Relocation & HR Trends

3 Components Every Relocation Policy Should Have

Posted by Lauren Decker on Feb 11, 2016 11:30:24 AM

3 Components Every Relocation Policy Should Have

We can all agree that communicating relocation benefits to employees is important. It’s critical for a relocating employee to understand if they’re eligible for relocation benefits, what benefits they qualify for, and how to use them.

How we communicate those benefits and what exactly we communicate is the difficult part.

Deciding how and what to communicate is even harder if you’re writing a relocation policy for the first time. Most companies start by communicating relocation benefits in an informal way, such as in an offer letter, and eventually move to a formalized document as they grow (and subsequently administer more relocations). If your company is moving toward more formalized documentation, even knowing where to start writing a relocation policy can challenging.

Even if you already have a relocation policy, reviewing it periodically is critical to ensure the language is clear and effective. Sometimes small changes get added to a relocation policy over time and, without reviewing it frequently, can turn into a lengthy, hard to understand document that creates confusion with transferees.

Whether you are just starting to write a relocation policy or are re-evaluating your current policy, keep in mind that every relocation policy should answer: who is eligible for relocation benefits, what relocation benefits are offered, and what are the tax implications.

Let’s take a look at each of these components!

Eligibility Requirements

Clearly defining who is eligible for relocation benefits is the first step to creating an effective relocation policy or document. New hires and employees offered an internal transfer want to know the answers to these two questions:

“Am I eligible for relocation benefits?”

“Are my family members eligible for relocation benefits?”

Establishing eligibility parameters requires your company to define the criteria that qualifies an employees for relocation benefits. The criteria may take several factors into account including, employment status, relocation distance, and even employee position. Clearly defining this criteria helps you set proper expectations with employees and reduce the number of questions back to your team.

For example, a company may decide that full-time employees and full-time new hires are eligible for relocation benefits if the new work location is at least 50 miles farther from their home than their former work location was from their home. Employee and qualified dependents are eligible to receive benefits. A dependent is defined as a person who is claimed on the employee’s income tax form.

You can see that this defines the required employment status (full-time employees) and the move distance required (50 miles). It also notes that employee dependents are eligible for relocation benefits and clearly defines what a “dependent” means.

Whether you are providing relocation benefits to only internal transfers or to anyone who is relocating on behalf of the company, defining this in your relocation policy will ensure that everyone can find the answer to “Am I eligible for relocation benefits?”

Definition of Relocation Benefits and How to Claim Them

Once you’ve established who is eligible for benefits, you need to define what the benefits include. This section will likely be the bulk of your policy. A relocation policy needs to clearly articulate what relocation benefits are offered and how employees can take advantage of them.

Like the eligibility section, this portion of the policy should help set proper expectations for employees and reduce questions. When you’re creating this section, remember that the more direct you can be, the better. If you use company or industry-specific language, you may create confusion for your relocating employees. This is especially true if many of your employees are first time movers. They may not know what common relocation terms like “household goods shipment” or “gross-up” means.

It’s also critical to include how an employee should use these benefits. Will a third party administer the benefits and facilitate their use? Is the employee responsible for finding their own relocation suppliers? Including these specifics make it easier for the employee to understand what exactly their role is in the relocation process.

For example, let’s take a look at what a benefit description might look like for Acme Corporation who is offering direct bill benefits to relocating employees:

You will receive an allowance of up to $10,000 for shipment of household goods, which includes which includes truck rental, packing labor, and unpacking labor. Acme Corporation will pay suppliers directly for these services. A representative from Acme Corporation’s relocation management company will reach out to help you initiate this process and connect you to a pre-approved network of suppliers.

In this example, you can see that Acme Corporation has clearly defined the benefit offered (shipment of household goods to be paid for by Acme), the benefit cap ($10,000), and instructions on how to claim this benefit (a representative from Acme’s RMC will reach out).

This is just one example of what a benefit description may look like. Whether you use this format or another, be sure your policy answers the questions of “What benefits will I receive?” and “How do I claim those benefits?”

Tax Implications

The third component that should be included in every relocation policy is related to taxes. Whether you are providing tax assistance or not, it’s crucial to let your relocating employees know. Depending on your policy, you may choose to provide tax assistance for all relocation benefits, some relocation benefits, or no relocation benefits. Whichever path you choose, the relocating employee should be aware so they can plan appropriately. 

If your company has taken an “all or none” approach and will be providing tax assistance for  either all benefits or none at all, communicating this can be achieved by adding one section that describes benefit tax implications. For example, this section may include one or two sentences letting employees know that their employer will provide tax assistance on taxable relocation benefits.

If your company only provides tax assistance for certain relocation benefits, tax implications may need to be listed individually for each benefit. You can add a sentence to each benefit description letting employees know if it’s tax assisted or if the employee is responsible for tax liability. Another option may be to include a grid that lists each benefit and who (company or employee) is responsible for the tax implications.

Whether you are writing your company’s first relocation policy or evaluating your current policy, make sure these components are included. There are a number of things you can include when communicating to employees about relocation benefits, but these three items are crucial to ensuring your employees (and your team) experience successful relocations.


relocation for the smb

Topics: Policy, Relocation

HR Tech and Relocation News: What You Need to Know

Posted by Kinga Ricci on Feb 9, 2016 12:09:45 PM

hr tech and relocationWant to catch up on the top HR tech and relocation news from the week?

You’re in the right place.

There’s so much going on that sometimes it’s hard to keep up! That’s why we are here bringing you all the news you may have missed while you were writing relocation policies, helping employees and their families through the move and just making sure that everything is smooth in the end.

Check out what you may have missed from the HR tech and relo scene:

Real Estate Agents That Understand Employee Relocation

When it comes to employee relocations, real estate agents can be a huge help — especially ones that understand how corporate relocations work. Real estate agents that can follow all the guidelines of a company’s relocation policy are a huge asset (and if they can understand the emotional connection that comes along with moving for a job then even better!)

The Chron’s relocation industry expert, Michelle Sandlin, covers the specific (and sometimes confusing to a transferee) corporate relocation real estate process in her article Relocation home sale often involves two distinct transactions.

Sandlin points out that “The first one occurs when the employee sells his or her home to the RMC, and the second one is the sale from the RMC to the ultimate buyer of the property. Thus, relocation home sale programs have been designed to be arm's length transactions.”

What’s the reason behind the two-step process? Sandlin turns to Pete Scott, Worldwide ERC's (Employee Relocation Council's) tax counsel, “the reason for the the two separate transactions has to do with tax implications associated with the sale of the employee's home.”

Find out more about what the tax implications are in Michelle Sandlin’s article.

The Business of Innovation

The word innovation gets tossed around a lot nowadays and (as we all know) innovation is necessary to grow companies, provide the best solutions for our workforce and lead towards success. From new ideas to technology to creating sustainable solutions, innovation is what pushes us forward.

But how do we truly become innovative? And how can HR leaders really affect change in their organizations?  Re:locate magazine takes a deeper dive into this:aaaabllaskdfj.jpeg Innovation rises up business agenda: CIPD

Dr Jill Miller, research adviser at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, tells Re:locate magazine, "With people being at the heart of how businesses operate, HR has a significant role to play in wider organisational innovation. This requires business-wide systemic thinking and action to affect change. The good news is that we can see from the report that the appetite from non-HR business leaders for HR to drive this change is there. HR leaders need to focus on growing technological and analytical capabilities within the function, so it has the ability to meet future business requirements and really flourish in the evolving world of work."

“While HR leaders recognise the need to replace legacy systems, the research shows they must continue to help the wider business understand the need to change these outdated systems with those built to deliver the real-time analytics required to achieve HR transformation and move the business forward,” added Karen Minicozzi, vice president of HCM product strategy at HR software supplier Workday EMEA.

Perhaps not surprisingly, innovation has become a priority in today’s workforce for HR leaders and business leaders alike. Re:locate magazine published the following results of CIPD/Workday HR Outlook leaders’ survey:

Top five current priorities for HR leaders:

  1. Cost management (63%)

  2. Talent management (50%)

  3. Increasing agility/flexibility of organisations (49%)

  4. Innovation (35%)

  5. Productivity (33%)

Top five current priorities for business leaders:

  1. Cost management (61%)

  2. Increasing customer focus (39%)

  3. Productivity (32%)

  4. Innovation (32%)

  5. Talent Management (28%)

Read more here to find what the experts have to say.

Want more where that came from? Check out these articles:

How Social HR Help Startups to Scale up Entrepreneur

Career Best: Expats Put Switzerland On Top, But It’s Not Just About the Money The Wall Street Journal

How can HR drive high employee engagement? Expert Q&A HR.BLR

When An Employee Leaves, Who Owns Their Social Media Accounts? TLNT

What to Unpack First in Your New Home Zillow

The Most Innovative Recruiting Strategies ERE

Labour Market Impact Assessment Exemption Created for Television and Film Production Workers FEM

Companies Are Reimagining Business Processes with Algorithms Harvard Business Review

Intelligent Technology Steve Boese

6 Steps to Find and Book the Perfect Moving Services

Global Directions: Mobility Trends in January/February 2016 Lexology


lump sum

Topics: Technology, HR

3 Things You Need to Explain to Interns That Also Benefit Full-Time Employees

Posted by Ryne Inman on Feb 9, 2016 9:02:56 AM

An ideal internship program offers both educational and experiential value. It is an opportunity for youngTackling the following three areas can minimize these pain points with the added benefit of helping your full-time employees as well. adults to get a taste of what their post-grad careers will be like, gain real-life knowledge of their field, and to just learn how a professional office operates day-to-day. There are some speedbumps, sure, especially when it comes to using tech in this environment. Tackling the following three areas can minimize these pain points with the added benefit of helping your full-time employees as well.

Social Media Rules & Guidelines

Social media has revolutionized how people communicate and led to the development of several exciting new ways for people to get themselves into trouble. This is the first generation to have access to these platforms, many of them coming of age as they became permanent fixtures of our society. These are natural extensions of their voice. It’s important for their professional success, and for your program, that you outline explicit guidelines as to what is and is not acceptable to post, tweet, bine, snap, honk, whizz, bang, zap, or whatever else. Things like confidentiality agreements may be brand new to them, so explaining the why of the policy is just as important as the what.

The young and the old alike overstep boundaries in a split second in front of a global audience. This policy is also something that can be applied to your general workforce. The tone and explanations may need to be written differently for the audience, but the effect will be the same.

Intra-Office Communication Best Practices

Even with every communication method at their fingertips, the actual process of using these tools in a professional environment remains elusive. These are young adults at the very beginning of their careers. We can’t expect them to be fluent in intra-office or even professional inter-office communication protocols. This can often vary from department to department, so make sure that each intern is aware of how their team prefers to stay in touch. Social norms like these are very sensitive, and can start passionate debates. Some people are staunchly anti-email while others may rely on it to keep track of their communications.

Device & Account Security

With BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies becoming the norm, you’ll need to explain best practices for securing their devices, and the accounts they use to log into various services. Device security is a crucial part of any information security program. It is the most easily accessible way for a malcontent to gain access to personal and professional information. Requiring locks on all devices used to access company information, even email, is necessary to provide a protective shell over basic data. Likewise, enforcing password security protects from online intrusions. 2-Factor Authorization should be enabled for all services that offer it, and that goes for personal accounts as well. These steps are worth it for the security they offer. The relief you’ll feel is a nice bonus.

lump sum

Topics: Internship, Technology, HR

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