole business needs to move, or where staff are required to relocate to another site, HCR’s team are there to ensure the whole process goes seamlessly as possible.
Andrew has headed the business for 18 years, and he is surely the right man for the job, as prior to settling in Basingstoke, he moved home no fewer than 22 times.
“That’s probably why I got the job,” said the former leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council .
Andrew came from a banking background before he took charge of what was then called Hambro Countrywide Relocation.
“We have kept the initials HCR because it gave a continuity of branding,” explained Andrew, who led a management buyout of the business from the Countrywide Group in June 2000.
Fully appreciating the upheavals and challenges of moving a business and its staff, Andrew was pleased HCR’s relocation went smoothly.
He said: “It’s always difficult when you ask people to undergo a change. For example, Copenhagen Court, where we were, is a very well-located office – very convenient for people to walk out into town.
“When we said we’re moving to Basing View some said ‘oh, it’s not so close to town and we like working here.’ But once people had been to Belvedere House and seen what’s here, and the working environment, I don’t think there is anybody who would volunteer to go back to where we were because the environment and facilities are such a big step up.”
Before HCR moved in, the office space, where the BE INSPIRED business event was held in April, was completely refurbished.
“We haven’t spent a fortune, but we have created a light, bright modern working environment,” said Andrew.
He is grateful to his staff for their co-operation and holds great stock in ensuring that he has a happy and content team at HCR.
Andrew said: “We’re very fortunate here in that we have a terrific team of people, and it is the team that make the business – not me or any one individual.”
In essence HCR offers bespoke services to its clients, as every business and individual has differing needs. HCR’s team assess those needs and offers appropriate services to meet a client’s budget.
“Obviously, if you are going to have the Rolls Royce hand-holding service, it’s going to cost more than if you want the practical advice service that shows you how to do it yourself efficiently,” said Andrew.
In fact, HCR offers a myriad of services, even to the extent of assisting employees in selling their homes so they can buy as cash buyers in their new location.
In the case where an employee is not moving on a permanent basis, HCR can arrange rented accommodation.
But moving location tends to have implications for others – husbands, wives and children. Again HCR is on hand to help, offering to give the low-down on local schools and offering assistance in finding a job for a spouse.
“Employers want their staff ready for the job, hitting the road and running, not worrying about getting a new house,” said Andrew.
Often HCR is tasked with winning over hearts and minds, as was the case when the Met Office relocated from Bracknell to Exeter.
As innovative as ever, HCR set up an interactive virtual tour operator to help persuade staff that Exeter is a great place to live and work.
Andrew said: “We set up Team Met and actually brought in some people from the Met Office and blended them with our team. They all had T-shirts with a weather map and Team Met on the back and we did a bit of team building.”
Team Met arranged familiarisation tours to Exeter, bussing people down to Devon, and showing them around the different housing areas of Exeter and its leisure facilities, and providing advice on issues such as schools.
Andrew described it as a familiar case of overcoming the fear of the unknown and resistance to change.
“From a business point of view, the Met Office wanted them to move and in the end we were successful as the employees were much more attuned to the idea.”
Business is going well for HCR, which has more than 115 corporate clients on its books and looks after 7,000 employees at any one time.
Andrew said: “I think the challenge we have, whether it’s with large or small businesses, is overcoming the great British DIY philosophy – why pay to move, because we can do it ourselves? And we aren’t really doing anything people can’t do themselves, but what we do is, we do it better. We know the pitfalls and we can avoid them. “We can actually smooth the way and lessen the pain and make it a cost-effective transition.
“There is very little in the property world that we haven’t seen over the years so we know what the issues are and we know what the challenges are, and we know what the solutions are.
“At one stage, we used to have staff with badges that said I am a solutions provider – give me a problem and I will give you a solution – because there is always a solution.”