5 Considerations for the Best Relocation Policies
According to the 48th Annual Atlas Corporate Relocation Survey released in April of this year, there has been a significant uptick among U.S. companies relocating employees since 2013. With this trend set to continue throughout 2015 and beyond, it is important for your organization to establish a relocation policy. You want a policy that is not only flexible but also takes into account well-known relocation factors to ensure a smooth move for your employees and your organization. If your organization does not have a lot of experience with relocating employees domestically, don't worry, I am providing a list of five considerations you should build into your policy that can help ensure a smooth transition for both candidates and current employees.
Top 5 Considerations for Creating a Relocation Policy
1. Allow Plan Flexibility – The policy you end up creating should be flexible enough to accommodate moves from anywhere in the Continental US (CONUS). While this sounds quite intuitive, in practice I have worked with senior managers that just want to provide a flat amount of money regardless of where the employee is moving from or want to provide different amounts to similarly leveled employees. While that might make sense from a business perspective, in practical terms and potentially legal terms, when speaking or working with a potential candidate, or current employee, nothing can be more deflating than knowing you will have to pony up for a move across the country – especially when it could be as much as $10-$15k coming out of your own pocket.
Instead, I would recommend a chart like the one outlined in the graph below which takes into account a move from a mileage perspective:
East Coast/Midwest (1,500 Miles)
|1,500 Miles Plus||$7,500.00||$12,000.00||$18,000.00||
2. Ensure Significant Others are Onboard with the Move – Each candidate has a right to speak with their significant other on moving from one part of the country to another, it is a best practice to gently speak to or even ask if your candidate has spoken to their significant other about the relocation. Digging in and finding out the significant other’s concerns about the move upfront can help ensure a smooth relocation process. One of the reasons relocations tend to fail, both domestically and especially internationally, is because a partner who is moving with the employee is not happy with the move. To help alleviate any questions a significant other may have, one suggested consideration is holding a conference call with both the candidate and their significant other to address any questions their loved one has.
3. Offer Spousal/Domestic Partner Job Finding Assistance – In conjunction with the second best practice, the third best practice is to offer resume review or job finding assistance to the significant other who might be traveling with your candidate. This helps in two ways: 1) it allows the significant other to continue their career in conjunction with their partner’s move to this new location; 2) it allows the new employee to focus on their job and avoids unnecessary distractions.
4. Ensure Relocation Packages are Market Competitive – People talk to one another about benefits packages – a lot. With the advent of social media, people are more connected than ever and that means information about everything can be found online. Working with a Human Capital consulting firm, like Helios HR, to benchmark your benefit offerings can help your organization understand where your relocation package stands in comparison to your peers and the geographic area your organization is headquartered.
5. In-House vs. Outsourced Relocation Administration– Companies have two options when creating a relocation policy. They can either manage the relocations themselves, through the HR Department or someone on the Operations side of the house, or the organization can outsource the relocation to a relocation company. Either option is acceptable, but your firm should understand the pros and cons of each.
- In-House Relocation Administration Pros & Cons:
- Pros – allows your organization to control the relocation process from beginning to end; potentially cheaper if you only have a handful of people relocating.
- Cons – can be time-consuming; unsure of which vendors to work with; current staff has never done this before and could make large mistakes when arranging a move for a key employee.
- Outsourced Relocation Administration Pros & Cons:
- Pros – Ease of use for employee and company; simplifies the process; allows HR/Operations to focus on other more pressing needs your organization faces.
- Cons – Can be expensive depending on the number of employees/candidates who are relocating; need to take the time to conduct an evaluation of potential relocation partners; continually assess the cost/benefit of the program; takes more coordination amongst the vendor, employee, and employer.
The relocation process is an exciting time for you as an employer. It means you are no longer working at the local level; instead, your reach is expanding and quite possibly so is your customer base. As you continue to venture into the unknown, it is always a good idea to look at your bottom line when it comes to hiring a new employee or transferring an employee from one location to another. The five items outlined above should help make that transition easier not only for them but for your organization as well.