Our recent two-part webinar series on cost optimization drew large corporate attendance, no doubt eager to hear their peers talk at length about their experience collaborating with Weichert to optimize program costs. While three of our four corporate presenters have had their existing programs in place for many years and the other is just beginning its journey as a newly formed company with a developing global mobility program, all four agreed that program optimization is an ongoing, iterative process.
As you might imagine, attendees had plenty of questions for our panelists. And while they did an admirable job of responding, there were too many to address in our one hour sessions. In this post, we present the unanswered questions with feedback from our panelists.
To make sure we only use mobility as a tool to support well thought-out business strategies, I find it critical to hold the line on requiring a business case for each assignment, and thus control costs by eliminating unnecessary assignments. Would you agree? Continue Reading →
If you’re sending employees on temporary domestic assignments, it’s a good idea to have a policy for those moves. Unfortunately, our Annual Mobility Survey revealed that only 37% of companies have a formal policy in place to manage short-term assignments. The danger here is that managing domestic temporary relocations on an ad-hoc basis exposes your company to increased compliance risks because you’re less likely to accurately track the employee’s time in the destination location or withhold appropriate taxes for that time period.
So a domestic temporary assignment policy is a good idea. But what benefits do you offer?
My recommendation is to include temporary living, return trips, travel expenses, tax gross-up and miscellaneous allowances. To enhance tax compliance, many policies state that employees are expected to maintain housing in the home location and it is assumed that the employee will be returning to the original location at the end of the assignment. If the employee does not maintain a home location residence, the company may regard the move as permanent from a tax perspective.
Our 2014 Workforce Mobility Survey polled approximately 200 North American companies on the ways they deploy key talent.
In an effort to shed light how trends cascade across specific industries, we have created a series of infographics showcasing key findings filtered by sector. We believe this data provides good insight to how different industries use workforce mobility to achieve their business goals.
Our latest infographic focuses on an industry that has long used relocation to help land and develop the most highly-prized talent: the energy/gas/oil sector.
Give this infographic a look (you can click it to enlarge). As always, for more information and further breakdown, feel free to contact us.
With recession in the rearview mirror and real estate markets performing at pre-recession levels, companies are preparing for a new wave of expansion. Needless to say, workforce mobility is playing an increasingly important role in this growth.
But there are new challenges to be faced in managing mobile workforces, requiring a broader range of flexible mobility strategies to address faster-shifting business goals, widening employee demographics and the need to deploy talent faster and more cost-effectively.
Our recently-released 2014 Workforce Mobility Survey shines a light on some of the strategies companies are using to increase flexibility, keep employees mobile, and prove agile enough to seize opportunities wherever they arise. The following infographic, which draws from our survey results, gives a concise overview of how companies are dealing with the changing pace of workforce mobility.
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Our annual Workforce Mobility Survey provides a comprehensive snapshot of the state of workforce mobility across North America. It’s designed to shed light on how organizations are leveraging workforce mobility to support talent management initiatives. It also gives organizations critical insight into emerging trends, best practices and demographic shifts that they can leverage to maximize the value and efficiency of their mobile workforce.
Our 2014 edition has recently been conducted and the results are being analyzed. In the meantime, I wanted to share some of the key findings from my initial read through the data:
Talent remains at a premium. “Talent Shortage” was ranked among the highest external (78%) and internal (60%) factors driving the need for a more agile workforce.
I’m getting quite a few questions around domestic short term assignments as companies extend these to employees that are not willing, or not able, to permanently relocate. One of the reasons behind these types of assignments is for companies to save on the costs of selling a home. However, what happens when an assignment is extended, or the employee and family find the distance to be more than they anticipated?
Return trips have become a primary concern for all of the parties involved, and I get more questions on this than any other issue for domestic STAs, including the type of housing during the assignment or allowances.
In July, we presented a Learning Zone webinar on short-term assignments for ERC. Then, in August, we released our own podcast discussing the results of our short-term assignment survey. Now, to complete the trifecta, I’ve co-written an article (along with Consulting Manager Jennifer Connell) on short-term assignments for this month’s Mobility magazine. Here’s a taste:
Nearly half of the respondents to our survey expect their domestic STA volume to increase during the next twelve months. As for what’s driving this activity, 93 percent use STAs for project-based assignments, while 78 percent use them for either leadership development or training.
Managing costs and overcoming difficulty selling employee homes were cited by only 13 percent and 9 percent of participants, respectively.
Among the key advantages of domestic STAs, respondents noted that they enable quick deployment, something that can prove invaluable in certain situations.
“One of the advantages that we find in using short-term assignments is that they allow us to get someone up and running quickly in a new position to fulfill business critical needs,” explains Diane Maroney, senior manager of global mobility programs at Boston Scientific in Marlborough, MA. “For example, if someone leaves the company, and we just need to have someone in place until we determine what we’re going to do with that particular position, we can literally have a person there in two days ready to go.”
STAs also provide flexibility to employees who may need it, and can result in fewer costs. However, it’s important for companies to understand that “fewer costs” doesn’t necessarily equate to “lower costs.”
For short-term domestic assignments, there are typically fewer provisions overall; for example, no home sale or spouse/partner career assistance. But it’s important to consider that departure and destination locations play a role in the overall cost of an assignment, as well as exceptions and any tax-related costs, such as non-compliance penalties. Addressing family concerns—such as instances in which an employee wants to bring the family on assignment—also may result in additional costs.
You can read the complete article here.
Everybody’s talking about short term domestic assignments but there’s very little reference data available for companies seeking best practices and policy trends. Our webinar for ERC’s Learning Zone was designed to fill the void, showing how other companies are tackling the same challenges you’re facing.
In this quick, one-hour session, you’ll learn how companies manage short-term assignments, and gain a richer understanding of current pros and cons so that you can keep your policy competitive. You’ll also discover the associated tax concerns and strategies needed to avoid costly penalties. This is valuable information for cutting costs, boosting efficiencies, and achieving your talent management goals.
Our latest podcast focuses on domestic short term assignments. Specifically, we examine the results of our recent survey of approximately 100 companies to gain insight into how corporate relocation managers are using short term assignments, and enable a richer understanding of the related trends and best practices.
It’s everything you need to know about domestic short term assignments in just 14 minutes. You can listen online using the player below, or download the Mp3 file here.
Thanks to Jennifer Connell, our Manager of Consulting Services, for her insight and expertise and analysis of the survey results.
Our recent Mobility and the Current Real Estate Market survey indicates that 82% of companies require employees and new hires to sign a payback agreement.
When it comes to short term domestic assignments, however, companies think differently. According to our recent short term assignment survey, only 31% of respondents require employees on short term assignments to sign an agreement.
Some possible reasons for this are that companies are still wrapping their arms around this type of relocation, and they may have concerns that a repayment agreement would discourage the employee from accepting the assignment
But it’s important to keep in mind that the costs associated with an assignment can be significant. As companies explore alternative programs to traditional relocation, payback agreements just make sense, particularly if the assignment is extended or if the employee is asked to go on a series of assignments (commonly seen in rotational programs).
Want more short term assignment trends? Attend our free ERC webinar on the topic on July 19. You can register here.