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.
1. Use pre-decision services
It’s easy to make the right decision when you’re fully informed. A pre-decision service is a wise investment to help employees understand the ins and outs of the new location. Housing options, commute times and local/state tax issues can all influence an employee’s decision to take a move or go on assignment. Homework done ahead of time can go a long way to saving costs affiliated with a failed relocation.
2. Base eligibility on location or threshold
You can limit the cost of living provision by considering a minimum differential that triggers the benefit. This enables you to contain costs while providing assistance to employees impacted by the greatest difference in costs. Differentials are usually 5% or 10% and very few companies exceed 15%. Homeowners and renters are typically treated identically. If you are asking a reluctant family to move from Des Moines to New York, this tactic may be to your best advantage.
3. Cap maximums and tax assistance
Whether or not allowances are capped or salary amounts are considered varies from industry to industry. The majority of companies don’t cap the allowance or use a maximum salary in their COLA allowance calculation. Just over a third of organizations provide tax protection on COLA.
4. Create a transparent payment schedule
Paying a large COLA up front introduces risk for an organization. Most programs provide assistance over a 3 year period on a declining basis. Including a payment with each pay period is the most common method. Some companies make annual, semi-annual or quarterly payments. Whatever your method, be sure to have clear and explicit language written into the agreement so there’s no surprises on either end and no litigation drama.
5. Implement declining scale allowances
Provide allowances on a sliding scale as employees become used to their new home area and what it costs to maintain their lifestyle in the new locale. Time periods can range from 3 to 5 years. Lump sums are ideal for renters who need help with one-time expenses such as security deposit.
Deploying critical talent to high cost markets can be a hard sell but it’s not impossible. Showing your employees that you understand their point of view and can provide reasonable solutions through the judicious use of COLA can mobilize your staff to sign on to assignment.
For more information on COLA best practices, request a copy of our latest COLA whitepaper.
Weichert Workforce Mobility will be conducting complimentary, half-day educational summits for HR & corporate mobility professionals in Zurich and Geneva. These programs offer strategies for measuring engagement levels across your mobile workforce and insight to key mobility trends that will impact your program for years to come. Subject matter experts from the corporate and provider perspectives will provide valuable insights and best practices to make it faster, easier and more cost-effective to manage mobile talent.
To ensure an intimate learning environment, attendance at these events will be limited. Dates and locations are as follows:
Tuesday, 10 October, 15:00 – 20:00
Rennweg 7, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Wednesday, 11 October, 15:00- 20:00
Rue de Lausanne 14, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland
Today, we have a lot of Jetsons-style technology, literally at our fingertips. Who doesn’t love FaceTime, Google searches and the Roomba (Ok, maybe not the Roomba)? To remain competitive and keep your rising mobile talent happy, it’s vital to acknowledge that the construct of family has also progressed. Let’s visit some of the major points that are part and parcel of 21st century mobility management.
What Makes A Family A Family
As technology has changed, so too has our definition of “family.” No longer defined by Dad, Mom and 2.2 children, families can be multigenerational, include domestic partners, be single parent in nature and even have members of a different species. Being sensitive to your mobile employee’s particular situation strengthens the corporate relationship, increasing the likelihood of a successful assignment.
When your mobile employee is not flying solo, it’s imperative to lend support and consideration to a spouse or partner who may be feeling less than thrilled about uprooting his or her life. Often, there is an entirely separate, established career to consider and offering career counseling assistance can help. The loss of a second income may be the kind of financial hit the family just can’t take and can influence whether or not your preferred assignee signs on. Continue Reading →
On November 1, 2016, China’s State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) launched a pilot work permit program in select regions of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Anhui, Guangdong, Hebei, Shandong, Sichuan and Ningxia. The program is widely anticipated to roll out nationwide on April 1, 2017.
China’s previous foreign work permits have been integrated into the Permit System for Foreigners in China, a single work permit based on a three-tiered classification system. The permit provides a federal model, eliminating the often troublesome and inconsistent regionally administered policies.
The three-tiered system classifies foreign workers as A, B or C level candidates, based on their education, salary level, age, time spent working in China and Chinese language skills. Applicants who receive more than 85 points are given the letter A, 60 to 85 points, B, and less than 60 points, C. Continue Reading →
UK Customs (HMRC) has announced changes to customs procedures for household goods and motor vehicles entering the UK that will impact assignees being relocated to this region. This change goes into effect on 31 March 2017 and shifts responsibility for completing the Transfer of Residence (ToR) application from the shipper to the owner of the goods being shipped (in this case, the assignee).
Under these new guidelines, assignees moving to the UK are required to complete an online application for ToR relief. This form can be found here.
Once the online ToR form is completed and approved, the assignee will be sent a unique reference code which will allow the freight to be cleared and released by the HMRC. This reference code is critical and it is the responsibility of the assignee to ensure that it is issued in good time; therefore, your assignee should advice his or her Weichert contact as soon as it is received. If a shipment arrives in the UK without a reference code, it could be delayed or refused clearance.
Our recent webinar on cost optimization was widely attended and many folks wrote in requesting that we share the presentation, so we decided to provide this summary blog.
With 97% of global mobility spend on taxes and direct costs of assignment such as short and long term housing, shipment of household goods and travel and only 2-6% of spend attributable to a combination of internal administration and third party service fees, it’s no wonder that companies look to reducing policy benefits as the swiftest and obvious path to cost savings. We know however that severely cutting back or setting caps can impact ability to recruit, hire and retain the right talent for the assignment.
So it really makes good sense to stop and ask some important questions: Continue Reading →
MORRIS PLAINS, NJ, January 25, 2017 – Weichert Workforce Mobility Inc., one of the world’s leading providers of global talent deployment solutions, announced today its collaboration with Going-there, Global Destination Services, to launch the Weichert Global Organizer. This new smart phone application helps corporations easily track mobile employees and business travelers to ensure compliance with strict immigration and tax laws.
The Weichert Global Organizer is extremely easy to use. Employees and business travelers simply enter their specific locations and the Weichert Global Organizer automatically begins tracking their time in each location, alerting the employee and HR of pending tax or immigration events such as visa renewal or days in a certain jurisdiction triggering tax liability. Data collected through the app is fed to a portal-based reporting system, giving HR managers accurate, real time access to the activities of all business travelers.
“With immigration and tax guidelines evolving more rapidly and enforcing entities pursuing violations with greater vigilance, companies that can’t accurately track the movement of their mobile workforce risk serious compliance issues, not to mention the heavy fines and business restrictions that come with them,” said Stewart McCardle, Senior Vice President of Assignment Management Services and Global Supply Chain Solutions with Weichert Workforce Mobility.
“The Weichert Global Organizer eliminates these compliance risks, automatically generating for companies a clear picture of the tax and immigration status of their employees and allowing them to be proactive, rather than reactive, to any concerns. Further, at tax time, all of the critical data that the employee and company need for filing and reporting is easily accessible in one place.”
Beyond immigration and tax compliance, the Weichert Global Organizer addresses another issue of critical importance to companies managing mobile workforces: duty of care. In the event of an emergency, the app empowers HR managers to instantly locate their employees at any point on the globe, alert them to danger and, if necessary, evacuate them to a place of safety.
“Immigration, tax and duty of care represent the three biggest challenges for managing mobile talent and business travelers,” said McCardle. “The Weichert Global Organizer is the only app of its kind to track and synergize the data surrounding these functions into actionable information for HR and corporate mobility managers.”
MORRIS PLAINS, NJ, December 6, 2016 – Weichert Workforce Mobility Inc., one of the world’s leading providers of global talent deployment solutions, announced today that as part of its rigorous commitment to operational excellence, the company has successfully completed its SOC 1 Type 2 Report.
This Report attests that Weichert’s systems, and operational and security controls have been carefully audited by the independent CPA firm CohnReznick LLP and found to be suitably designed to achieve their objectives and consistently applied throughout the evaluation period of April 1, 2016 to September 30, 2016.
Controls examined include homesale and expense management services, encompassing such key operational components as managed security services, change management, service delivery, support services, logical and physical security, managed hosting services, managed storage and backup services.
Annual SOC 1 audits are a best practice risk mitigation strategy that Weichert commits to annually to demonstrate the integrity of its internal controls. Companies that complete annual SOC 1 assessments are able to demonstrate a substantially higher level of security assurance and operational visibility than companies that do not conduct such assessments.
“We pride ourselves on our intense, companywide focus on internal controls and for establishing the industry standards in process improvement, data security and risk mitigation,” said Anthony Pilato, Weichert Workforce Mobility’s VP of Financial Services. “Our continued commitment to the SOC 1 Type 2 standards gives our clients the confidence to focus on what is truly important, managing and engaging their mobile talent.”
Canada is the second largest country in the world by area, but has a population of only 36 million people. With a relatively small (and aging) population, Canada’s need for expats to fill key roles continues to pose challenges, a problem exacerbated by governmental roadblocks to immigration. Companies are required to complete a rigorous process to prove the need for expats to fill positions, with significant penalties leveled against any corporation or company that tries to circumvent these rules.
The CERC (Canadian Employee Relocation Council) continues to be a strong advocate for the Mobility sector in Canada, and is working actively with the Canadian government in trying to streamline the process and removing some of the obstacles present so as to make it easier for companies to attract and bring in foreign workers to Canada.
So what should an expat expect to find in Canada? Read on to find out. 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.