You’ve arranged the airplane tickets, rental home and new car for your mobile employees. But your job as a mobility manager isn’t done quite yet. It turns out that employees actually want a whole lot more out of the relocation process than an itinerary stating their flight time and new address.
That’s the latest discovery from our recent research paper that offers revealing insight from the perspectives of all of the key stakeholders in any relocation–from the employees being moved to the corporate managers and business unit leaders who are moving them. It’s a project that makes sense; after all, the more we know exactly what our clients and their mobile employees want out of a move, the better we can ensure the entire process is a sweeping success for all parties involved.
And while both companies/clients and mobile employees have a lot riding on a relocation, research shows that mobile employees are often the most vocal stakeholders. After all, they’re the ones packing up their bags, families and lives. And if they’re not happy with the process, their companies will be left grappling with frenetic employees obsessing over the relocation as opposed to focusing on their new role. And that’s a perfect recipe for soaring stress and plummeting productivity. Continue Reading →
While research shows a growing number of millennials choosing to purchase homes, the majority of this demographic still prefer to rent, especially in metropolitan areas, which are far more attractive to skilled employees looking for work/life opportunities in vibrant cities.
Of course, as the experts say, living in these locations ain’t cheap. Especially in New York City, where the median rent for a two bedroom apartment is $1,638 in the metro area and $3,895 in Manhattan. Groceries in NYC cost 28-39% more than the national average and public transportation is about 75% higher than the average city.
Companies certainly feel that this can be a deterrent to mobile employees, which is why cost-of-living allowances are on the rise. According to Worldwide ERC’s recent Relocation Assistance, U.S. Domestic Moves survey, 39 percent of companies reported using such allowances in 2016 versus 32 percent in 2012. Among companies reporting difficulty in transferring employees to high-cost areas, the most frequently cited reason (by 80 percent of respondents) was “very high housing costs.” Continue Reading →
The rock band Van Halen will forever be remembered for spandex, teased hair and changing lead singers more often than most people change socks. But there’s another side to VH that you likely never suspected: the band that launched such hit songs as “Hot for Teacher” and “Jamie’s Cryin” pioneered a unique methodology for spotting red flags that can be valuable to today’s corporate mobility managers.
Yes, you read that correctly.
It all starts with M&Ms. Brown M&Ms, to be precise.
The report provides an outlook for workforce mobility trends affecting all industries, an analysis of such mobility hot topics as flexible programs and programs for millennials and a discussion of major challenges that could impact the deployment and management of mobile talent in the coming years.
Some of the most valuable insight in our survey comes from breaking down the results by industry. So for our latest infographic, we’ve pulled out some of the insight we collected from companies in the energy sector. Here’s what they told us.
Cost Of Living Assistance (COLA) is designed to provide an adjustment to local standards of living in higher-cost locations. Allowances may be provided when compensation does not reflect local living costs or as an additional form of assistance to mobilize employees that are concerned with higher housing costs.
Because housing costs are one of the largest components of “living” costs, they have a decided impact on COLA programs. In today’s market, affordability in the destination may also be a function of lost equity in the departure (for a down payment) and whether the employee will qualify for financing in the new location due to tighter lending regulations.
In this post, I want to help you understand the trends, evaluate your options and appreciate other factors to consider when creating or updating a COLA program. Continue Reading →
Among the forces impacting the deployment of mobile talent, two have emerged as the most prominent. One, not surprisingly, is cost control, that unrelenting pressure to harness spend that shadows every corporate move. Considering the sizable investment required to relocate employees, for long- or short-term assignments, across states or between continents, focus on cost of benefi ts and maximizing ROI has never been higher.
The other, according to the results of our latest Workforce Mobility Survey, is a more recent phenomenon: the need for greater agility to accommodate rapidly-changing business goals and seize opportunities. Today, an “optimized” workforce mobility program is not only cost-effective, but also equips HR and hiring managers with the flexibility they need to accelerate decision-making, meet the needs of the business, and provide opportunities that sync with their mobile employees’ personal and
Addressing these concerns has become a strategic imperative for companies struggling to build a workforce to meet their future business objectives. In this business environment, “flexible” workforce mobility programs — including Lump sums, capped programs and core/flex approaches — are proving a valuable, viable alternative to “traditional” relocations and expat assignments.
Q. We need to hire several candidates at one time for one location as permanent transfers. Our current policy is essentially a lump sum, and we may need to enhance it to boost acceptance rates. Do you have any suggestions?
A: How much you should modify your policy really depends on the level of difficulty you experience getting these positions filled by internal volunteers.
If you anticipate minimal resistance, I would recommend offering tax assistance on the lump sum payment and covering any work permit or visa expenses that may be incurred. Without tax assistance, lump sums can deteriorate in value very quickly based on tax rates throughout EU. Work permit costs for the employee should be minimal but they are part of doing business and facilitate the feasibility of the transfer. Moreover, work permits are a matter of compliance and your company will need to ensure that your mobile talent takes all the correct steps to ensuring their ability to work in a host country.
Workforce mobility remains a critical strategy for business growth, with 93 percent of companies surveyed by Weichert Relocation Resources expecting their relocation volumes to either increase or hold steady over the next year.
At the same time, these companies are seeking more flexible approaches to relocation to accommodate the broadening demographic of mobile employees and the accelerating speed of business.
Now in its seventh year, our Employee Mobility Survey has become the definitive guide to workforce mobility challenges, emerging trends and best practices. This year’s results reflect the input of approximately 200 corporate relocation managers and HR professionals responsible for over 40,000 annual employee moves.
The survey showed that 36 percent of companies expect their relocation volumes to increase over the next twelve months while 57 percent expect their volumes to remain the same—strong indicators of improving economic confidence and anticipated business growth.
We recently fielded a question from a client regarding best practices for rotational assignments.
Unlike temporary moves or short-term assignments, where an employee understands that he or she will be moving back at the end of their assignment, rotational assignments typically see an employee relocated from one location to the next without a move home. Rotational assignments are often used for very specific objectives — such as a company moving an employee between its various locations for training purposes — and each move rarely extends beyond one year.
The types of benefits extended to employees on rotational assignments vary widely between companies. Because employees often take these moves unaccompanied by spouse or family, there are usually provisions for return trips. And because there may be a home in the destination location that must be maintained, it isn’t uncommon to see an allowance for lawn care/snow removal to offset those costs.
In our experience, some companies provide monthly per diems for meals and lodging, processed via monthly expense reports for one year, and grossed-up beyond one year. Some provide a lump sum for temporary living, househunting, limited shipment of HHG and rental assistance. One provides a daily per diem amount based on Runzheimer data, and will facilitate a small HHG shipment.
One unique approach, used by a major telecommunications company, is to provide a commuter allowance/package designed to not exceed the cost of a permanent relocation. In this policy, the employee has the option of a permanent move and has to choose his or her policy in advance of the start date. The employee receives a monthly allowance (considered taxable income) based on mileage and rent allowance for up to three years. The policy also includes such one-time relocation provisions as shipment of up to 1,500 lbs. of furniture and personal effects; shipment of one car if moving more than 350 miles or reimbursement of actual miles driven for day of move; a renter lump sum allowance of one month’s salary (not to exceed $8,000) and a tax allowance.
One of the most effective tools that companies are using to market properties is buyer incentives. Once reserved for homes that came into inventory, these incentives are now being employed earlier in the program to prevent homes from hitting inventory.
According to the results of our 2009 Mobility and the Current Real Estate Market survey, 43% of companies offer buyer incentives during the self-marketing period and the majority (69%) will determine the type of buyer incentive on a case-by-case basis. Buyer incentives come in different forms, including:
Provided the policy consistently indicates that the company will pay for identified buyer incentives (typically up to a maximum), those costs would be treated like all other closing costs paid by the employer. In a qualified homesale program that follows Worldwide ERC’s 11 Key Steps, these costs would not have to be reported as income to an employee and as a result not need to be grossed up.
Some companies have resisted formalizing incentives in their policies, instead preferring to offer them as an addendum to certain employees. But to avoid risks, best practice dictates that companies should formally include incentives in their policy. Sure, this can increase costs, but you have to weigh the cost of the incentive against the cost of delayed home sales and extensions for such things as temporary living and duplicate housing.