Some Flexible Program Food for Thought 04.14.2023 | Laura Levenson

Last month in our NJ office, I had the pleasure of hosting a roundtable with eight of our corporate clients representing several industries. As someone aptly put it, “Mobility is like the game of life, every single day”.  And perhaps that’s why so many of us gravitate to this always something-new-never-a-dull-moment industry. We’re routinely challenged to think on our toes, and I think it trains us well to be more agile in other aspects of our lives.

And these days, agility is in high demand, particularly when it comes to policies. Everyone wants to know more about flexible mobility programs and how to make them work.

But why do companies choose flexible programs?

Our recent survey, Pathways to Flexible Relocation Policies, revealed the following reasons companies are embracing flexibility:

  • 41% – to improve the employee experience
  • 18% – to support diversity
  • 12% – to reduce exception management
  • 6% – to reduce costs
  • 24% – all the above

What we learned from our survey, and what was reinforced during our roundtable, is that despite all the buzz, only 35% of companies offer some form of choice in their programs. But our clients and prospects alike have many questions. This points to a need for more information and guidance around successfully developing and managing these types of programs.

So, what do companies want to know, and why do they hesitate to embrace flexibility today? According to our roundtable participants, these are the burning questions:

  • Do they provide cost savings?
  • Are they difficult to administer?
  • Will we lose sight of exceptions and control over spending?

Most of these concerns were addressed during our deep myth-busting dive into the three most common misconceptions about flexible programs:

Myth 1: Core Flex Programs are used for cost savings.

Actually, our survey revealed that only 6% of respondents adopt core flex in order to reduce costs. More commonly, these programs are being leveraged to better meet employee needs and drive a more personalized relocation experience.

Myth 2: Core Flex is difficult to administer.

With time and attention placed on decision-making around the choice and flex components, and the proper technology to support this structure, flexible options are easy to understand and choose by employees themselves, their managers, or the global mobility team. The ease of use and administration is dependent on how the company chooses to set up the program and the quality of communication between stakeholders. Pairing a flexible program with an intuitive, purpose-built technology — like Weichert’s GoFlex — can be the key to driving a seamless exception management process and offering real-time cost tracking and budget management capabilities.

Myth 3: Flexible programs create inequities.

True, some flexible programs allow some employees more choices than others, but everyone’s needs are different, so where one employee may select career support for an accompanying spouse or partner, another employee may not need this benefit, so instead may choose an additional return home trip to take care of personal estate planning before the final move. A vast amount of research shows that increasing flexibility, by and large, makes programs more inclusive; this means that a broader demographic of employees can access the support they need to accept mobility assignments and launch their careers to leadership positions.

Our Advice?

Before embarking on designing and implementing a flexible program, make sure you are asking yourselves and your key stakeholders what it is you are trying to achieve:

  • Cost Savings?
  • Flexibility?
  • Consistency
  • A better employee experience?
  • Support for DEI initiatives?

And from an administrative perspective, how much of our program should be:

  • Core to all move types (permanent or temporary)?
  • Based on demographic (new hire or current employee)?
  • Based on role in the organization (is this a critical position that requires a specific skill set)?
  • Or based on the norms of the destination location?

And this is just the tip of the iceberg! Developing a successful flexible or choice program that is a best fit for your company will also depend largely on the culture of your organization as well as the unique needs and demographics of your mobile workforce. Investing ample time into planning – and communication — will pay off in dividends with a well-oiled program that meets all your targets right out of the gate.

To learn more about flexible programs and whether these are the right solution for your company, stay tuned for our upcoming video series dedicated to exploring the ins and outs of Core-Flex Programs and Policies. Or reach out to us here; we’re always up for a chat!

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Written by Laura Levenson


Laura Levenson is a Practice Leader in Weichert Workforce Mobility’s Advisory Services group. She has worked in management capacities for workforce mobility and Big Four firms, and is well-versed in bringing clarity to the most pressing global talent deployment challenges. She brings over 25 years of experience to her role and is a frequent speaker on the mobility conference circuit.

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