There’s no one right answer for how often a company should be reviewing and updating its relocation policy. Plenty of factors can come into play. Some larger companies who relocate dozens or even hundreds of employees choose to do it yearly, but this might be too frequently for companies who relocate fewer employees. Additionally, your need to update its relocation policy to reflect trending expectations in relocations. Or, you may need to justify why some benefits are or are not included in relocation packages. Changes in your company goals, or in the economy could also factor in.
If you find that your company is in the position to update its relocation policies, here’s a list of some important and effective ways to revamp it so it’s as strong as possible!
1. Read your current relocation policy carefully, and update it for clarity and comprehensiveness:
This may seem obvious, but reading your current relocation policy is as important as anything else you can do when you’re planning to update your relocation policy. First of all, your transferees (or prospective transferees) are looking for the most clear and organized information, so it’s worth your time to identify the areas of your relocation policy that are confusing to understand. It’s not alway easy to judge our own writing, so if you can, ask someone else to read through the policy too, then get his or insight into what is well-written, and what remains unclear.
The other big objective when re-reading your current relocation policy should be to identify any instances of ambiguity. A common complaint from relocating employees is that their companies policies were ambiguous, and expenses that they expected to be covered were not. Policy ambiguities can only have two results, and they are both undesirable. Either your company will end up spending more money than originally budgeted, or your relocating employee will spend more money than he/she expected, which can strain the relationship.
2. Get feedback from past transferees:
Employees who have already used your relocation policy and moved to a new location are probably your best resource when determining what’s working and what isn’t. Did they feel like the company did not adequately cover moving expenses? Could they have really benefitted from an exploration trip, which wasn’t covered in the policy? Maybe their partners or children who accompanied them on the move did not feel like enough of their needs were addressed.
Don’t hesitate to send relocated employees an email, schedule a meeting or call them up to get feedback. Mention that the research you’re doing is purely for the purpose of improving your relocation policies – they should feel comfortable offering constructive criticism. It’s a good idea to get a sense of the total expense of the move, not just to amount your company covered, to evaluate whether or not you transferees’ financial burden is acceptable. If you are noticing a gap between what you company pays, and the total relocation costs, you may want to consider raising you relocation cap.
3. Consider changes in the economy:
Changes to the global economy can have a big effect on the costs and needs of transferees – so you may need to adjust your relocation policies and figures to address them. For example, in a tighter economy, real estate tends to stay on the market longer, so your home sale policy may need to address what happens if your transferee’s home does not sell quickly. Will you pay for duplicate housing? At the same time, home sale prices may be lower, so your relocation policy should state whether or not your company will cover losses from the sale.
4. Consider changes in transferees’ desires and values:
As the times change, so do what’s important to your transferees. The deciding factors for whether or not your employee accepts a transfer may be different now than they were even five years ago.
Here’s an example. In this day and age, the idea of a “trailing spouse” is completely outdated. An employee’s spouse’s or partner’s career is equally important to the success of a relocation. If your relocation policy doesn’t cover ways that your company will help support their employment status or career objectives, it probably should. Likewise, we now have a much deeper understanding of the importance of cultural integration to the success of relocations. Does your policy touch upon cultural immersion training or language courses? It’s important to have a good understanding of the cultural climate, as well as employee needs and wants, and balance those with what your company can afford.
5. If you have to cut costs, think about the best ways to do that:
The need to cut costs is a reality for many companies. Your updated relocation policy needs to reflect your current budget, and that may mean some tough decisions. A good place to start is by deciding which expenses and services are most crucial to the relocation. Cut expenses that seem less likely to negatively effect the move (for instance, not all employees will feel the need to take an exploration trip). After that, you should explore implementing policies that have greater opportunity for savings. Look into, for example, implementing a buyer value option home purchase program, rather than providing direct reimbursement.
6. Make sure your relocation policy is accessible:
Isn’t technology a wonderful thing? If you haven’t already, consider providing your transferees with a digital copy of your relocation policy. Paper copies are great, but they can get misplaced, and they’re difficult to carry around. Your transferees will be able to easily access and reference all the important information you’ve provided if they have a digital copy.
To provide a stress-free Canadian relocation and a smooth landing for transferees, take advantage of Settle-in.com’s expert relocation specialists and innovative online platform!
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