The Complete Guide to Employee Relocation Assistance

So, why do we offer employee relocation packages anyway?

Let’s face it. It’s no longer a hidden secret that a comprehensive employee relocation package can win your business top talent from around the globe. Everyone’s doing it, and so should your company–or at least, it’s definitely something you should really consider to stay competitive. A swanky perk once reserved for upper management, relocation packages are actually far more common today. From C-suite to entry-level, organizations are offering tailored relocation packages to secure and retain skilled employees.

Relocation Benefits: What Does A Relocation Policy Include?

At a high level, employee relocation packages cover an employee’s moving and other work-related expenses. But, of course, there are nuances to that and each company’s stance on what to include in these packages totally varies. By providing a relocation package, employers give financial and other types of assistance to alleviate the employee and their family of the expensive inconvenience of relocation. When it comes to offering a relocation package to your employees, it’s essential to cater to their needs. A recent study found that more than 70 percent of employees saw mobility as a career growth opportunity. Moreover, with 20 percent of employees saying they’ve quit a job after being denied a relocation opportunity, offering a sub-par moving experience may be off-putting to your potential job candidates, resulting in your company losing out on top talent. Your goal in a relocation package should be to provide your employee with peace of mind while incentivizing them to accept the job offer. A great relocation experience will attract top talent and boost your company’s reputation–the holy grail!

So what should be included in your policy?

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Relocation package coverage varies from person to person and should cater to your employee’s needs. With that in mind, a typical relocation package may cover:

  • The cost of moving

  • Storage of household goods and furniture

  • House hunting costs

  • Temporary housing

  • Travel costs of the employee and their family to their new location

  • Assisting in the financial cost of selling a home or breaking an existing lease agreement

  • Help with assimilating into their new communities

When it comes to building a policy, you need to consider what best suits your business. However, it’s optimal if you also keep in mind how varied the needs of your employees can be. No one package will suit all of your employees. Especially when it comes to the next generation workforce, dominated primarily by Millennials.

expenses

Types of Relocation Packages- what is the best solution for my business?

Tech employees in leadership roles are being advised to pass on companies that are not willing to extend generous relocation packages that meet their family’s needs. And no one wants to miss out on that PERFECT candidate!

So it’s no surprise that 94 percent of HR executives agree that mobility is vital for increasing diversity, attracting new talent and retaining valuable employees.

valuable-employees

Offering a comprehensive relocation package and administering it in the right way is vital to your business. Next, we look at the top ways businesses are offering relocation packages to employees. How organizations administer relocation packages:

  • Lump Sum (the most popular) – A fixed, one-time payment is given directly to the employee to cover all moving costs.

    • PRO

      Maximum potential for a

       

       

      that best suits each employee. The employee has ownership, controlling how to spend money for the maximum benefit. No hidden or unexpected fees for the business. Simple, fast solution.

    • CON

      Employers don’t typically provide the transferee with much support with lump sum moves. Which can be difficult for the transferees to manage on their own. Unless you

       

       

      moves.

  • Reimbursement -The employee pays for all expenses out of pocket and is later reimbursed by the company. Additionally, employers will likely set a limit above which they will not reimburse.

    • PRO

      Cost effective if the employer sets a max reimbursement limit.

    • CON

      Tedious record keeping (tracking receipts) is required by the employee, during an already stressful time. The employee may not have readily available funds to cover the expense.

  • Direct Billing – You hire and directly pay for a moving company and additional expenses and services required.

    • PRO

      Ownership and control of all logistics

    • CON

      Research, administration and project management of all moving parts is time-consuming. Risk of working with non-reputable parties within the industry due to lack of knowledge within the marketplace.

  • Outsourced Relocation – Outsourcing of all logistics associated with relocation to a third party that organizes a wide range of services.

    • PRO

      Time-saving, can be cost-effective.

    • CON

      The range of services may not cater to every employee.

Takeaway: Lump sum/self-service is the leading solution

Lump sum / self-service payments, a one-time payment by the employer to the employee to cover relocation costs, continue to grow in popularity–especially across younger generations. This “next generation”, which is comprised predominantly of Millennials and younger Gen X’ers, is already the leading majority of today’s global workforce population.

Why are Lump sum/self-service packages gaining popularity?

Empowerment. Employees have the flexibility to choose how and when they spend their relocation benefits and the ability to customize this for their own unique needs. And come on, who doesn’t love the idea of something created specifically with their needs in mind?!

What are the tax implications

taxes

This section is by far the most exciting part of employee relocation; taxes!

Ok, so, maybe not. But it’s an important one! It’s critical to know what and who is paying the government, and how you can offset any tax liabilities.

First things first, the government will consider a lump sum payment as income, and therefore it’s taxable. But no fear, there’s a way for you to pay out your employee so they will be able to utilize every penny going their way. Paying your lump-sum with a tax gross-up is a way to free up the full amount of cash for your employee’s relocation.

What does tax gross-up mean? A gross-up is when you increase the total amount of a payment to allocate for the taxes you must withhold from said payment. Let’s say your employee needs $5,000 for her move. To ensure she receives the full $5,000 required, you would issue gross wages for more than $5,000 to cover the cost of taxes. When you then withhold taxes from the payment, the net amount should equal the amount you agreed to.

Simply put, the gross-up reimburses the employee for the withheld taxes.

How Much Should Your Relocation Package Be?

An average relocation package costs between $21,327-$24,913 for a transferee who is a renter and $61,622-$79,429 for a transferee who is a homeowner.

This baseline number comes from a 2015 U.S. Transfer Activity Report by Worldwide ERC.

Of course, this number is just an average of what larger corporations are spending on employee relocation. This number varies from employee to employee, executive vs. new hire, and is contingent on what your organization is willing and able to spend.

Rather than knowing what everyone else spends, it can be more helpful to create a price based on what you are willing to offer in your relocation package.

Give Recruits What They Want

recruit

More money and career advancement are the obvious incentives you can offer a candidate, but to stand out amongst the competition, you should consider offering personalized relocation services. Because each recruit will be unique!

The Workforce Mobility Survey found:

  • Only 2 percent of companies help with spousal employment.

  • Only 16 percent will assume a loss for a recruit’s underwater mortgage.

  • Only 39 percent offer information about the local community and schools.

Even a modest effort in this direction, such as discussing circumstances and offering a lump sum for a highly personalized moving experience, could make the difference. Play your cards right and a relocation package should be a win-win for everyone

Choosing An Employee Relocation Supplier

Google “employee relocation supplier” and you’ll pull up nearly 4 million results. There are not hundreds, not thousands, but MILLIONS of options out there to aid your business with employee relocation. With so many options, how are you to choose what’s right for your business? It’s hard enough deciding what you should eat for dinner, right?

relocation supplier

Selecting an employee relocation supplier doesn’t have to be guesswork, and it also doesn’t have to be stressful. To choose your supplier, you only need to keep these three things in mind:

Your values Know your values and mission to align with a company that reflects the same.

When you extend a job offer to a candidate and begin the relocation process, you want to ensure the company you’re partnering with is both an extension and a reflection of your workplace. If you’re Google & hiring new developers, you wouldn’t partner with a company whose website and tech is lacking. Facebook wouldn’t employ a supplier who prefers to do business the old fashion way, over the phone and lots of paperwork. Aim to select a company that values and champions the operations you do within your own business.

Flexible options and price Every employee will need and want something different. Your employee may be interested in full service or a container move. They might be looking for more lifestyle solutions, or require quality recommendations to integrate into their new community. Whatever the circumstance, it’s essential you partner with a company that offers flexible, bespoke solutions.

Customized can sometimes translate to high cost, but this shouldn’t be the case. Aim to work with a supplier with a wide network of trusted movers and service providers within the industry. That way, they can offer your employee competitive and affordable price points. A supplier should carefully qualify the move and provide the optimal recommended option that meets the needs and budget of your transferee.

customer service

Customer Service Remember, employee relocation can make or break your employee retention. A supplier that values customer service is essential, not only for your peace of mind but for your employee’s as well. It’s best if you focus on your work while leaving the move management up to the professionals. Relying on a supplier to ‘take care’ of your employee is extremely important. In this day and age, it’s all about the overall experience.

Look for a supplier who offers:

  • Expert knowledge of the area your employee is relocating to

  • 24/7 availability, you need someone to be there when you’re not

  • Service experts that function as an extension of your team

Tips to Save Money on Employee Relocation

Cutting costs doesn’t have to be a complex math equation. You can hold up a magnifying glass to your relocation bill and see where you went wrong, or you can take a step in the right direction and hire the right company to manage this on budget for you.

How can you do this? It’s simple. Ask your employee questions or partner with a company who can ask those questions for you. A thorough Needs Assessment will not only give your employee a sense of security but also ensure you pay a lump sum that will cover exactly what your employee needs.

Relocation concierge services vs relocation technology

Concierge sounds fancy; technology sounds fast. But what’s the difference between the two, and can you get the benefits of both?

What is a concierge service?

Relocation concierge services typically provide:

  • Everything you need to get settled into a new city

  • Residential location scouting

  • Housing assistance, leasing or purchasing

  • Locating essential amenities in your area, such as a gym, a doctor’s office and daycare

  • Management of the entire moving process

  • Follow up services to ensure comfort and quality of life

relocation-technology

What is relocation technology?

Relocation technology manages all of the logistics required for a move. This technology helps both employers and employees control and track all aspects associated with moving for work. Sounds like Sci-Fi, but it works like a charm! Companies like eBay and Amazon partner with tech companies that help them do just this.

Relocation technology typically provides:

  • A platform to power your transferee’s move – seamlessly

  • Omni-Channel Communication such as a CRM platform that allows you to connect with your customers via a central communication hub easily. You can quickly text, email and make phone calls from the CRM to save time and money.

  • 2-way video survey consultations

  • Inventory management. Some companies offer a trusted computer vision algorithm partnered with a human-centric expert team that

     

    ! Hello, high tech!!

How does Shyft combine the two? There are benefits to concierge services and relocation technology; Shyft brings benefits from each solution together. Shyft combines the logistic management of relocation technology with the personalised service you can only find with concierge companies. This quick video explains exactly what Shyft does. So go ahead and take a quick peek!

How To Give Employees A Positive Relocation Experience

positive experience

Weddings Planning a party Graduating college Pregnancy Moving to a new city

What do these events have in common?

They’re all exciting! However, they’re equally stressful.

Your goal is to ensure your employee shows up in good spirits on their first day of work, and the simplest way to ensure this is by being prepared from the get-go. Here are the top ways to give your employee a positive relocation experience:

K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, stupid is a sales acronym used in the hit U.S. comedy series, The Office. This acronym is useful even when applied outside of the sales process. When it comes to your employee relocation policy, keep it simple! Policies shouldn’t have ambiguous language and industry jargon. Think of your policy as a straightforward guide for your employees. Explain any complex processes and make key documents that require signatures or agreements apparent. Keep it simple (or straightforward, in our case).

Be engaged and follow up Taking a general interest in your employee’s well being can make the most significant difference. Your job isn’t over once your employee settles in their new city and finishes their first day of work. Encourage your employee’s surrounding staff, especially their manager, to check in on your relocated employee. We’re all humans! We like to know that people care. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be a heavy chat along the lines of “How are you coping? Are you managing to survive in this new city?” but something light and more like, “What kind of food do you like? There’s a great kebab shop just down the street from the office that you should check out.” Welcoming your new employee to a new city can be as extravagant as a team night out or as simple as grabbing a quick coffee outside the office.

Be available or put a system in place for support It’s highly likely that your employee will have many questions along the way. Your organization should create an open door policy to avoid any unspoken hesitations. For logistic and lifestyle needs, Shyft offers a talented team of service experts that make sure your employees are happy. Shyft is there 24/7 and available in multiple languages including Spanish, French, Italian, German and Japanese.

Bring it all together: going from A to Z, now what?

Congratulations! You’ve crossed the finish line. So stop, and smell the roses my friend! We know that was a lot of information to take in, and think you should feel proud of yourself for caring about your employees relocation AND that you had the wherewithal to study this entire guide. Kudos to you even if you skimmed this article!

The fun’s not over yet. You have the opportunity to bring everything you’ve learned together and move forward with a successful employee relocation strategy, today.

Shyft does all of your heavy lifting (moving pun intended!)

Schedule a demo to see how Shyft helps corporations move thousands of transferees to make the process of moving and assimilating into their new communities a breeze.

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