Relocation can be an incredibly exciting opportunity for the rising talent with your organization. Enthusiasm can dampen, however, if the cost of living in the destination location is higher than in their current home base. Business may be booming in hot housing markets like San Francisco, New York, LA and Boston, but asking employees to make a move that impacts their bottom line can prove a burden to yours.
Offering COLA (cost of living assistance) to talent considering assignment can offset increased living expenses that relocating employees incur when they make a move from a low cost area to a high cost one. There are a host of options to employ.
Here are 5 simple tips to avoid problems. Continue Reading →
The unfortunate certainties of life are death, taxes and, in the case of corporate mobility managers, the never-ending pressure to reduce costs. I am constantly asked by clients to help them achieve that delicate balance between maintaining benefits levels that keep employees engaged and productive while avoiding cost spiral.
Beyond the policy provisions themselves that account for 98% of all costs, clients should examine the processes they use to administer mobility. Every program I review is ripe with opportunities to improve their operational efficiencies. This can be difficult for mobility managers comfortable and familiar with their current processes to acknowledge or see, but often our “outside” perspective can shed light on improvements.
What follows are a number of time tested ideas that might lead to efficiencies and/or cost savings for you: Continue Reading →
Companies intent on post-recession growth need a mobile workforce agile enough to respond quickly to new opportunities and fill talent gaps across their organizations, according to the results of our latest survey.
Now in its eighth year, the Workforce Mobility Survey has become the definitive guide to emerging relocation trends and best practices. This year’s results reflect the input of approximately 220 corporate relocation managers and HR professionals at North American companies across all major industries.
The majority of survey participants acknowledge that workforce mobility remains critical to achieving business and talent development goals, with one-third expecting their mobility volume to increase over the next twelve months. Mobility is even more important among high growth companies, which, the study showed, not only relocate more employees (an average of 432 annual moves versus 280 for other companies) but are also more effective at leveraging mobility as a strategic tool to recruit, develop and retain key talent.
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To help guide you in managing your mobile workforce in the new year, I’m happy to present the following quick tips the practice leaders in our Consulting Solutions group:
• If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. When developing policies and guidelines, be mindful of whether or not your really creative idea is administratively feasible. Too often, companies devise a policy component or solution that appears to satisfy every possible challenge, but when it comes to administration, the time and effort involved far outweigh the intended benefit of changing an established practice.
• From tax laws to totalization agreements, compliance is a serious and complex challenge. Engage your service partners for the critical information you need to avoid harsh financial penalties and even the potential risk of office closures.
• Failure to secure the proper visa and work permits for your global employees due to lack of knowledge or understanding of host country practices isn’t a suitable defense for non-compliance with immigration laws. Be sure to stay abreast of changes in the laws and plan in advance since the time it takes to secure visas and proper documentation varies greatly from country to country.
All signs are pointing toward a recovering real estate market. In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced in August that existing home sales reached their highest level in six-and-a-half years, while the median price showed nine consecutive months of double-digit year-over-year increases. That bodes well for workforce mobility, since when the market is healthy, buyer reluctance subsides.
Complementing this upswing, recent Worldwide ERC data indicates that projections for both current employee and new hire transfer activity are positive. More than half of respondents to a benchmarking survey conducted earlier this year at ERC’s National Relocation Conference anticipated an increase in the number of mobile employees in the upcoming year, compared to only 8 percent who expected a decrease.
In light of these trends, it’s a good idea to check your home sale program to see if it needs a tune-up. A competitive home sale program is one of your company’s most effective tools for recruiting the right talent and mobilizing employees, provided it has the right measures in place to ensure that it isn’t overly generous.
The program attracted over 600 attendees, demonstrating significant interest among corporate mobility managers for up-to-date policy benchmarking data, especially as U.S. real estate markets slowly gain traction.
At the conclusion of the webinar, we received many questions on various mobility benefits; so many, in fact, that we were unable to respond to all of them during the one hour program. So we decided to respond to attendee questions on the most popular topics over three blog posts. The first featured the questions pertaining to loss-on-sale. For this post, it’s pre-decision.
Click the graphic above for a larger version. For a copy of our survey, email us.
Pre-decision is something we’ve been hearing a lot about for a number of years now, at least since the real estate market went south many years ago. For today’s post, I thought I’d take a look at some of the things we learned about how companies are using pre-decision programs, based on the results of WRRI’s 2012 Employee Mobility Survey.
Today, 67% of companies use pre-decision programs either on a formal or case-by-case basis, up from 53% in 2011. And most of these companies (83%) offer pre-decision to both new hires and existing employees.
The most common pre-decision benefits include relocation policy counseling, a pre-decision trip, BMA(s)/appraisals to establish the value of the departure home, a rental tour of the destination location, and mortgage pre-qualification.
While the benefits of pre-decision programs are as varied as the companies using them, 85% indicate that pre-decision better educates their employees about the costs and financial impact of the relocation, 48% indicated that employees feel more valued when offered pre-decision, and 40% indicated that employees are productive in their new locations more quickly after going through the pre-decision process.
On the flip side, 10% of companies feel that pre-decision typically extends the overall timeframe of a relocation. But with such a low percentage citing this, it’s safe to see that when the relocation is being extended by the pre-decision process, most companies consider it a fair trade-off, and that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.
The pace of corporate relocation is expected to pick up in 2012, spurred by a gradually improving economy, more favorable real estate trends and faster evolving business priorities. According to the results of our 2012 Employee Mobility Survey, an overwhelming majority of companies expect their relocation activity to increase (40%) or remain at the same level (54%) over the next twelve months. This is a stark contrast to the post-recession landscape of just a few years ago.
Now in its sixth year, our Employee Mobility Survey reflects the input of approximately 150 U.S.-based corporate relocation managers and HR professionals responsible for over 25,000 annual moves, capturing current mobility challenges, 2012 relocation trends and best practices.
“At the height of the recession, some companies scaled back their relocation activity and retrenched, waiting for signs of recovery,” said Ellie Sullivan, WRRI’s Vice President of Consulting and one of the survey’s architects. “This year’s results indicate that companies are shifting back into growth mode and planning to deploy talent in greater numbers.”
The survey also found that as skills gaps widen, recruitment becomes increasingly competitive and the talent pool further diversifies, more companies view relocation as either a “critical” (43%) or “important” (49%) part of their talent management strategy.
Companies that relocate employees hear a lot about pre-purchase appraisals, but there are many questions as to what they are, when they should be used, and how they can best serve both the employee and employer.
In this informative, seven-minute podcast, Joe Palumbo, WRRI’s Director of Appraisals and Valuation and member of the New Jersey Board of Appraisers, gives us his perspectives and shares some best practices.
Listen by clicking the player below, or download the Mp3 file here.