Relocation & HR Trends

The Easiest Way to Assess Your Relocation Policy

Posted by Lauren Decker on May 5, 2016 1:04:59 PM

shutterstock_259040684-913958-edited.jpgRelocation policies take time and work to create. You have to evaluate the different types of benefits to offer, understand the costs of each, get approval for those benefits, and then, of course, create a document that explains how your employees can use their relocation benefits.

Because of the work that goes into creating a policy, the thought of updating or revising policies one can also seem daunting. If you aren’t a full-time relocation specialist, proactively revising your policy probably doesn’t sit high on your list to things to do. You’ve likely got a number of other projects on your plate, so if your relocation policy isn’t broken, it’s hard to set aside time to proactively review and update it.

While it’s tempting to keep your relocation policy intact until you come across major issues, it isn’t necessarily a good practice. When the major issues arise, you’ll be forced to drop everything you’re doing and make quick updates to resolve the problems. Not only is this inconvenient, but it could also result in you creating band aids to fix issues quickly instead of taking a strategic, long-term approach when making changes in your policy.

In addition to getting ahead of issues, proactively reviewing your policy helps ensure that your policy is aligned with current company goals. For example, if your company is tightening the budget, you may want to look at the policy to identify opportunities for cost savings. Or if your company has recently increased hiring forecasts, you may want to evaluate your policies to ensure they are attractive to candidates.

Depending on the state of your company, there’s a number of things you can look for as you evaluate your policy, but one of the easiest things you can do when evaluating any relocation policy is to ask "why?". Use this question to frame the different components of your policy. 

Why have we chosen these eligibility requirements?
Why do we offer this type of benefit?
Why do we calculate taxes that way?

Understanding how and why certain decisions were made will help you identify opportunities for change and improvement. For instance, if some of the factors driving a certain decision are no longer relevant, it may be time to reevaluate that particular part of your policy.

For example, let’s say you only have one relocation policy that covers all employee levels. You learn that the reason why there is only one policy is because the policy was created at a time when there were only a couple relocations per year. Now there are several relocations per year, including executive moves. Now that you understand they “why”, you can make a more educated decision about whether or not to update the policy. In this case, you may decide it’s time to create a separate tier to account for the increase in relocations.

Additionally, if you find that no one can answer why a decision was made, or the answer is “it’s just always been that way”, that’s a pretty good indicator that you need to reevaluate that component of your policy. You may discover there are alternative options that help you save money, improve the employee’s relocation experience, or make your relocation package more attractive to candidates.

Instead of waiting for major issues to arise, you can actually avoid them all together by proactively evaluating your policy and digging into the “why” behind each component. Taking some time out of your schedule to do this routinely will help you avoid future issues, ensure you’re aligned to company goals, and identify ways to make your employee’s relocation even better than it is today!

 core/flex relocation policies

Topics: Policy, Relocation

HR Tech and Relocation: In the News

Posted by Kinga Ricci on May 3, 2016 11:57:28 AM

hr tech relocationIt's time to take a break and catch up with our HR Tech and Relocation news from the week.

Here at UrbanBound we read all things relocation, all the time, and we pick out the must read stories of the week.

For instance the Re:locate Awards have chosen their shortlist for Technological Innovation in Relocation ( and you may notice your favorite Chicago-based Relocation Management Software made the finals!)

Check out what else is going on in the world of corporate relocation:

The Results Are In! Atlas Van Lines’ Annual Corporate Relocation Survey Has All the Information We Need

It’s that time again — the results of the highly-anticipated annual Atlas Van Lines' Corporate Relocation Survey are here!

And the results show that the corporate relocation market is only getting hotter — corporate relocation volume and budgets continue to rise, according to the Atlas Van Lines press release.

“We're thrilled to see our longest running industry survey results once again identify increased relocation volume and budgets," said Jack Griffin, president and COO of Atlas World Group, in a statement. "This survey provides an in-depth look at expected corporate relocation patterns and helps us better understand changes in the industry, ultimately allowing us to assist our human resource and mobility peers to the best of our ability.”

Before you dig into the full survey (it’s a big one) check out some survey results highlighted in the press release:

  • Respondents cited lack of qualified local talent as the top external issue (42 percent) for relocations and company growth as the number one internal factor (39 percent).

  • Forty-three percent of those surveyed say their most frequently relocated employees are under 36 years old.

  • Roughly two-thirds of companies are using alternative assignments of some type; 65 percent of firms continue to indicate they have a formal short-term/temporary assignment policy; 52 percent have an extended business travel policy; and 40 percent have a policy for long-distance commuters.

  • For new hires, full reimbursement has fallen to the lowest levels historically (36 percent); transferees are the most likely to receive full reimbursement (55 percent) of relocation expenses.

  • Firms are using lump sums and partial reimbursement at similar levels: roughly half utilize lump sums for either transferees (42 percent) or new hires (45 percent) and 38 percent use partial reimbursement for either transferees or new hires.

And for any professional dealing with both domestic and international relocations, this infographic is for you.

What’s interesting is that we are seeing a shift in the age and employment level of the employees that companies are choosing to relocate. With 43% of all relocated employees being under the age of 36, employees in entry and mid-level positions made up nearly three-fourths of the relocating population last year.

What Does it Take to Run a Successful Relo Department?

Michelle Sandlin is back with more valuable insights from our fellow friends in the relocation industry (because the best way to learn is from those who have been through it!)

She interviewed Tess Chaney, the relocation director at Sotheby's International Realty for the Chron article: On the move - Relocation Spotlight: Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty

Michelle Sandlin: “What are some of the most important aspects in running a successful relocation department today?”

Tess Chaney:” A teamwork environment is required to meet the demands of the third-party relocation management companies, and for the transferees who need us to be available. The speed of response to all communication is one of the things that is very important to us, so if one of us is out of the office, another team member can pick up their files and reply back as needed. Also, we all have different backgrounds within the real estate world, so our combined experience and knowledge of the local market make us a valuable resource to our relocation clients.”

Check out the full interview here.

Wish there was more! Check out these great reads:

Millennials, Mobility and Motivation FEM

How Companies Are Using Simulations, Competitions, and Analytics to Hire Harvard Business Review

Recruiting Is Only Getting Tougher [infographic] HR Bartender

5 Tips to Land Your San Francisco Dream Apartment Huffington Post

Packing tips for families moving abroad Expat Directory

6 Steps To Analyze Post-Hire Data And Improve Your Recruitment Marketing Efforts ERE

Who makes better hiring decisions, man or machine? Steve Boese's HR Technology

4 Keys to Buying a Flipped House Zillow

United States: Fiscal year 2017 H-1B cap reached already Re:locate Magazine

decoding the language of lump sum

Topics: Technology, Chicago

The Best Way to Explain Core/Flex to Transferees and Decision Makers

Posted by Ryne Inman on May 3, 2016 8:59:49 AM

If you’re looking to update your relocation policies to make them more in line with current standards, your shutterstock_117913936.jpgbest bet is to integrate a Core/Flex style program. You probably already know the basics of this concept, but just in case you don’t, here’s a quick summary. All of your relocating employees get a set core benefit, and then the policy can be tailored further to fit each employee’s needs from a menu of flexible benefits. You can have different tiers of core benefits and flexible options for employees at different levels, but the concept is the same no matter the size of the benefit.

But taking this from conception to completion can be a bit more challenging than the simplicity of the idea suggests. Your policy needs to be robust enough to be valuable in the eyes of candidates, diverse enough to cover the eclectic needs of those relocating, but still affordable and a smart investment for your company. In order to create a comprehensive structure, you can look to a simple metaphor: the building block. Toys like Lego and Duplo bricks are a good way to illustrate a complex concept, and to help you present it to decision makers and relocating employees.

The core benefit is best symbolized by the large, flat base on which a structure can be built. It needs to be stable and broad enough to build upon, but flat and not elaborately shaped, so that you can construct something on top of it.

The blocks, then, come in different sizes and colors, just as some benefits may cost more or may address a different particular need. Some transferees may get 8 bricks, some may get 3, but the idea is that the transferee gets to decide which bricks they are going to need. Spurring them into action gives them more ownership of their relocation, and exposes them to the portions of your policy they will actually need.

Core/Flex is popular because it both provides the necessary benefits, but also eliminates the possibility of paying for benefits that do not get used. Thus the policy is more effective for the transferee, and more cost-efficient for the company. It is one of those rare examples where you can have your cake and eat it too, but only if you execute it smartly.

decoding the language of lump sum

Topics: Policy, DIY, HR

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