“If a company is cheap about relocation, they are cheap about everything.” Forbes
In our 2018 benchmark relocation survey, we learned that 87% of respondents expect to maintain or increase the number of company relocations in the coming years. Most firms understand that putting the right talent in the right seat … in the right physical location is a necessity for recruiting and retaining top senior talent and growing their business. The challenge lies in building a benefit program that is mindful of both the relocating employee’s needs and the company’s bottom line – and that isn’t a headache to administer.
So, what would this look like? The specifics will vary from company to company, depending on factors like how many people you think you’ll need to relocate and if your relocation needs go outside the United States. At a high level, though, most organizations will look for the following characteristics:
Having a relocation program is a great start, but it also needs to be able to adapt to different relocating employees’ needs. Picking up your life and moving is one of the most stressful experiences an adult will go through, especially if they’re married and are moving a family. A package that fits their needs makes for a smoother transition, which means fewer problems for you to troubleshoot on the fly.
Different policies and benefits attract different kinds of people. A competitive relocation program encompasses everything and needs to stay in line with both what relocating employees need and what your competitors are offering, especially when it comes to technology. Whether it’s spousal employment support or an online portal, for your relocation program to be successful, its individual benefits need to meet your employees where they are.
There’s a lot more that goes into relocation than arranging for a moving van. How many house hunting trips are you allowing for? Will you provide temporary housing? Are you shipping multiple cars to the new location? What about miscellaneous costs, like lease cancellation or the closing costs for a new home? Are you offering a home sale program, and if so, what kind? A relocation package doesn’t have to be all things to all people, but one that doesn’t cover an employee’s most pressing needs will certainly be viewed as a red flag.
The ability to record and analyze real-life relocation data allows you to drill down into what services you need (or don’t need) and how much you should expect to pay for a given relocation. Having data reporting functionality can also make it easier for you to estimate relocation costs and allocate expenses across budget cycles, helping your business operations run more smoothly.
The tax and legal requirements of relocation can be daunting, especially when expenses are from multiple states or countries. Even staying up-to-date with U.S. tax laws can be challenging. To get the most bang for your relocation buck and avoid potential penalties, your relocation program needs to be adaptable to evolving regulations.
Above all else, an employee-centric relocation program should hit the sweet spot between personal and manageable. À la carte or core/flex plans offer a great deal of flexibility, but it can be challenging to keep track of which employees qualify for which relocation benefits. Lump sum plans are much more predictable and easier to administer, but they can provide inadequate support when problems arise – the last thing anyone wants is top talent not being able to hit the ground running day one or leaving mid-transition because of the added stress.
What should your company relocation program look like? Our proprietary Cost Estimator and Policy Builder can help you forecast your relocation costs and even build your own relocation policy based on the benefit options that best fit your organization. Check them out and explore what the right relocation benefits package looks like for you and your employees.