The Keys to Balancing Your First Relocation Policy

Posted by Ryne Inman on Sep 27, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Creating your first relocation policy can feel like being dropped in the middle of a desert with a bag of randomFrom lean, mean startups to local hospital groups, the diversity of companies diving into relocation as a means to expand their talent search and their recruitment success rate is increasing. tools and no map. You may have a bucket of anecdotes about relocations and some vague idea of what should go into a policy, but making use of those tools and navigating your way out of the sand is whole other thing.

We’ve seen it all when it comes to policies. From single page “just the facts” sheets to 29-page opuses, companies of all sizes take their own approach to building the foundation of their relocation program. The discrepancy may not come as a major surprise, but the reasons for the size of the divide could surprise you.

From lean, mean startups to local hospital groups, the diversity of companies diving into relocation as a means to expand their talent search and their recruitment success rate is increasing. Further fueling the increased interest is the roll out of technology that unlocks relocation as an option for companies with tight budgets, those who are short staff to manage a program, and those who fall into both categories.

Because so many different types and sizes of companies are jumping into the relocation space, the types and varieties of policies is expanding in kind. There is no one size fits all relocation policy. Your focus should be on your budget and staff capacity and your hiring projections. Ideally, your solution should answer the question: “Will we be able to implement this policy with the money and staff we have available?”

A secondary consideration, but one that is important to setting a policy firmly in place, is to consider what is standard among your peers. You want to be competitive in your offering, of course, but you also want to mind that you aren’t going overboard and blowing your budget. It’s not just about spending less or spending more, but about spending smarter.

Whether you’re saving by maximizing group buying discounts from suppliers, through smarter administration, or all of the above, maintaining your recruiting edge in your relocation package is key to securing the talent your company needs to beat out your competitors.

recruiting in healthcare

Topics: Technology, Relocation Policy, HR

3 Tips to Executing Your Company's First International Relocation

Posted by Lauren Decker on Sep 26, 2016 11:14:44 AM

international relocations

You have your domestic relocation program up and running and have helped several employees relocate.

Now, your company has decided to open an international office and will relocate a handful of U.S. employees overseas to get things off the ground.

But you ask yourself: How prepared actually is your team to handle their first international relocation?

The basic concepts of relocating (shipping household goods, travel to the new location, etc.) still apply to international relocations, but there are many ways that international relocations differ from domestic relocations. Relocating an employee from one country to another results in a more complex relocation process where the risk of failure is much higher.

From visa applications to navigating customs to learning about a different culture, international relocations create additional challenges for both employers and employees. If you treat your first international relocation just like a domestic move, you will be leaving a lot of pressure on your employee to navigate this process on their own—likely leading to a difficult, potentially unsuccessful, relocation.

If international growth is where your company is headed, start planning for your international relocation program now and keep these three tips in mind to ensure you start your international moves off on the right foot.

1. Start Visa Application Early

For international moves, applying for a visa is one of the most critical steps. Without a visa approved and in-hand, your employee will not be able to relocate. Period. The type of visa your relocating employee will need varies based on factors such as the individual’s citizenship status, the destination country, and assignment type (long term, short term, permanent) and the submission and approval timeline can be substantial. For this reason, you want to start this process as soon as the employee has agreed to the assignment.

Because this is a critical, time-consuming part of the international relocation process, many companies choose to outsource visa services to a partner who is familiar with the application process and can help track the status of the application. Companies like VISANOW specialize in global immigration and can help ensure this process goes smoothly for you and your relocating employee. If you’re handling your first international relocation in-house, you may consider working with a third party to assist.

In general, all aspects of the relocation take longer than a domestic move. Due to distance, customs, and other logistics the household goods shipment can take longer, as well as other moving activities like finding a home. Remember to get started earlier than normal on all of these aspects, in addition to the visa process.

2. Consider Offering Destination Services

One of the most obvious differences from a domestic relocation to an international relocation is the change in culture, and maybe even language. These cultural changes, along with being generally unfamiliar with the location, will make it more challenging for employees to assimilate to their new international city than a city within their own country. For this reason, you will likely need to provide more “settling in” support for international relocations than domestic relocations.

For instance, you may provide an employee relocating domestically with benefits to help them move their belongings, pay for final travel, and cover any short-term housing needed. In addition to these monetary benefits, let’s say you also provide them with education resources and co-worker advice to help them settle in.

In order to seamlessly assimilate, employees relocating internationally may need a lot more. From assistance with school search to area orientation and language training, there are a number of additional benefits you may consider offering to your relocating employees and their families. Remember, international relocations are inherently more expensive. So if the relocation fails because the employee and/or their family don’t feel comfortable in the new location, your company could be out a lot of money that can’t really be recouped.

As you begin relocating employees internationally, consider utilizing a Destination Service Provider to help with the critical process of settling in. Destination Service Providers are third parties who specialize in helping employees assimilate to their new location. These companies can help deliver a broad range of services to your relocation employees, including but not limited to home finding, area tour, school search, utility setup, and bank account setup.  

Living in a different country is a great experience for many employees, for some it may even be the main reason they accepted the assignment, but this doesn’t mean you can assume that it your employees will immediately feel comfortable in their new city. Help your employees navigate these cultural differences to ensure both the employee and your company get the most of the assignment.

3. Remember to Educate Your Employee About Tax Treatment 

Relocation benefits have different tax implications in the US than standard business expenses. When you start relocating employees internationally, you’ll be hit with even more implications. When it comes to taxes and payroll, there are a number of decisions your company will need to make about international assignments. The decisions your company makes will be dependant factors such as, what benefits you're offering, the assignment type, gross-up policy, and which country’s payroll the employee will be on, and more.

Whatever route your company chooses, there will be implications for your employee who is relocating. Be sure that your relocating employee understand these implications—even before they agree to the assignment. Educating your employee about these taxes is often called a tax briefing and is usually provided by your company’s tax provider. It’s critical for your employee to understand the tax implications of their move early on so they are not caught off guard during and after their move.

Making sure your relocating employees understand the tax treatment of relocation is a good practice for domestic moves too, but especially important for international assignments. Be sure to check this step off your list early in the process to ensure your employees are set-up for success during and after their relocation.

Beginning an international relocation program is an exciting time for both your company and your employees. Always keep in mind that these relocations are more time-consuming and complex than your domestic relocations and consider utilizing the expertise of third parties to help you and your team navigate the world of international relocations. With purposeful preparation, you can achieve an international relocation program just as successful as your domestic program!

international relocations

Topics: International Relocations, September Monthly Blog

UrbanBound Announced as Top 100 Finalist at the Chicago Innovation Awards

Posted by Kinga Ricci on Sep 23, 2016 1:27:33 PM

chicago tech sceneWe are proud to announce that UrbanBound has been named one of the Top 100 Finalists at the 15th Annual Chicago Innovation Awards! We work hard everyday to bring the best relocation management solutions for HR professionals and their relocating employees. As the relocation industry continues to grow, we can’t wait to see what the future brings.

At UrbanBound, everyone is a part of the successes and milestones our company encounters, and winning this award acknowledges us as a progressive company in not only the technology space, but the relocation space as well. We want to extend our deepest gratitude to those who have believed in us and helped us on our way, and to our magnificent clients who are the reason that we do this. It is your advice and feedback which guides us as we craft our future road map, and without all of your patience and feedback, we would not be here!

“Innovation is in the DNA of UrbanBound, and it is at the core of what the company was founded on,” said Co-founder Jeff Ellman. “We are always trying to find new ways to leverage technology to make the relocation process easier and more seamless for our clients and their employees, so we are honored that the Chicago Innovation Awards sees how disruptive our technology is.”

“Employers are now having that "Aha" moment and are taking notice to how powerful an RMS can be for their company. We are looking forward to continuing to innovate and solve the challenges our customers face.”

This year saw a record-breaking 643 nominees and we are honored to be recognized along with many of Chicago’s top innovative companies. The awards celebrate the most innovative new products and services in the Chicago region across all organization sizes, sectors and industries.urbanbound chicago innovation

Winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards come from all walks of life from big companies to small companies, non-profit and for-profit, and can range from high-tech to companies that use little to no tech. The nominees and winners all offer innovative solutions to everyday problems.

“We are honored to be named one of the Top 100 finalists for the Chicago Innovation Award. Not only is this such a great accomplishment for UrbanBound, it's really a testament to how the city of Chicago has fostered a hotbed of innovation. UrbanBound feels humbled to be in such great company among the other nominees and leaders in the thriving Chicago tech space,” said Michael Krasman, UrbanBound CEO and Co-founder.

Innovation is a catalyst for growth and as innovation and technology are changing the way many industries provide a service, Chicago’s Innovation Awards are putting the spotlight on Chicago.

Our hometown, which has been thought of mainly as an industrial city, wants to showcase their innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs and risk-takers. With the opportunity the awards have provided us, we are part of paving the way and reinventing Chicago as a leader in the technology and innovation space.

“What I love about Chicago is its breadth of innovation,” said Tom Kuczmarski, Co-founder of the Chicago Innovation Awards. “This year’s nominees prove that innovation is taking place in both large companies and small, across industries, for-profit and non-profit, high tech and low tech. These risk-takers and visionaries are at the forefront of solving all kinds of unmet needs in the marketplace.”

Help Us Move Forward!

Now it’s in your hands!chicago innovation awards

As one of the Top 100 Finalists, we are in the running for the People’s Choice Award which allows the public to vote for their favorite innovative companies and products!

If you have a chance, head over to the People’s Choice Award [voting page] and place your vote for your favorite innovative company in Chicago. To place your vote for UrbanBound (which we hope you will!), click through to the Human Resources section on Page 11, select UrbanBound, and then click "Next" until the final page to make sure your vote is submitted. The deadline to vote is October 6th.

What Happens Next?

Out of the Top 100 Finalists, the judges will select 10 winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards, as well as 10 winners of the Up-and- Comer Awards representing innovation in the startup community, the Social Innovator Award, the Collaboration Award, and 3 new Neighborhood Award winners, which will showcase innovation occurring in Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.

The winners will be invited to ring the NASDAQ Bell in New York City, invited to separate meetings with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor Bruce Rauner and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, and receive widespread media recognition.

About the Awards

The Chicago Innovation Awards, established in 2002, have grown from a single awards ceremony to a year-long series of events and activities designed to celebrate innovation in the Chicago region, educate people and organizations about the principles of innovation, and connect the corners of the economy by building relationships that strengthen companies, grow the economy, and create jobs. The organization’s expansion has included formation of the Chicago Innovation Foundation, which promotes innovation education and provides scholarships to college students each year, as well as The Innovators Connection, which connects large companies with Chicago-based start-ups.


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Topics: UB News

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