Managing Remote Employee Relocation Requests During COVID-19

It was reported that almost 22 percent of the US adult working population either moved or knew someone who moved during the pandemic, and those relocating also opted for remote working. With remote working becoming the new normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic and many employees seeking to move back to their home country, organizations still face significant relocation requests. The reasons for relocation range from the desire to be closer to the family, and at times, also enjoying a ‘workcation’ while being in an exotic place. Employees believe that if they had managed to be fully efficient and effective during the pandemic for over a year, they wouldn’t have any problem working after relocating to their preferred place and working remotely.

While relocating employees has traditionally been a planned-out solution, a relocation request for remote working by an employee has increased dramatically.   In most cases, allowing the employee to relocate for remote work to a new country or region brings with it a set of potential legal and tax challenges for the employer and the employee; however, during the pandemic, companies have been much more flexible in approving these relocations to retain talent.

How can a company manage remote employee relocation requests due to the pandemic?

How To Master Remote Employee Relocation Requests? 

In light of the global pandemic there are many employees requesting a relocation back to their home country. These same employees plan to continue working remotely for the foreseeable future. As the request for relocation by the employees continues to rise, there are several steps the employer can use to master the relocation request made by the employee.

Listen To the Request 

Don’t say no immediately when an employee comes with a relocation request and has a desire to work remotely. If you go by the findings of the research, 74 percent of employees will stay with their employer when they are allowed to relocate and work remotely. In the long run, agreeing to the relocation and allowing your employees to work remotely will benefit your company, as you can retain the talent.

Transparent Guideline and Procedure

The best way to ensure that the employees stay focused and committed to their company and job, is to create an environment where their requests are being heard, and that their wishes are taken seriously. A transparent procedure will allow for all requests to be known and provide insight into what employees may be at risk in leaving the company. It also creates a trusting atmosphere where all employees are treated equitably.

Involve the Employees 

If an employee is interested in remote working and wants to relocate to a new country during the pandemic, use their enthusiasm to do the research. Make them research and understand the new country’s compliance-related policies and contribute to understanding how it works. It will also provide you with insight into your own company’s tax exposure and if you are creating a taxable burden for your organization.

Keep Track of the Employee

Whenever an employee engages in a remote working facility outside of the company’s entity locations, you need to ensure they are not creating a tax burden for the company and exposing the organization to a new country’s tax laws. Given this possibility, it is your responsibility to ensure your company is in compliance. You may have to say no if it creates a financial and tax burden for the company.

Get A Professional 

Irrespective of whether you relocate an employee for your business or have received a request from an employee, involve a Relocation Management Company (RMC) like WHR Group, Inc. (WHR) to administer the relocation process. A professional RMC can provide the appropriate guidance to alleviate risk and engage and manage the right professionals needed in the process.

If you follow these simple tips as an employer, you shouldn’t have any issues with remote employee relocation requests. Even after COVID-19, these are appropriate protocols to have in place as remote working doesn’t seem to be going away.

Final Words

With social distancing remaining the new normal, remote working at least a few days a week has also become the trend. If you want to reap the benefits of managing from home, do listen to your employee’s request for relocation and allow them the opportunity to work from a place of their choosing. Leave the process of relocation to a professional relocation company like WHR and retain your company talent.

Steps to a Smooth International Relocation

International employee relocation can be quite a challenge for an employee, even if they are well-traveled. As a result, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the employee’s relocation goes smoothly. Your employee is making a life-altering decision to have a better life when they accept relocating to a new location. While they may face cultural differences, it can be a challenge for them to acclimate and make their family feel comfortable too. The support you provide to the employee before, during and after the relocation can ensure their loyalty to your enterprise.

Here are some steps that you can take to ensure a smooth international relocation for your employees, rather than one filled with stress and anxiety:

  1. Maintain Clarity of Expectations

Relocating for an international placement means a significant investment, financially and emotionally. Always maintain clear communications with your employee. This includes your expectations for them in their new role at the new location. The nature of the salary package needs to be discussed in length and if the employee wants to negotiate, be willing to hear them out. This will give you a clear picture of your employee’s expectations from the relocation, thus warranting a space to clear out any doubts. Also, you must discuss the length of the assignment, whether it’s permanent, contractual, or temporary.

The other point that needs to be clear between both parties is the relocation process. It’s best if you figure out how you’ll work with the employee, i.e., whether you’ll provide the service, or if the employee will hire someone and you’ll reimburse the cost. We recommend that employers outsource to a reputable Relocation Management Company (RMC) such as WHR Group, Inc. (WHR).

  1. Provide Cross-Cultural Training

Let’s look at an example. Moving from the U.K. to the U.S. is a relatively smooth transition compared to moving from the U.S. to Asia. The cultural and language differences between the two is quite significant. We always encourage employers to develop a cross-cultural training program for their relocating employees. This will give transferees the opportunity to learn and familiarize themselves with the other culture, etiquettes and other important geographical aspects. Often, employees will find the information shared during the training helpful when they move to a new place.

  1. Prioritize the Employee’s Family Too

A good employer will give importance to the employee’s family. Hence, extend the support of your firm to the family of the employee as well. One of the best ways to do that is to offer spousal/partner career assistance and settling-in services. A good RMC will coordinate this for you.

  1. Maintain Communication

Just because the employee has moved to the new place and is settling in, does not mean you should cease communication with them. Keeping in regular contact with them will help the employee feel connected to the home network. As an employer, be willing to hear any of their issues and resolve them as quickly as possible. Maintaining regular communication will also help you monitor the employee’s performance and ensure they are achieving the targets for the assignments they have relocated for.

  1. Talk to An Expert

Relocating an employee can be quite expensive. Your costs are much higher for home buyers versus renters. When you hire a professional RMC like WHR, you and your employees get peace of mind during the relocation process. It is not only a cost-effective method, but a professional Relocation Management Company takes on the entire burden of relocation, plus they have the latest technology to facilitate a transparent moving process.

Contact WHR Group, Inc. to discuss your global employee relocation program.

Moving Household Goods

When it comes to moving personnel, taking care of the details ahead of time including what’s covered by the policy, expected exceptions, and how to handle them, can save your company time and money in the long run. A household goods (HHG) policy helps HR professionals and procurement specialists communicate to employees and allows for a more seamless relocation.

While it may seem that some things will never be brought to your attention as an exception request, spending time reevaluating how line items should be classified in your HHG policy will ensure that you avoid unpleasant surprises. Your HR staff and global relocation provider can be on the same footing by evaluating your HHG policy. Whether it’s the accounting manager who collects exotic animals or the marketing associate who owns two playhouses and a giant trampoline, addressing your household goods policy ahead of time can help you avoid exception requests.

When Relocating HHG, there are a Few Things to Keep in Mind

It should come as no surprise that today’s businesses place a high priority on company culture. Top talent is more focused than ever on finding the right fit for them. The consistency of the corporate culture can influence talent retention even after acquiring talent. Small decisions can have a cascading influence on how employees perceive their company’s culture. We encourage individuals in charge of their company’s relocation program to assess the household goods move policy and its line items through a cultural lens as well as a financial one.

In a broader sense, employees’ location and demographics are crucial since they may influence the products that need to be transferred. You may need to reconsider how boats and jet skis are classified in your HHG policy if you have many coastal employees. You may need to transfer outside play equipment if executives have large families. These are the kinds of discussions and considerations that should guarantee the policy and culture are in sync.

Clear and On Track Policies

1. Keeping Costs Under Control

When it comes to cost reduction, HHG policies can be a valuable tool for businesses. While certain line items may appear insignificant, if your organization is shifting many people little things can soon add up. Reviewing HHG policies can help you save money while also ensuring that you’re covered for everything your company considers essential for employee relocation. Your relocation firm may also have insights and ideas that will help you determine if your organization is finding the proper balance of competitiveness and cost cutting.

2. Keeping it Simple

There is a reason why people avoid moving. Moving is difficult, stressful, and draining. This is especially true if you don’t cover all your bases ahead of time. When the moving day arrives, a well-defined HHG policy can help to reduce turmoil and inconvenience. In addition to carefully examining your HHG policy, effective communication among all parties involved reduces any surprises before the move date.

3. Time is of the essence

Excessive use of the “exception” category in household goods policies may result in a disproportionate number of exception requests. At the same time, it may be challenging to agree on a precise “yes” or “no” for each line item in your HHG policies; doing so to the extent possible streamlines the transfer and saves you time. This is especially true in companies that relocate a lot of people.

You will benefit if you work closely with a relocation provider who knows the industry inside and out. While many fundamental elements go into creating a successful relocation program, household goods policies are an excellent place to start when trying to align relocation with company culture, adapt to changing tax policies, control costs, streamline the moving process, or save time in your HR and procurement departments.

MMP’s Advantages

WHR’s MMP is one solution to the movement of household goods resulting in fewer overall claims, cost savings, and improved service: Learn more here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=govOGJgATJU.  Most carriers have limited resources and equipment, so during peak periods they will either reject or accept your move based on their availability. MMP offers a virtual bid board for WHR move opportunities, so carriers can readily see the from and to locations. It also implies that carriers will not have to travel between places with empty trucks and will accept cargo based on their location and crew availability during a specific timeframe.

However your company handles HHG policy issues, make sure you’re partnered with a good Relocation Management Company!

Tips to Achieve Better Collaboration Across Your Relocation Partner Network

Not all Employee Relocation Management Companies perform the same way. WHR Group, Inc. (WHR) knows no borders when relocating government or corporate clients, and we acknowledge the complexity of moving global workforces every year. Any experienced relocation management company should have comprehensive resources and strategies in place across moving zones. They should also ensure they have a network of relocation partners across the states, countries, and even continents to warrant a customized moving experience for clients’ transferees. It is vital, in this competitive market of relocation business, that an Employee Relocation Management Company should collaborate with other companies and develop a networking system to warrant a hassle-free move for their clients.

However, there are several strategies and tips that a Relocation Company can work on to achieve better collaboration with their partners. Here are tips for facilitating better collaboration between the relocation partners across the network.

Developing A Global Model

The world has become a global village and developing a model that focuses on offering the best localized experience is crucial. The concept should be to go global and offer an experience with short-time assignees, localized expatriates, and permanent transfers that is uniquely suited for today’s varied assignments and mobility models.

Getting a 360 Degree View

It is vital to have all the resources on the ground to get a complete view of the relocation process and develop the strategy. The best way to ensure that collaboration yields the best result for your company and your clients is by selecting destination partners carefully and training them per your requirement. Finding local experts can also assist with having a complete view of the process.

Transparency

When you act as the most trusted advisor in relocation for your clients and their transferees, developing a system with your logistic partners across the board that warrants transparency is critical. With the latest technology and software available at your disposal, utilize them to have a centralized information system that allows your partners to be fully informed about the procedures and get a well-rounded view of how assignments are handled.

Group Management

Meet with your team and networking partners to ensure that strategic planning is being implemented throughout the process. Regular checks and balances and following industry best practices are essential to offering good client service. Ensure all rules and regulations are being followed by all the partners, all the time.

The Move Management Platform (MMP)

While any relocation company can follow the above tips, MMP is exclusive to WHR. The technology provides cost-savings and fewer claims. Using technology like MMP, companies can save time and money, as well as gain efficiency.

When you follow these tips with your relocation network partners, it will help you to increase the overall productivity and the customer base. Clients look for a smooth moving experience, and when you forge a good partnership with your networking team, you can guarantee a hassle-free experience to your clients.

 

8 Corporate Relocation Tips for Easier Employee Transfers

America is a portable society. One in each of five families moves each year, according to an article by Economic Research Institute. A significant number of these moves align with the organization for which one of the family members works. These movements might be to an area significantly past the current driving distance, an alternate state, or a far-off country. The representative might be a fresh recruit or an existing worker at any level, to a top executive.

Movement Includes Costs, Both Money-Related and Psychological. Money-Related Expenses Include:

  • Selling and purchasing houses
  • Transporting household goods and personal items
  • Temporary lodging
  • Immigration and tax expenses

While financial costs are essential in relocation, it is also the interruption and disruption of the employee’s life and their family. The movement from one city to another is life-changing and is one of the top stress producing events in someone’s life. It is imperative that the company supports and assists the employee with the adjustment to their new location. A relocation failure is not only a waste of a company’s money, but it also might mean the loss of a valued employee.

A smooth move will result in a more productive employee and make the adaption of the family to the new community seamless. While it’s never easy, there are tips for making your next employee relocation experience straightforward and easier.

  1. Be Clear About Relocation Policies 

Relocation is a significant life event that effects not only the employee but his or her family life as well. Each party should feel the interaction is reasonable, particularly about the relocation policy being provided. Having clear and well communicated policies forestalls false impressions and improves the probability of a successful move.

Workers need to realize what’s paid for and what is not. They need to learn the organization’s relocation policy and benefits, and they need the data recorded to them in a letter of understanding. This shields you from false impressions that emerge in verbal arrangements, and it provides a prepared reference to representatives.

  1. Manufacture Relocation Partnerships That Add Value 

Develop partnerships with relocation organizations that can help you navigate the relocation process and provide guidance on appropriate policy benefits.

Banding together with WHR Group, Inc. (WHR) would be advantageous. WHR adds consistency for your employees which provides equity to the relocation process and keeps your relocation budgets to the spending estimates.

  1. Think about Cost-of-Living Differences 

There is an obvious difference in cost living in a city like San Francisco versus a mid-market city like Grand Rapids, MI.  Are you prepared to address such living differentials with either a relocation bonus, COLA (Cost of Living Differential), salary adjustment or a combination of all?  It will be needed if you want a productive and satisfied employee.

  1. Move Employees Who Embrace Change 

What tools are you utilizing to ensure you have an employee that is open to change and wants to make the move.  Have you implemented any testing or evaluations to determine an employee’s appetite for change?  More importantly is the employee’s spouse and/or family interested in a relocation?

  1. Make a Solid Plan 

Having a marketable strategy, outlining the course of events, financial planning, and other significant subtleties will assist with saving you significant challenges down the line.

  1. Engage Employees with Resources 

 Plan your relocation benefits so they assist employees with feeling enabled and empowered. Share an outline of neighborhoods near the work area or office assists the employees with narrowing their quest for homes or living arrangements. Better yet, provide a look-see visit for the employee and spouse so they can tour the location and picture their family living in the new city.

  1. Have Kindness and Patience 

One of the more practical corporate relocation tips is to have compassion and patience. It is not difficult to fall into the pressure that accompanies a significant move, so make sure you are dealing with empathetic partners that can appreciate the stress an employee is undertaking.

  1. Permit Enough Time 

Lastly, time is something that we never appear to have enough of, so we recommend giving extra for the significant move. While the move will take time, not providing a plan or days to complete the move will make for an unproductive employee and they will end up wasting time at work to complete their personal move.

Last Words 

Realize that though this won’t be a stroll in the park, it is certainly something that can be cultivated effectively.

WHR can assist with guaranteeing your worker movements are smooth and consistent. As well as applying these corporate movement tips, dive deeper into WHR relocation solutions and how they can help assist in moving your workers.