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Takeaway #6: Creating Consistent Policies Is Important
Several roundtable participants noted that they’re reviewing their relocation policies and processes to ensure mobile employees are treated consistently
One employer has prioritized ensuring that global transferees have access to all the same benefits and technologies that domestic employees do. Another is focused on ensuring all relocating employees receive equal benefits—noting that ex-pats do talk to each other and will inevitably find out if someone received a sweeter relocation package
Takeaway #7: Lump Sum Policies Are Controversial
Our roundtable had a vibrant discussion on the value and role lump sum relocation policies. The group was largely in agreement that lump sum plans are best used at the low end of tiered relocation programs.
However, while some saw lump sum policies as a purely cost-savings move—one that can potentially compromise the relocation experience—others asserted that managed lump sum policies excel at offering relocating employees choice over how they spend their benefit dollars.
One recommendation was that lump sum policies be thoroughly benchmarked, ensuring benefits will cover actual relocation costs using high-quality movers.
(note: our Freeway product was developed to offer the best of both worlds: the cost-effectiveness and freedom of choice of lump sum benefits, plus the personalized experience of working with a live relocation consultant.)
Takeaway #8: Employers Are Tax-protecting Relocation Benefits
The employers represented in our roundtable have elected to gross up their employees’ relocation benefits to cover their tax liability resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. They do this across all tiers of their relocation programs.
Some also conduct a “true-up” reconciliation at year-end, especially for executive-level employees, to ensure employees aren’t penalized financially for their decision to relocate.
Takeaway #9: Discard and Donate Programs Are a Win/Win
Several roundtable participants noted that they have had great success with discard and donate programs, which offer employees a cash sum as an alternative to moving their household goods. In one such program, 60% of relocating employees elected to sell or donate their belongings, take the cash, and purchase what they need at their new location.
Not only do employees like the programs—as one attendee noted, “cash is king”—but employers do, too, because it reduces damage claims and other headaches related to household good moves.
Takeaway #10: Priority One is Putting People First
Throughout our discussion, one theme remained consistent: despite the tremendous logistical and financial challenges created by COVID-19, mobility professionals will continue to find ways to put people first when they are relocating.
Yes, the relocation management industry is changing. Yes, their mobility programs will undoubtedly change, too. However, their commitment to do right by their employees and their families remains constant.
That’s our philosophy at UrbanBound, too. Our tech-driven relocation management company modernizes the way companies relocate employees. It reduces costs by more than 25%--all while delivering an outstanding relocation experience. See what our customers say about us.