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.
Amidst tougher competition for the best and brightest employees, 60 percent of companies say that relocation policy benefits are critical to recruiting talent. This was one of the key findings of Weichert Workforce Mobility’s ninth annual survey to identify the top relocation challenges and trends and offer best practice recommendations.
This year’s results are based on the input of approximately 170 corporate relocation managers in the US and Canada.
Reducing cost was the most commonly cited driver of the changes companies made to their relocation programs over the past year. In fact, “controlling relocation spend” was the number one reason cited for the wider adoption of flexible relocation programs, which include temporary, rotational and commuter assignments, lump sums and extended business travel. These programs not only offer less costly alternatives to “traditional” assignments, but also make relocation appealing to a wider range of employees and keep talent more readily deployable as new opportunities arise.
When it comes to workforce mobility, the mantra is, “be flexible, but be cost-conscious, too.” When managed right, flexible programs allow companies to be both.
Drawing on the results of this year’s survey and my own experience consulting with HR leaders, I offer the following additional strategies for optimizing workforce mobility: 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.
A quote from Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at Corelogic, accurately sums up the current “mood” relative to US Real Estate: “The overall economy has provided mixed signals on its performance so far this year, but one thing is clear: Home sales are off to a brisk start through April. We expect house prices in our national index to be up about 5 percent in the next 12 months, and mortgage rates are likely to move higher over the next year.”
To bolster that claim, Corelogic reported the following on June 9, 2015: “The National foreclosure inventory fell by 24.9 percent year over year in April 2015 to approximately 521,000 homes, or 1.4 percent of all homes with a mortgage. This marks 42 months of consecutive year-over-year declines.”
Additionally and supportive of positive market conditions, CoreLogic also reported (June 8) that distressed sales—real estate-owned (REO) and short sales—accounted for 12.1 percent of total home sales nationally in March 2015, a 3.2 percentage point drop from March 2014 and a 1.9 percentage point decrease from February 2015. At their peak, distressed sales totaled 32.4 percent of all sales in January 2009, with REO sales representing 27.9 percent of that share.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is implementing the new TILA-RESPA Integration Disclosure Rule (TRID) effective October 1, 2015. The objective of this new regulation is to implement easier-to-use mortgage disclosure forms that clearly lay out the terms of the mortgage for a homebuyer.
Under TRID, the Loan Estimate form replaces/combines the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and initial Truth in Lending (TIL) disclosures. As per current regulatory guidelines, the Loan Estimate form must be delivered to the customer within three (3) days of loan application.
In addition, the Closing Disclosure replaces/combines the final TIL and the HUD-1 Closing statement. Under new regulatory guidelines, Lenders/Closing Agents will be required to issue this disclosure three (3) business days prior to closing. Any material changes (loan amount, product, APR) to this disclosure from time of issuance prior to closing will result in a re-issue of the disclosure as well as a new three (3) day waiting period.
Here are some things that our clients should be aware of: Continue Reading →
Under Canadian tax rules, non‐resident companies who send their employees to Canada are required to comply with a substantial administrative burden. This applies even if the employee is in Canada for a relatively short period of time.
This compliance burden applies even if the employee would otherwise not be subject to personal tax in
Canada on those earning (because the employee resides in a country with which Canada has a Tax Treaty).
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) expects non‐resident employers to register and obtain a number with them so that as employers they can remit the appropriate withholding tax. As well, the individual employee must obtain an identification number from CRA. The employee is then expected to file a Canadian personal tax return claiming a refund of payroll taxes withheld on the basis that he or she is entitled to relief under a Tax Treaty.
There is the ability for employers to obtain waivers to not withhold. However, the waiver has to be applied for in advance in respect of specific employees and is only for a specific period of time. This has proven to be inefficient and cumbersome and it is only available on an administrative basis which has often led to arbitrary results.
For example, deploying Asian expatriates can be a cost effective approach to global staffing in Asia because local assignees can often be compensated differently from traditional Western expatriates entering Asia Pacific. That said, there are still some challenges to overcome with regard to compensation and the benefits to be provided, based on the nature of the assignment, the characteristics of the home and host country combinations, and the particular demographics of your assignees.
Are employees moving from a low to high tax, high cost environment? Are most employees single or accompanied? Are most employees line managers or more senior level directors and above? All of these factors, and more, play into the decision making process. There are many variables to consider when analyzing your program and contemplating changes.
Many companies in Asia address their talent attrition and talent development issues by deploying local staff throughout the region on alternative types of assignments that includes local-plus, permanent transfers, localization, and local-foreign hires. Deloitte’s Fueling the Asian Growth Engine report found that permanent transfer and localization moves have become standard practice among many firms in Asia, with 49% and 53% respectively having formal policies in place.
Today, business success depends on how quickly and easily you can deploy your most highly-valued talent to seize new opportunities. But what are the best practices for building an agile mobile workforce? And what industry trends and policy provisions do you need to be most aware of to achieve your company’s mobility goals and grow your business?
Presented by Jennifer Connell, North American Practice Leader for our Consulting Services group, this informative webinar offers a first-hand look at the results of Weichert’s 2015 Workforce Mobility Survey, in which 170 corporate mobility managers from across North America helped define best practices and strategic techniques for getting critical talent into critical roles whenever and wherever they’re needed. This information will be a valuable blueprint for making it faster, easier and more cost effective to deploy your mobile workforce.
You can register for the webinar here. Please note this webinar is free to corporate relocation managers only. Unverified email addresses will be un-registered.
Our eighth annual Workforce Mobility Survey examines how approximately 170 North American companies manage their mobile talent. 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 (oil and gas) sector. Here’s what they told us.