Two for the Road: Relocation Benefits for Spouses and Partners

For most professionals, accepting a relocation offer is not a decision they make alone. Nor is relocation a solo adventure.

Many candidates and employees live with a spouse or domestic partner, who often have careers of their own. For this reason, savvy employers offer relocation benefits designed with couples and families in mind.                                         


These particular benefits can make a critical difference, from job acceptance rates to long-term retention rates—both of which may hinge on a partner’s happiness quota.

There’s a reason they’re called “significant others.” And it’s time they received some attention of their own.  


Two-by-Two: Couples Relocation by the Numbers      

According to Pew Research, six out of 10 adults between the ages of 25-54 have a spouse or partner. And per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about half of married couples are dual-income families.

Tally it up, and that’s a whole big bunch of people who are asked to relocate for their better half, often at the expense of their own career.  

No wonder many candidates decline otherwise appealing relocation offers: their spouse or partner simply isn’t on board. Similarly, when relocations fail—i.e., when a relocated employee bails mid-assignment—it’s usually because their mates/families haven’t acclimated to the new environment.

This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as “trailing spouse syndrome” (a phrase we promise not to mention again). Whatever you call it, it’s the reason why employers should bend over backward to treat spouses and partners with care and consideration—before, during, and after the move.


Relocation Benefits for Spouses and Partners

The objective of offering relocation benefits geared to spouses and domestic partners is twofold: 1) to ease the relocation process and 2) to help them acclimate to their new home.

Such benefits may include:

  • Pre-relocation assistance, such as providing valuable information about the new area, including real estate facts, demographics, schools, recreational highlights, etc.
  • Orientation/house-hunting trips that include personalized tours and home-buying visits.
  • In the event of international relocations, cultural and language training, as well as guidance regarding visas and immigration law.
  • Settling-in services, including help opening bank accounts, registering kids in school, and recommendations for everything from grocery stores to healthcare providers.

In addition, these benefits may include career assistance for spouses and domestic partners who seek employment in their new city. Such career assistance may include support with resume writing and interviewing, introductions/networking opportunities, and traditional job placement services.


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How Relocation Providers Deliver Support to Spouses and Partners  

Relocation management companies use varied vehicles to deliver benefits to relocating spouses and domestic partners, including:

Destination Services Programs

Destination services programs may include all the forms of assistance listed above. Often, services are provided via third-party specialists. Their representatives work directly with relocating families, guiding the new arrivals through the new area and connecting them to local resources.

Alternatively, many of these tasks are also performed by experienced, service-oriented real estate agents who specialize in corporate relocations.

Advanced Relocation Software

When it comes to supporting spouses and partners, tech-based relocation providers have an edge over traditional, non-tech providers. For starters, they can provide a world of carefully curated information about the new location online, offering a thorough introduction to the area.

In addition, when partners are involved in relocation logistics—and in our experience, that’s usually the case—relocation software makes it easy for both partners to engage in planning.

Relocation Specialists

Every relocation provider worth its salt knows the value of the human touch, which is why it should provide employees and their spouses with access to experienced relocation specialists who can offer personalized guidance and support.

For partners who are managing the million-and-one details related to their family’s move, a kind, knowledgeable voice can make all the difference.

At UrbanBound, we leverage all of these solutions to offer relocating employees and families a highly personalized relocation experience.


Two for the Road       

Many times, relocating an employee is a package deal involving their significant other and/or family. With a little thought and care, you can ensure that your relocation benefits keep the whole crew engaged and happy throughout the process.

For more insights on how we do this, check out this short video. For ideas on how employees can support their partners’ during the move, read our companion blog, Ensuring Your Partner Survives Relocation.

Human Resources Today