Switching Relocation Management Companies Can be Easy!

“Sit back, relax and enjoy the flight,” that’s what the flight attendant usually says upon completing their safety instructions after take-off. What if transitioning from your current Relocation Management Company (RMC) were just as easy? What if you had someone else navigating the entire process?   Imagine having someone else doing all the coordination, communications and legwork for you, your global workforce and your service providers.

Well, it’s not really such a far-fetched dream… if you work with the right RMC. You might be thinking you’ll still have to train your staff, including everyone internally from payroll to global HR to finance to accruals, plus train and acclimate your providers! Think about all the processes that must be communicated between your staff and your new RMC, not to mention that your RMC must also learn and understand your culture so that they can train their employees. Sounds like a lot of work. The good news is that the right RMC will do all this for you.

How exactly does your RMC accomplish all that? More importantly, if you’re the main internal contact at your company, how much of your time is still required?

“We’ll do all the heavy lifting, we only need the client’s relocation policy,” says WHR Group Director of Global Operations, Chris Lagerman.  “After we obtain the client’s policy, we’ll assemble a transition plan for program management. We’ll typically spend a half to full day with the client confirming our proposed plan meets their expectations before we execute. We’re working behind the scenes to coordinate all the applicable processes; once we get the green light, we manage everything.”

For example, WHR might ask the client how they reimburse employee expenses or what documentation is needed to justify a payment? WHR will coordinate a meeting directly with the client’s payroll person to sort out these answers. Maybe the client has four individuals who can authorize employee transfers, or maybe the client has 20 corporate recruiters in multiple locations. Once WHR knows who these individuals are, WHR will set up a 1-hour training meeting (virtual or in-person), to train all on how to use WHR’s technology.

The average timeline from choosing WHR as your RMC and transition completion is typically 30 days, but during those 30 days WHR is doing all the hard work. The client contact only needs to spend a half to full day with WHR answering questions, and then WHR takes over and manages everything else. Some clients may think they have to train all their preferred suppliers on how to work with WHR. In reality, WHR will handle all the training and more than likely WHR is already working with these same suppliers.

It really is that easy to make the switch to a new RMC! Considering the move for your organization?

Let’s talk!

 

OVERCOMING COMMON EMPLOYEE RELOCATION CONCERNS

Making a major life changing decision is not easy, especially when it involves moving across the country or globe! Even the most excited employees may have concerns about the relocation process. Frequent communication is paramount to a successful relocation for both the employee and your organization. By anticipating and recognizing employee concerns, you’ll be prepared to alleviate their worries and keep relocations moving smoothly. Below are some common employee relocation concerns and how you can help.

Concerns About Finding a Place to Live in the Destination
With U.S. home inventory currently well below demand, it’s not unusual for double-digit offers, many well over asking price on the same or next day after the home hits the market! There’s a chance your employee could sell their home so quickly and then not have a new home to move into at the new location. It’s important to give your employees the time and resources they need to find a new home and complete the move.

  • Your Relocation Management Company (RMC) should provide qualified real estate agents that understand the relocation process and the timelines associated with such moves.
  • If you need your employee in the new location immediately, offer them temporary corporate housing so they’ll rest assured while they continue their new home search.

Concerns About Their Family & Acclimating to the New Location

Family can be a top reason that employees decline a relocation. Employees and their families may have obligations they must fulfill before moving. They might want their children to finish out the school year, have an ill family member or have a partner with their own career pursuits. Moving is stressful, but not knowing anyone in the new location makes it even more challenging. Kids especially find it difficult to move from friends, family and school. Your employee and their family have built a well-established network – from their favorite grocery store to their gym, and it’s difficult to leave all that behind. Your employee cannot 100% focus on their new position when they are preoccupied with their family’s needs.

When you take the family’s needs into consideration, you are showing your employee you truly care about making this a positive experience for them. Anything that you can do to show that you care about their personal life will go a long way to ease their stress and concerns.

  • It’s essential that you communicate timelines and expectations with the employee. By regularly discussing organizational needs and understanding each individual employee’s circumstances, you greatly increase the chances of retaining your top employees.

Destination Services are Crucial to a Successful Move

  • Provide the transferee and family with settling-in services including information on the new city, neighborhoods, medical options, shopping, transportation, utility connections, schools and more.
  • Set up an area orientation to help them get familiarized with their new surroundings.
  • Provide language and cultural training. Help with passports, Visas, work permits and immigration assistance. All especially important for global moves.
  • Offer spousal/partner career assistance to help their significant other find a job in the new location.
  • If the family needs to stay in the old location longer than anticipated, offer the employee temporary housing.
  • Pay for travel expenses to and from the new location.

Concerns About Affording to Live in the New Neighborhood
Packing up and moving from rural Iowa to Manhattan would be a shock to anyone. The cost of living can be drastically different depending on where your employee is moving from and to. The cost of homes, taxes, even groceries may be significantly more than what your employees are used to.

  • Offer your employee a cost-of-living allowance (COLA) that helps ease your employees into the cost of the new location. Many companies choose to taper off these benefits over the course of a few years. You can make the transition to a new city less costly and more affordable for your best employees.

A good RMC will help lesson transferee stress and concerns associated with a relocation. Need help managing employee relocations for your organization? Contact WHR Group, Inc. now.

Tips for Managing Employee Relocation Expenses

expense management

Relocation expense management can be a complicated and stressful process for a transferring employee. Relocating employees might have a dozen expense reports to submit over the course of their relocation, and that can be difficult for a transferee to self-fund. Having a seamless, efficient relocation expense management process is critical. Here are five simple tips:

Tip 1: Fast Reimbursement Processing
Through WHR Groups’s intricate survey process, we’ve found that there’s a direct correlation between the timeliness of reimbursement and employee satisfaction. We cannot stress enough the importance of quick fund turnaround. Communicate with relocating employees what the timeline is, since this can help them plan accordingly and know when to expect the reimbursement. Hopefully, your Relocation Management Company (RMC) processes expense reimbursements in 3 days from receipt.

Tip 2: Ensure Accuracy with a Dual Review
Accuracy is critical in expense report review, so having more than one set of eyes review is a must before reimbursing. At WHR, one review is completed by the policy expert and another by an accounting team member. This ensures compliance and accuracy.

Tip 3: Provide an Easy and Accessible Employee Interface Tool
Deploy an online expense submission system that can be accessed anywhere, 24/7/365. Give employees the ability to upload receipts via a mobile app or web portal in any currency. This saves time and the hassle of scanning in countless receipts. This is also helpful while employees are traveling.

Tip 4: Utilize Custom Expense Reports
To streamline expense report review, build custom reports for each relocation policy. This ensures employees stay compliant with policy benefits and it also helps your organization during the internal review. If you’re using an online technology, be sure the system has your policy parameters built into it. WHR can customize reports on over 3,000 different data points, at no additional charge.

Tip 5: Ensure Security of Payment Information
Make sure your RMC utilizes technology that implements security measures:

  • Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, and other private data encrypted and masked within the technology when the user is not updating those fields.
  • Each personal data field is masked with ********** until the user selects a specific field to view. If the user has access based on his or her role, the data can be viewed and updated only when the field is selected.
  • Firewalls are in place to isolate website traffic from the internal network and security has been implemented to control client/server communications from the web portals.
  • Protection is used on all internal workstations and servers for anti-virus, spyware, and zero-day threats. Web content is filtered by an on-site application to protect users from accessing risky websites.

Take a hard look at your current expense management process and see if these tips are being followed. A well-run relocation expense management process can make or break the relocation. If you’d like additional help managing your expense reimbursement process or your relocation program, contact WHR Group.

WHR Group Releases Employee Relocation Benchmark Results

MILWAUKEE, Wis., May 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)WHR Group, Inc. (WHR), a leader in the global employee relocation industry, conducted a Global Mobility Benchmark study surveying some of the largest U.S. companies from a variety of industries. Findings shed light on how companies have changed their employee relocation policies, even during 2020 and a pandemic. Respondents included corporate staff working in HR, mobility management, talent management and benefits/compensation departments. Some findings include the following:

 

  • Relocation benefits are still going strong even with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 85% of companies offer some type of home sale benefit to transferees.
  • 67% of respondents have experienced a talent shortage but include their mobility program in candidate recruitment strategies.
  • Lump sum benefits are trending but often used as a complement to basic relocation benefits versus a standalone benefit package.
Over 57% surveyed have an international relocation program, and 88% have expatriate or international permanent transfer policies. Over 50% found immigration laws to be the most challenging part of international relocations with Africa and Asia reported as the most challenging. For Africa, immigration laws and political climate were reported as creating the greatest challenges. For Asia, immigration laws and language barrier created the greatest challenges. Temporary housing; destination services and settling in; household goods; Visa and immigration assistance; and tax assistance are considered core benefits for international transfers and assignments.
Of the 68.5% offering destination closing costs, 76.5% don’t cap this benefit, even though capping the support is a way to control organizational costs. Most companies reported creating benefit packages based on the average transferee, not always considering individual cultures and family dynamics. This can lead to policy exception requests by employees.

 

Download WHR’s Complete Benchmark Report

About WHR Group, Inc.

WHR is a privately owned, client-driven global employee relocation management company distinguished by best-in-class service delivery and cutting-edge, proprietary technology. WHR has offices in Milwaukee, Wis., Switzerland, and Singapore. With its 100% client retention rate for the past decade, WHR continues to position itself as the trusted provider in global employee relocation. https://www.whrg.comLinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

 

Media Contact: Mindy Stroiman, Corporate Writer
262-523-7510

STRATEGIES FOR LOWERING EMPLOYEE RELOCATION EXPENSES

Jar of Change
With 26 years of experience, WHR knows how to lower your employee relocation program costs. Although there are so many ways, below we share just three easy suggestions to lower organizational expenses.

1. Audit Your Relocation Program

Does your program reflect the real-life experiences of your relocating employees? Go through each step of the relocation process and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data. Look at the numbers from previous moves, but also survey employees who went through the relocation process and uncover which benefits were truly meaningful to them.

2. Monitor Exceptions

When the unexpected occurs during a relocation, you can bet it will impact the logistics throughout the rest of the process. These exceptions result in higher costs. The first step to minimizing exceptions and the impact to your bottom line is by designing a thoughtful and data-driven relocation program. The more your program reflects the actual experiences of your transferring employees, the better you can plan around exceptions. The program execution is equally important.We train our Relocation Counselors to anticipate needs before they are requested, set expectations upfront and regularly check in with transferees throughout the move. Should an exception be required, our Counselors review all possible alternatives first. Can a closing date be moved? Is there a more cost-efficient storage alternative? Can the cost be covered by a miscellaneous allowance?

3. Stay on Top of Trends

To find relocation cost savings, look at the dollars…and the pennies! With a little creativity and by staying current on what’s happening in the industry, you’d be surprised at the cost savings you can find. Consider home sale bonuses, for example. Ten years ago, companies would offer employees $10,000 as motivation to sell their homes quickly. This is not required in today’s real estate market since homes are selling quickly as demand greatly outweighs the supply of available inventory.Your Relocation Management Company can provide you with Benchmark studies and reporting to identify gaps or redundancies in your policy, as well as opportunities for savings.While a relocation benefit is a significant investment, there are ways to implement it thoughtfully in a way that keeps your employees happy and minimizes costs. Tailoring your program to the real-world experiences of your transferring employees, monitoring exceptions, and staying aware of industry trends ensures a smoother move experience for your employees and helps keep your expenses down.If you’re interested in learning more ways to cut costs, contact WHR Group, Inc.