Relocation Policy

Relocation assistance packages come in all shapes and sizes. Some employers design tiered, standardized packages dependent upon career level or position, while others may opt for use-case specific options..

Relocation benefits are a business expense. To stay true to your organization’s bottom line, it’s important to be detailed when creating, managing, and negotiating these benefits—not to mention how you track and measure your program’s effectiveness.

Relocation assistance packages aren’t one-size-fits-all. Job type, employee experience, and location all factor into the relocation benefits provided. Best of all—they can be restructured to fit your organizational goals/needs at any time.

What are the Different Types of Relocation Policies?

  • Expense Reimbursement plans reimburse certain relocation expenses incurred and paid for by the employee with a cap set by the company. Benefits such as packers, movers, travel,  short term housing, and meals are possible benefits eligible for reimbursement with receipts provided. The planning and execution of the relocation is left entirely up to the employee.
  • Lump sum packages where the employee receives a fixed amount with no oversight or management of how those funds are to be used.
  • Fully Covered plans offer to fully fund the move with little to no cap and with help from relocation consultants. These plans are often reserved for high-level executives.
  • Core Flex Plans offer a pre-set list of possible benefits that transferees might need, and employers can decide how much money they’ll allow a transferee to use toward these options. The employee is given several benefits to choose from, while leaving options they don’t need, making it more economical for the company and flexible for the employee.
  • Managed budget packages offer a fixed amount of money, access to relocation consultants to manage it and a list of vetted suppliers.

UrbanBound’s software allows companies to drive down the cost of services by streamlining vetted suppliers and lowering administrative costs.

Why Should You Have a Relocation Policy?

Many organizations consider their employee relocation program essential to meeting their recruiting goals. In fact, the top reasons employers use employee relocation are:  

  • To fill positions internally by transferring and/or promoting proven employees
  • To recruit specialized talent that can’t be found in-house
  • To combat a talent shortage in the employer’s home city 
  • To bring along key employees and executives when relocating headquarters to a new city or opening up a new location.  

Relocation Assistance is Provided as a Compliment to Traditional Employee Benefits

Offering these benefits helps to set them apart from other organizations and give them a leg up in talent acquisition. It also helps to be able to expand recruiting efforts geographically. Without an attractive relocation package, securing skilled long-distance talent is a long shot. 

For example, if a company has a competitive internship program, offering modest, but comprehensive relocation benefits to interns can set an employer apart from the pack.    

Also, a company that offers candidate software makes in-person recruiting and interviewing easy and efficient by enabling prospective employees to book travel, hotels and submit expenses for reimbursement while simultaneously learning about the prospective destination they would live in if they accept an offer.

Some organizations want to diversify their workforce by hiring internationally, or maybe they’re expanding and opening a branch in a new location. Strong relocation assistance packages give employees an extra incentive to move.

Every relocation package you offer is a reflection of your organization's values and culture. At the end of the day you want relocating employees to feel taken care of every step of the way.    

What is Offered in a Relocation Policy?

Most relocation packages typically cover these costs:

  • Traditional Moving Expenses – household goods shipment and auto transport.
  • Travel – the cost of plane tickets or car travel to get an employee—and their family, if applicable—from the old to new location.
  • Home sale and purchase assistance – Think closing costs and/or home-finding trips conducted in advance of the move. 
  • Rental-related expenses – Because many employees now choose to rent as opposed to buying homes, rental-related benefits are playing an increasingly important role in relocation packages.

More generous relocation packages may also include these benefits...

  • Short-term housing – Maybe an employee’s closing isn’t for another month, or they didn’t have time to find the right apartment. In those cases, short-term housing unfurnished or fully furnished is a valuable benefit. 
  • Home Sale Options- A Buyer Value Option (BVO) enables a relocating employee to sell their home quickly and painlessly to a 3rd party company or their employer without the headache of listing and showing their home. A GBO aka Guaranteed Buyout is where the employer or third party agrees to purchase an employee’s principal residence, typically based on the average of two appraisals, with a fixed acceptance period. These are the richest benefits that can be offered because closing costs and other home sale related expenses like commissions are also covered by the employer or third party.
  • Home Purchase Options offers buyer’s assistance for those that need help buying a home at their new location. Real estate agents in the area are vetted to find the best ones to assist the employees, taking the headache out of moving.
  • Destination Service Provider - provides a variety of concierge services to a newly relocating employee and their family, for example introducing the employee to various aspects of their new city, from transportation to childcare to the best restaurants.
  • Complete packing and unpacking services – This benefit is typical in executive level relocation packages.
  • Job search assistance for a spouse or partner – Also a common feature of executive level relocation packages.
  • Acclimation services – The main reason relocations fail is because employees and/or their families fail to acclimate to their new environment. It’s important to offer services like classes to learn the new language if you’re doing an  international relocation. Otherwise, the employee will fail to launch into their new community and will most likely find another job so they can move back home.
  • Candidate assistance tools – UrbanBound’s Candidate solution boosts job offer acceptance rates by providing tips and area info that improves the interview experience and educates candidates while speeding reimbursement for travel and related expenses.

Sometimes, the best relocation benefits are those that offer the most flexibility, allowing employees to pick and choose their benefits. 

Good Advice for Formulating Your Relocation Policy

After working with employers who move hundreds, if not thousands, of employees per year – we’ve noticed the most successful companies continually reevaluate and restructure their relocation benefits and processes.

There are several key themes that we’ve observed that contribute to successful relocation experiences. Here’s what they had in common:

  • Clear designations of what was covered and what wasn’t. The last thing you want to deal with are tons of exception requests!
  • Monetary consideration for incidental expenses like changing driver’s licenses, utility deposits, etc.
  • Direct access to reputable, vetted suppliers.
  • Access to professional guidance for employers and employees throughout the entire process.
  • Simplified, fast reimbursement policies.
  • Reiterate the flexibility point made above either as it’s own bullet under #1 bullet or combine with #1 - removing antiquated approaches that cost the employer way more money 


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