Katrin Ruland, Founder & Managing Director of Noah Mobility

“Freelancer-only teams are equally capable”

Katrin Ruland is the founder and CEO of Noah Mobility, a ReloTech startup that offers private and business customers the possibility to completely organize and handle relocation via a single app. The relocation entrepreneur is convinced of the benefits freelance collaboration offers to all parties involved. In this interview, Katrin explains the freelance collaborators’ role at Noah Mobility, why the industry highly depends on agile structures, and why recognition of external employees ultimately pays off.

Katrin, you are an entrepreneur and start-up CEO in Munich. What experience do you have with freelancing in your own career?

I started as a freelancer in the relocation business in 2001. I often didn’t like the way freelancers were treated and the appreciation and understanding for their work. In my first years in the relocation business and as an employer of freelancers, I even made the same mistakes as the companies I had previously freelanced for myself did. In the rush of the multiple tasks that sometimes suddenly came upon me, it took time until I had worked out my own way and until I had found the way back to my original goals and ideas. .

With your company, you work in the field of relocation, global mobility and people mobility. What is the role freelancers play in this industry?

The Global Mobility industry thrives on freelancers. Only with a healthy, well-selected pool of freelancers can we respond appropriately to the often fluctuating demand for relocation.

What role do freelancers play in your company?

Freelancers are the foundation of our company. Therefore, a good, respectful and cooperative relationship with freelancers is indispensable. By paying them fairly and quickly, they feel appreciated and stay motivated to keep up performance. Exchange between freelancers already working in the industry is also an opportunity our platform provides. Freelance work as a form of contract is a very good variant of cooperation. I would like to get away from the idea of the lone wolf freelancer – they can work as an adaptabe team just as well.

Do gig economy or flash organizations mean anything to you? What would you understand by that?

We are a kind of gig economy or flash organization, as we implement our assignments/projects on the road with the help of freelancers with the right skills. We rely on crowdsourcing techniques, and thanks to our platform/app ARK ONE, project processes can be mapped quickly – allowing us to be agile in meeting the needs of our B2B clients. All stakeholders maintain a full overview of the processes via the platforms.

Freelancers are not legally part of an organization by nature, which means they are not integrated into an organization. What makes Noah Mobility attractive to relocation consultants?

It may be that, according to the traditional understanding, freelancers do not legally belong to an organization. This is where a change of views is needed. After all, how else is a relocation company supposed to be able to respond agilely to fluctuating demand and the projects at hand?

What advice would you give a person who is considering working as a relocation consultant? Is there any specific training for this?

For a few years now, training courses have been offered by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce to become a relocation manager. We offer a kind of buddy system to lateral entrants, i.e. long-time relocation consultants take charge lateral entrants and accompany/guide them in their first steps as a relocation consultant.

From your experience, what kinds of people become relocation consultants? Are there differences in the various countries?

We have very different groups of people. Many of them have already gained experience abroad, whether during their studies, as expats themselves or as partners relocating with them. I can’t see any differences compared to other countries.

Why are relocation consultants needed? In times of digitalization, everything can be done digitally and mobile via smartphone.

I am personally convinced, also from my own experience, that the employee should be accompanied in the relocation process. Moving with family to another country with the many intercultural differences and language barriers … Relocation, to me, is people business and should be done personally. The employee experience comes first. The many individual issues cannot be fully mapped in IT, but the in back office IT processes can be optimized. HR and our back office are relieved, all stakeholders are on the same, current state of informatiom in real time. This way, the situation gets much more relaxed and satisfying for everyone.

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