Relocation & HR Trends

Chicago Tech Scene: What You May Have Missed This Week

Posted by Kinga Skowronek on Oct 2, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Tchicago tech sceneop news from the Chicago Tech Scene anyone?

You've come to the right place. I think it's safe to say that we at UrbanBound are very proud of our hometown, as are most Chicagoans.

From sports to pizza, skyscrapers to music and everything in between, Chicago inhabitants take great pride in everything that comes out of the Windy City. 

Here at UrbanBound we focus on the tech. Check out the top news you have may have missed this week from Silicon Prairie (verdict still out on that moniker):


Avant: A Chicago Unicorn

Avant, one of Chicago’s fastest-growing startups, made a huge announcement with their Series E funding: Oh Look, a Chicago Unicorn: Avant Just Raised a $325M Round at a $1B Valuation writes Chicago Inno.

The consumer lending platform, employs 750 people and has originated a whopping $1.7 billion in loans last year. This boom in online lending is a testament to the growing US economy and low unemployment rate.

“Avant is serving unmet demand on a global scale and providing millions of consumers with access to responsible credit in a clear and timely manner," explained Al Goldstein, CEO of Avant in a release. "We are proud of Avant’s tremendous growth over the last three years and continue to believe in the power of technology to innovate and improve the customer experience."

Congrats to our 640 N LaSalle neighbors!


Take a Selfie, Get Paid

With the selfie craze taking over the lives of Millennials and pretty much the world, is it really a big surprise that now there’s an app that will pay you for your selfies?

Pay Your Selfie, founded by Michelle Smyth, has found a fun way for advertisers and consumers to get involved using selfies. So, how does it all work? CEO explains why her app will pay you to take selfies to Chicago Tribune.

Smyth tells Chicago Tribune: “We provide a lot of fun tasks and you’ll see that those are the lower-priced ones, 20 cents to 40 cents for each selfie. Our branded selfie tasks are usually $1 and could be more. When you reach $20 in your piggy bank, you can cash out and get a check in the mail.

Every Saturday we have Selfie Saturday that is a $1 selfie. When you sign on, it’s $1 as well. We will soon have a refer-a-friend program, too. For every friend you refer, that will be another dollar, so you can really hasten the $20 payment.”

This may be a fun way to make a little extra money for splurging and to put those selfies to good use. Check out the full interview at Chicago Tribune.


The Future of Writing Starts With This Tech

From texting to emails to social media posts, we spend a big chunk of the day writing, and our writing is a reflection of ourselves both professionally and personally. But writing well is an art form that may be dying, according to Hooray Learning.  

Chicago-based startup Hooray Learning wants to bring the fun back into learning and especially writing and in the process cultivate a future of exceptional writers. Built in Chicago covers the story in their article How one Chicago startup is building a generation of creative writers.

“We try to give students a really robust set of tools to get them excited about and interested in the writing process so that they have some sort of investment in what they’re writing,” said Dustin Walsh, CEO and co-founder of Hooray Learning.

“We want to get kids to fall in love with learning,” Walsh tells Built in Chicago. “With technology, you’re giving them access to the world of knowledge through a device that they have in the palm of their hand, and I just think that’s an amazing opportunity for education.”

With having to compete with iPhones and social apps, a well-built and engaging educational technology is exactly what newest generation of students needs at their disposal.


Can’t get enough? There’s so much more happening in our lovely city. Check out these articles:

Amazon delivery service takes a page from Uber Crain’s Chicago Business

Health care startup raises $11 million Crain’s Chicago Business

The Friday Exit: Not much to joke about at Groupon Chicago Tribune

Beautiful New Drone Video 'Homesick for Chicago' Shows Stunning Views of the City Chicago Inno

Sittercity Launches Chime to Let Parents Find Babysitters On Demand Chicago Inno

Another Chicago unicorn: Avant lands $325 million at valuation over $1 billion Chicago Tribune

Forget group texts: Brunch makes it easier to meet up for drinks Built in Chicago

Chicago-Based iConsumer Rewards Customers with Shares of the Company Chicago Tribune


lump sum

Topics: Technology, Chicago

3 Ways Relocation Management Software Can Create Cross-Functional Visibility

Posted by Lauren Decker on Oct 1, 2015 3:16:07 PM

3 Ways Relocation Management Creates Cross-Functional Visibility

Over the last 10 years, the relocation industry has undergone monumental changes due to the adoption of new technologies, changes that make relocating easier for both employees and employers. One of the biggest impacts has been the emergence of Relocation Management Software, which provides a new kind of support for relocation employees.

As Relocation Management Software (also known as an RMS) becomes a more popular benefit, it’s important to understand what exactly makes this type of solution is so effective. One of the main reasons it has become an essential tool for HR and Mobility teams is that it can bring structure and convenience into the disjointed process of planning a move.

What you may not know, though, is that it can also bring together all the people and resources needed to administer a move.  

Let’s take a look at how Relocation Management Software can centralize the relocation process (and the teams) - for both you and your relocating employees.

1. Transferees

For relocating employees, an RMS brings together hyperlocal education, move management tools, and a network of suppliers in a single place. Having all these items in one online solution helps transferees learn about their new city, make educated decisions about how to move, and connect to quality suppliers that will help them execute their move. Relocation Management Software brings structure and support to relocation employees, especially those who are given flexible benefits like lump sum.

Offering all these aspects online is key, especially for your lump sum population. Since this entire process is online, transferees can plan their move on their own time, whether that’s early in the morning or late into the evening hours. RMS solutions also enable employees to track expenses, claim their lump sum benefit, and coordinate direct bill benefits take centralization one step further —making the relocation easier on both themselves, and their employers.

2. HR and Mobility Teams

Centralization of relocation documents, administrative tasks, and even onboarding tasks can be made possible through Relocation Management Software—saving HR and Mobility teams lots of time and energy. Trying to stay organized and distribute the right information to the right transferee (or hiring manager) can be a timely (and sometimes unwelcome) undertaking, especially when you have a list of other work projects waiting on you. Relocation Management Software helps you store all your relocation policies in one place for your transferees to access with ease.

Most RMS solutions also let you create multiple administrators, so that your hiring managers can not only view those policies, but also invite relocation employees to use the software, which provides for better engagement throughout the process

Onboarding material and office information can also be centralized and distributed to your relocating employees efficiently. By uploading key onboarding items, like your company’s employee handbook, into Relocation Management Software, you can simplify the process of getting those documents into the hands of your new hires who are relocating. For example, with UrbanBound’s Relocation Management Software, you can create multiple office repositories so that each HR team can upload documents specific to their office.

3. Payroll and Finance

Your payroll and finance teams can benefit greatly from Relocation Management Software. Relocating employees come with a whole host of financial and tax implications for both the employee and the company administering the relocation benefits. An RMS can help produce detailed reports of what each transferee received, when they received it, and what the tax implications are, reducing the time and energy your payroll team spends on compiling taxes.

Assisting with relocation tax reports not only speeds up the time you and your payroll team spends on taxes, but also allows you and other key stakeholders to easily see how much you are spending on each relocation. Within Relocation Management Software, you have visibility into who moved, what benefits they received, and how they received via lump sum or direct bill benefits. If used properly, this information can help you optimize your relocation spend for future employees.

Brining visibility into the relocation process is just one way that Relocation Management Software is changing the landscape of the relocation industry. For more insight into how technology will continue to shape and influence our industry, check out our latest eBook “The State of Relocation”. 

trends in relocation

Topics: Technology, Relocation

UrbanBound's Next Stop: ERC GWS

Posted by Kinga Skowronek on Sep 30, 2015 1:30:00 PM

I can’t believe a whole year has passed since the last ERC® GWS! But it’s that time again for all of us to meet, this year in Boston, to discuss trends, share ideas and network with professionals in one of the most vibrant and rapidly growing industries — relocation.

For those of you who are not familiar with ERC® GWS, it stands for Employee Relocation Council — Global Workforce Symposium, and it is an annual gathering of mobility professionals, vendors, suppliers and anyone involved in the relocation management industry. This year the symposium offers many different attractions throughout the event. Just the networking opportunities alone are reason enough to go, but there is so much more this conference has to offer.

Not only are there many sessions with reputable speakers, but the conference caters to many different people. For example, there is a lot of opportunity for YP40, the up-and-coming workforce mobility professional under 40 years old, through a reception and a series of suggested sessions to attend. 

Spend Some Time with UrbanBound

This year, UrbanBound will be proudly exhibiting at booth #109 in the Exhibit Hall. Make sure to stop by the booth and meet our team: UrbanBound Co-founders Jeff and Michael along with Erin, VP of Marketing, and Jaime, Director of Business Development. They’re excited to meet you and chat about all the updates and enhancements we have made to our Relocation Management Software.

As a leading provider of Relocation Management Software, UrbanBound streamlines the relocation process for companies moving newly hired and transferring employees.  Relocating employees use UrbanBound’s intuitive platform to plan and organize their entire relocation and connect with suppliers who offer preferred pricing.

Bringing order to a typically chaotic process, UrbanBound is forever changing the way businesses relocate talent, resulting in lower costs and happier, more productive employees. 

Hynes Convention Center 

This year’ symposium will be held at the Hynes Convention Center located in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. This location is great because it’s close to the airport and lots of hotels, and since it’s dubbed the heart of the city, it’s in the middle of everything! Full of shopping, and a young vibe, Back Bay is a great location for anyone looking to be in the beating heart of the city.

The brand new state-of-the-art Hynes Convention Center is great place to hold a symposium! It is boasted as one of the most desirable venues in the world for conferences and events. If you are running around during the conference and need to grab a snack, don’t worry there’s 2 food areas you can stop by at: a Cafe and a Cafeteria located on Level One, off the Main Lobby. Want a fuller meal, but don’t have time to travel away from the Convention Center. There’s a Capital Grille and a Towne Stove & Spirit connected to the center.

Must See Speakers

Some background information on the exciting speakers the conference will be hosting this year.

Lisa Bodell, futurethink

You can follow Lisa on Twitter — @LisaBodell

As a respected thought leader in innovation, Founder and CEO of futurethink and author of Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution, Lisa Bodell’s session will focus on how to use innovation to achieve success!  She was ranked in the Top 5 Speaker Award in Innovation and Creativity by in 2014 and has been showcased on Forbes, Harvard Review, CNN, Fox News, Fast Company and many more. With the combination of Bodell’s experience and contagious energy, this session promises to engage your creative side while exploring new ideas.

Brian Olsen, Performance Painter - Art in Action

You can follow Lisa on Twitter @brianolsenart

Leave the ERC GWS experience on a good note with the exciting and fast-paced Art in Action show from the world-famous Brian Olsen! He takes his love of art to the extreme— paint exploding as his fingers rapidly paint the canvas. The color, the music, the action of this performance painter will leave you breathless. Action art is an innovative take on the art world, and it shows what can be achieved when you paint outside of the box!

What To Do... when you're not at the conference

When you have a free moment from the symposium and meetings, make sure to get out and see all the wonderful things that Boston has to offer.

Boston is a one-of-a-kind American city that offers visitors opportunities to relive history, immerse themselves in the arts, explore museums and much more. You will find something to fit everyone’s needs in this city as the possibilities are endless and the activities are plentiful.

Take a walk along the two-and-a-half-mile Freedom Trail. It is a great way to get acquainted with Boston and to efficiently visit the city’s bounty of historic landmarks. The Trail is marked with a painted red line that is easy to follow. Signs along the Trail can take you to 16 stops. Boston Common, America’s oldest public park, is the best starting point for your Freedom Trail excursion. Your best bet it to give yourself three or more hours to walk the trail and see all of its landmarks.

Start your night with some amazing seafood at Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar.  A well-established whiskey bar, the Public House serves incredible dishes that could only be thought up by a magician. If you are a seafood lover, then the Public House is a must for you! It is a favorite in the area for its clam chowder, raw oysters, and other New England classics. If you tell them to, they’ll keep bringing oysters to your table all night!

Check out the guide we wrote for all of those attending the ERC GWS conference in Boston. It has all of our best tips for things to do and see in Boston and information about the conference. We look forward to seeing you all!

ERC Global Workforce Symposium 2015

Topics: UB News

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