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Consulting Corner: Relocation Policy Review - A Perspective On Process

Organizations today are faced with a constantly evolving environment and an ever changing workforce of relocating employees that have varying generational needs. An effective talent management strategy means that a company must be competitive in their relocation benefits while keeping costs within their budgets.

If you’ve been tasked with creating a global relocation program for your company, you may be wondering where to start. Organizations today are faced with a constantly evolving environment and an ever changing workforce of relocating employees that have varying generational needs. An effective talent management strategy means that a company must be competitive in their relocation benefits while keeping costs within their budgets. 

Whether your organization is conducting a complete policy overhaul or simply adjusting some elements within an existing relocation program, taking a holistic view is key. A process that begins with a broad overall view can help you develop and fine-tune policies that support your organizational goals while establishing a cohesive balance between employee and company. An effective policy with targeted relocation benefits can help you control costs, stay within budget, minimize risks to the organization, better the communication between manager and employee, identify and address the employees’ personal and professional needs, and keep employee satisfaction high which can produce a higher ROI.

GETTING STARTED

You might first think about how your organization would rate the importance of three key elements: talent competitiveness, cost, and risk. Then consider whether those elements would change based on job level. For example, cost might be your highest consideration in general, but would that change when you apply it to different employee levels within your company? Would you offer a more generous program to your company executives than more recent hires? Ranking exercises like this can for example, help determine the type of home sale program, if any, that you will offer and to which level(s) of employee would be given that benefit. With a tiered approach, you can offer different benefit levels based on several variables. Your ultimate solution would depend on this type of decision making process.

CONTEXT

When beginning the process of reviewing your relocation program, you need to first determine how and where your relocation programs fits into your organization’s future direction and identify some important goals you want the program to accomplish. When objectively reviewing your policies, begin by asking these fundamental questions:

  • How do your employees respond when a relocation is offered?
  • Do you want to offer attractive relocation packages to obtain the best talent or reward high performing employees, or is it more important to contain your costs?
  • Does the relocation program fit the future needs and mission of the company?

In asking these questions, you will get a clearer idea of what needs to change or be created and how to go about implementing those changes.   

TYPES OF EMPLOYEE

One thing to consider when creating your program is what type of employee is relocating. Do they own a home or rent? A changing and sometimes volatile housing market might require home sale and home finding benefits in their package. Also, are they a new hire or an existing executive? And should the benefits differ in any way between the two?

Are they a Millennial or part of Generation X? This will lend to each having different expectations. Can generational factors be applied in anticipation of the relative priorities of each? This is crucial to establish as different types of employees will require different benefits and policies. 

CULTURE AND ADMINISTRATION

Another thing to analyze is the culture of your company and your relocation program’s administrative support. The culture and mission of the organization can help determine the correct balance of appropriate policy and reduction of costs. Also, examine what administrative resources are available and dedicated to the program and the employees. Is this lacking? Should the program be managed in-house, with dedicated managers, or outsourced?

Once you have adequately answered these questions you can then work on creating the more detailed framework of your program. This should depend on the results of your organizational review, the goals desired for your mobility program and what types of relocation benefits your company will provide. In some domestic relocation programs, a single policy approach may apply regardless of employee position. For example, it can be a lump sum used to move the employee within the US. A multi-policy approach on the other hand can take into account such dynamics as the hire status of the employee and job level, and whether or not they own a home and will need home selling assistance, along with destination services. In the multi-policy set-up, you can have a menu driven program with options selected by a manager based on the company and employee needs.

SOME THINGS TO RE-CAP: A CHECKLIST

  • The types of employee you need to relocate. In most policies, different transferee types will require different policies. Executives, homeowners, renter and new hires will need different benefits. 
  • The administrative structure of your relocation program. Is your current structure centralized or regionalized? What administrative resources are available to the employee?
  • Taking your company’s culture and mission into consideration can help determine the appropriate policy elements.
  • What is your company’s threshold for tolerating risks? How conservative is the organization?
  • How important is the need to control costs? By asking these questions, you will identify cost containment opportunities within your relocation program.
  • What are senior and line management’s views about policy needs, and is this feedback being taken into consideration?  Make sure the lines of communication are open with all relevant stakeholders in the relocation program. 
  • Implementation and management of the program, and ongoing training and communications require a commitment from all. Ensuring that administrative support and training are available for will lead to success and higher ROI for the company. 

Once you have gone through these steps, you should be well on your way to a solid program structure that will guide you in establishing its varying components. 

Relocation is no longer a one-size fits all proposition. If your organization currently has a singular approach, you will most likely need to make changes to have a successful future relocation program. With corporate relocations steadily on the rise and a workforce that is becoming more diverse by the year, the time to implement a flexible relocation program is now.   

Bristol can assist you with creating and implementing the best relocation program for your company based on your organizations current needs and future goals. Contact your program director for more on how Bristol can help you create new or revise your existing policies!

 

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