7 Common Mistakes Employers Make When Developing a Relocation Program

So, your employer is ready for a formal relocation program—that’s great! A strong relocation program will broaden your talent pool and boost your hiring rates. Given the ongoing labor shortage, it’s a smart move.

But developing a relocation program from scratch isn’t a snap; there’s a learning curve. And whatever you come up with…well, chances are, you’ll be living with it for a while.

That’s why it’s important to steer clear of the most common pitfalls—including and especially these.  

Mistake #1: Setting a Program Budget Blindly

A corporate relocation program is an investment—one that, done right, yields a solid ROI. But like any serious investment, you need to do your research. 

Yes, the first question management will ask is: how much will it cost? But you can’t set a budget without knowing what you’re budgeting for, which is why you should first determine:  

  • How many employees do you think you’ll relocate per year? 
  • How many policy tiers you’ll offer for various level employees.
  • The average cost per employee for each tier. 

…and more!

As a relocation newbie, you can’t figure this out on your own. So, start talking to your peers and partners about their relocation programs. Reach out to some relocation management providers, picking their brains and requesting proposals. The more you know, the more realistic your budget.

Mistake #2: Creating Too Many Policy Rules

When designing relocation policies, it’s tempting to go heavy on rules and limitations, dividing various benefits into rigid little buckets. The problem is, this tends to backfire.

Every employee’s move is unique. Imposing too many limitations not only frustrates new hires who can’t plan the move they need, but ends up flooding your staff with requests for exceptions. 

Instead of rules, think in terms of flexibility. Give people the latitude to personalize their relocations, and everyone will be happier.

Mistake #3: Managing Your Program In-house

There are employers who can handle their relocation program effectively in-house, but they’re the exception, not the rule.

In most cases, when relocation is managed in-house, it’s delegated to some ill-equipped HR professional who already has a very full plate. As a result, the program never gets the attention it deserves, problems are handled reactively, and things occasionally fall through the cracks. 

The last thing you want is new hires who’ve had a nightmarish relocation experience and stressed-out staff who feel set up to fail. Don’t go there!  

Mistake #4: Failing to Obtain Multiple Proposals 

When requesting proposals, don’t limit yourself to a single relocation company. For one thing, you’ll learn a ton by talking to multiple providers. For another, relocation providers operate very differently. Services are structured differently, and fees vary—by a lot! 

For example, when employers move from another provider to UrbanBound, they save an average of 66%! That’s how much variance there is in the industry. 

So, don’t sign with the first provider you meet with. Keep in mind: a great provider WANTS you to check out the competition, because it’s confident it has a superior program.   

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Mistake #5: Forgoing a Program Tracking Process  

Of course, you want to monitor how much you’re spending on relocations, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

You’ll also want to monitor how satisfied employees are with their relocation experience, how long they stay with the company and more. This allows you to assess your relocation program’s value—something you’ll want to start tracking on Day One.

A good relocation provider will automatically provide you with these kinds of valuable reports and analytics—make it part of your selection criteria.

Mistake #6: Settling for a Skimpy Supplier Network 

Remember how we said every employee’s move is different? For this reason, you need a diverse supplier network—one that can accommodate all size moves and housing situations.  

Here’s a dirty little secret: some relocation providers are affiliated with specific moving companies. They may require your employees to use their mover, even if it costs more than needed or is a poor fit. 

Similarly, some realtors may be all about home-buying, but not servicing renters. That’s why a diverse supplier network is so important—and another item for your punch list.  

Mistake #7: Making Tech an Afterthought Instead of a Priority

Chances are, the people you’re relocating are sophisticated professionals. They rely on technology and expect to conduct business online, on their own terms.

It may shock you to know that traditional relocation companies are far from tech-based—that most arrangements are still handled the old-fashioned way: laboriously, by phone, during business hours.  

However, there are tech-based relocation companies out there—like UrbanBound. These enable employees to plan their relocation online, while providing employers with transparency into their program. Needless to say, they’re much more affordable, too.  

When building your relocation, obviously, it’s in your interest to check out both approaches.  

At the end of the day, you want a relocation program that will please and impress your relocating employees as well as HR and senior management—and that will speak well about your business and the way it operates.

Want more guidance on building a great relocation program? We’re happy to help.  

Human Resources Today