CapRelo Blog

What Do you Need to Know Before Writing a Relocation Letter?

Posted by Rick Bruce on Wed, Aug 05, 2015

writing a relocation offer letterRelocation letters have two primary purposes. Fortunately, you need not spend hours researching data or statistics to get the information you need to create a good relocation letter of understanding. The two major features of relocation letters accomplish these goals.

  • Inform the employee or new hire about the terms of the relocation.
  • Motivate the transferee to have positive feelings about their new position and location.

Our free article can give you more information on how to write an employee relocation offer letter.

A relocation letter essentially is part legal document and part enthusiastic communication. The more formal section states the specific terms of the new position, with expected start dates, along with basic pertinent details. The remainder should display the employer’s enthusiasm for the move and the employee's agreement to it.

What You Need to Know Before Writing the Letter

Know your employee.

While the employer relocation decision is its wish to improve company operations, the employee is the prime component. Treat a relocation letter as a one-to-one chat, not a company advertisement to the general public. By knowing your employees personally, you can communicate in ways more meaningful and effective. Achieving this goal is more challenging with a new hire, because you don’t really know his/her personality yet. However, a gracious and enthusiastic “welcome to the team” message should be well received.

Restate the benefits of the new position and location.

Although the employee has already agreed to take the new position and relocate, reminding the employee of the benefits helps reinforce the employee’s decision and can help eliminate any feelings of “buyer’s remorse.” Make sure to get the details of the transferee’s new duties and responsibilities, you should know all the changes to the current employee's responsibilities. At minimum, you need to know the following:

  • The new job title.
  • New or additional job duties and responsibility levels.
  • Any duties the transferee no longer has.
  • The new compensation and benefits if there are changes.
  • Start date for the new position.

Thoroughly understand the relocation package offered.

You need to reference your policy's standard features and exceptions, if any, in the program offered to the employee. You’ll need to clearly state the following items in the relocation letter.

  • Those costs the employer will directly reimburse and caps or limitations thereto.
  • Describe the procedure for submitting requests for reimbursement.
  • Expand on critical relocation package features, such as home sale assistance.

Gathering this information before creating a relocation letter helps you fulfill the two primary goals. You will have provided a positive message to your transferee about accepting the new assignment. You will have also fulfilled your “legal” responsibility by incorporating the specifics of the relocation and the new job. By getting this information in advance it makes writing the relocation letter fairly simple. Not only will your employee understand the terms of the relocation, but your company will also have a written document that eliminates most potential misunderstandings with the transferee.
How to Write an Employee Relocation Letter

Topics: relocation management services, corporate relocation program, writing relocation offer letter

Managing Relocation Suppliers

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, May 20, 2014

Supply chain management is critical in the relocation industry. Just one issue in the supplier network can disrupt one or even several employee relocations.

As a result, many corporations and government agencies utilize the services of a relocation management company to manage suppliers. This takes the challenging task of researching, qualifying and managing suppliers off of your shoulders. Whether you manage your own supply chain or use a relocation management company, following are some of the suppliers you need to select to provide complete relocation services to your employees.

Find out more about managing your relocation supplier network in our free article.

Considerations when Choosing Suppliers and Vendors

  • Moving Household Goods (HHG) – As one of the main concerns for transferees, a company needs a good record of moving goods on time and in good condition.
  • Managing the Move – This involves handling the often-tricky scheduling and assistance with physically moving the transferee and his or her family, thus enabling the employee to get back to the job at hand and minimizing disruptions in productivity.
  • Global Relocation Services - A relocation firm should be experienced in assisting transferees in adapting to new cultures, customs.
  • Real Estate and Mortgage Brokers – More often than not, the employee has a house that must be sold and needs help selecting and financing a home in the new location. The ability to provide real estate and temporary housing assistance both domestically and internationally is crucial for a relocation company.
  • Destination and Settling-in Services – From getting utilities connected, helping the transferee navigate health care and school options as well as assistance in becoming acclimated to his or her new location, settling-in services play a large role in returning the employee back to full productivity sooner.
  • Cultural and Language Training – Learning the new area’s language, laws and customs will boost your employee’s confidence and comfort with the new assignment.
  • Immigration Services – Expert knowledge is required for navigating the regulations governing visas, customs, and other immigration provisions for the destinations in question.
  • Travel Services – Experienced travel professionals can help remove the guesswork and frustration of making travel arrangements for the transferee and his or her family.

For those companies who still offer fixed lump-sum payouts for expenses, it is important to note that employees who have been given the names and contact information of qualified, trustworthy suppliers will have a reduction in moving-related stress, and an easier transition, resulting in better productivity.

Precautions

The quality of goods and services can vary widely among suppliers, especially among national franchises and international providers. Some may live up to their reputation but others may not. A qualified reputable third-party relocation company can help avoid potential relocation problems by verifying suppliers for financial stability, safety and insurance coverage and performing facility site visits, ensuring an optimum transfer experience for the employee and company alike.

How to Manage Your Relocation Supplier Network

Topics: Supply Chain Management, relocation management services, Relocation Services

What is Generally Included in a Standard Relocation Package?

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Feb 11, 2014

Standard Relocation PackageMost standard relocation packages will include the following features. Please note that this is a more subjective, than objective, list. Depending on the industry and their competition’s relocation programs, employers can tailor their programs to offer the most competitive and attractive packages to attract and retain top talent. 

Find more examples of relocation packages and features in our free guide.

Common Standard Relocation Package Features

  • Full pack and/or unpack services. The employee's household goods are packed by a moving company, saving the employee time and stress. After arriving at the new destination and home, moving company personnel unpack the household goods.
  • Quality moving company service with reasonable insurance coverage. Some moving companies are known for quality moves, some are not. Since moving charges are usually based on total weight, insurance for damaged or lost goods should be equal to your goods’ value.

  • Home sale or lease-breaking penalty assistance. Home sale help can come in a variety of ways, from company-sponsored reimbursement for money lost on quick home sales, professional marketing help to accelerate the timing of sales to the employer buying the home. Renters can expect employers to pay contractual penalties for early lease termination.

  • House-hunting trip, minimum one. Standard relocation programs commonly include at least one, preferably two, company-paid house hunting trips of short duration to give the transferee and family opportunities to find new homes.

  • Temporary housing. Standard relocations include at least 30 days of temporary housing for transferees.

  • Transportation, including auto moving, to the final destination. Most relocation policies include reimbursement for transporting your transferee and his/her family to the new location. If the transferee can travel by auto, reimbursing for mileage expenses is common. Should the move require plane or train transportation, standard policies often include reimbursing the cost of moving the transferee’s vehicle(s).

  • Miscellaneous expenses. As usual the “miscellaneous” category can encompass a lot of small costs. To keep this category cost controlled, identify or cap most eligible costs.

These are commonly included features of standard relocation policies, which we outline in our guide. Depending on your industry and facility locations, you may want to include more features in your standard package.

Popular features in some standard programs include temporary living expenses when transferees must meet hard deadlines to move, storage costs for household goods before employees can move into new homes, spousal employment assistance in the new location, childcare costs and elder help for transferees caring for elderly parents.

Your standard relocation package may or may not include some or all of the noted features. However, in all cases, you should regularly compare your package with those of your competition. If your program is significantly deficient in some area, make senior management aware of the discrepancy, advising them to consider upgrades to keep your standard policy equal to your competition’s packages.

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Topics: relocation management services, corporate relocation program, standard relocation package, employee relocation

What Information Do you Need Before Writing a Relocation Letter of Understanding?

Posted by Rick Bruce on Tue, Jan 07, 2014

Relocation letters have two primary purposes. Fortunately, you need not spend hours researching data or statistics to get the information you need to create a good relocation letter of understanding. The two major features of relocation letters accomplish these goals.

  • Inform the employee or new hire about the terms of the relocation
  • Motivate the transferee to have positive feelings about their new position and location.

A relocation letter essentially is part legal document and part enthusiastic communication. The more formal section states the specific terms of the new position, with expected start dates, along with basic pertinent details. The remainder should display the employer’s enthusiasm for the move and the employee's agreement to it.

What You Need to Know Before Writing the Letter

Understand the personality of the employee

While the employer relocation decision is its wish to improve company operations, the employee is the prime component. Treat a relocation letter as a one-to-one chat, not a company advertisement to the general public.

Knowing your employee’s personality helps you frame your communication in ways most meaningful and effective to the recipient.

Achieving this goal is more challenging with a new hire, because you don’t really know his/her personality yet. However, a gracious and enthusiastic “welcome to the team” message should be well-received.

Restate the benefits of the new position and location.

Although the employee has already agreed to take the new position and relocate, a brief reminder—in writing—of the benefits helps reinforce the employee’s decision. This simple statement or listing often re-ignites the employee’s motivation, eliminating any feelings of “buyer’s remorse” that may creep into the decision.Get the details of the transferee’s new duties and responsibilities.You need to know all changes to current employees’ responsibilities, along with specifics of their new position. At a minimum, you need to know the following items.
  • The new job title.
  • New or additional job duties and responsibility levels.
  • Any duties the transferee no longer has.
  • The new compensation and benefits if there are changes.
  • Start date for the new position.

Thoroughly understand the relocation package offered.

You need to reference your policy's standard features and exceptions, if any, in the program offered to the employee. You’ll need to clearly state the following items in the relocation letter.
  • Those costs the employer will directly reimburse and caps or limitations thereto.
  • Describe the procedure for submitting requests for reimbursement.
  • Expand on critical relocation package features, such as home sale assistance.

Gathering this information before creating a relocation letter helps you fulfill the two primary goals. You will have provided a positive message to your transferee to reinforce the wisdom of the decision to accept the new position and relocation.

The Low-Stress  Relocation Guide

 

You will also fulfill your “legal” responsibility by incorporating the specifics of the relocation, including the details of the transferee’s new job and responsibilities, new compensation and the primary features of your company’s obligations to reimburse some or all costs of the move.

Getting this information in advance typically makes the writing of the actual relocation letter a fairly simple—and effective—exercise. Your employee will understand the terms of the relocation and your company will have a written document that eliminates most potential misunderstandings with the transferee.

Topics: relocation management services, corporate relocation program

Relocation Paperwork You Can Expect To See and What It Means

Posted by Tamara Bianchi on Tue, Jul 03, 2012

Relocation services are there to simplify the process of transferring employees from one location to another. Ultimately, it’s the goal of the relocation management company to pave the quickest, least disruptive path between Point A to Point B so that the transferee can experience as seamless a move as possible, with minimal stress and worry.

Learn more about developing relocation policies in our free guide. 

Below are some examples of paperwork (required and informational) that employees in the process of transferring should expect to receive during a corporate relocation.

Relocation Benefits and Policy Acknowledgement Forms

A critical document for any relocated employee to keep, the relocation benefits form spells out all of the agreed-to benefits of the relocation package being exercised. Policy acknowledgement forms are to be signed by employees prior to their relocation, and are the legal agreements between employee and employer that explicitly spells out the rights of each.

Expenses Breakdown

The corporation that a person works for will likely have a relocation benefits package that covers necessary expenses associated with relocation. This coverage goes well beyond the simple cost of hiring a moving company and paying for airfare, and can also extend to paying for temporary housing while a transferee looks for something permanent, in addition to the hiring of real estate services to help market that person’s home and guide it to a quick sale.

Understanding the breakdown of expenses covered and what the tax ramifications are if reimbursed is key to helping a corporate employee determine whether or not their relocation will be an economic hardship or an opportunity they'd be foolish to pass up.

Destination Demographics

Relocation services companies not only handle all of the details of arranging a move for a corporate employee, but they even go so far as to eliminate the need for that individual to do any research. Typically, the relocation management company will pull together a comprehensive report on the destination city for the employee to review. This can include everything from detailed information on local schools to family friendly neighborhoods, to a synopsis of the area’s history and a list of nearby areas of interest. This not only helps the relocating employee and their family learn about the place they’ll soon be calling home, but it can also work as an effective tool for persuading reticent employees to take relocation opportunities they might otherwise turn down without a second thought.

Relocation management companies are in the business of eliminating the bumps in the road that could potentially derail a corporate relocation – and a major part of that is the elimination of paperwork through streamlined processes that handle the “heavy lifting” portion of moving. Without the services of a relocation management company, the prospect of employees having to pull off their own cross-country relocations would be so daunting that few would agree to it at all. The end result could cripple the growth for companies interested in expansion – not to mention making the recruitment of talent a near impossibility.

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Topics: relocation management services, Relocation Services, relocation management company

Effective Business Performance Measurements for Your Corporate Relocation

Posted by Mickey Williams on Tue, Jan 17, 2012

06012015_meeting_sq.jpgIf you're in the process of selecting a corporate relocation firm to manage your company's corporate relocation policy, you may have a lot of doubts:

  • How will I know the corporate relocation management company is acting in my best interests?
  • What can I expect from a corporate relocation firm?
  • How will I know if the company is fulfilling its agreements?
  • How can I get the best value for my money when I hire a corporate relocation management company?

It all starts with an effective SLA (Service Level Agreement) and the right KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to ensure you're paying for the relocation management services you need and getting the high-quality services you paid for.

Learn more about developing relocation policies with our free guide.

Defining KPI and SLA

If these terms are unfamiliar to you—or you've heard of them but aren't sure what they mean, let's first define them. Many experienced businesspeople get these common business performance measurement terms confused.

Service Level Agreement

An SLA is a formal, negotiated agreement, typically part of the contract, that defines the exact services a supplier will offer to a client. More detailed than a Scope of Work, an SLA sets clear expectations for the client, which the service provider must fulfill.

KPI

KPI metrics are used to determine whether or not the supplier or service provider is fulfilling the SLA. KPIs take many forms, but the client and supplier must agree on how performance will be measured. This is accomplished by the client establishing clear, quantifiable goals and expectations (outlined in the SLA.) If a service provider is having any difficulties fulfilling the SLA for any reason, he should bring it to the attention of the client immediately. To preserve the relationship, the two parties should work together to find the deficiencies and see what should be done so the supplier can meet the SLA.

Let's look at an SLA for a very specific type of relocation: a group move. Many of the aspects of an SLA will be the same for individual relocations as with a group move, but because a group move takes place on a large scale, an SLA becomes even more important.

Some factors that may be measured based on an SLA with a corporate relocation firm for a group move are:

  • Number of key employees retained
  • Number of non-essential personnel successfully and fairly terminated
  • Remaining within budget for the move
  • Completing employee moves and corporate moves within the time frame specified
  • Relocated employees satisfaction of the moving process, based on surveys and other metrics, following the move

If your corporate relocation firm does not have KPI metrics established or a relocation process that is clearly measurable through solid facts, budget figures, retention statistics and employee surveys, you may want to consider another firm.

The best relocation firms will not only have KPI metrics in place, but will review the relocation process after every move to make refinements. 

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Topics: KPI, Service Level Agreement, relocation management services, relocation management company

Employee Retention Solutions That Work in Lean Times

Posted by George Herriage on Tue, Dec 06, 2011

Office RelocationIt's the classic Catch-22. Unemployment is at an all-time high, but employers say they're having more difficulties than ever before in recruiting and retaining high quality talent. What's the answer?

Many employees and people looking for work today say employers expect too much (work), in exchange for too little (pay, benefits and job support). Obviously, the best way to avoid the expense and hassles of hiring and training new employees is to find employee retention solutions that work to keep your top talent happy and productive.

Find out more about developing attractive and effective relocation policies in our free guide.

Key factors in employee retention involve building a corporate culture where people feel a sense of ownership in their success, where employees feel as if they have a voice, and where the company offers flexibility for employees to have a better work-life balance.

Let's explore that last factor.

Are your employees thriving socially, financially and culturally?

Moving your corporate offices to a place with a lower cost-of-living, which still boasts many of the lifestyle benefits people associate with larger markets, could be the answer. You may find lots of support, both from the local government and in terms of the workforce, in up-and-coming areas if you relocate.

Chances are, there are still some employees in your workforce you want to retain, either because they are top performers, top executives that play a key role in the decision-making, or maybe they have specific skill sets that are hard to find.

While we could fill books on employee retention solutions—and many people have—let's look at employee retention in our specific area of expertise: employee retention ideas following a corporate relocation.

Employee Retention Ideas Following a Move

Retaining employees following a move requires more than just the threat of having to pay back a corporate relocation package. You can enact penalties on employees who leave within one to two years after a relocation—but do you want unhappy employees sticking around just to live up to the terms of their relocation contract?

The ideal situation is to retain happy, productive employees following a low-stress relocation. Here are a few employee retention ideas and ways to ensure a positive moving experience.

Offer scouting trips:
The first step, obviously, is to retain employees prior to the move, to convince quality employees to sell their homes, relocate their families and make the move with you. Scouting trips that pull out all stops and show the new region in its move positive light can help. Encourage employees to talk to locals and visit networking organizations to get a real feel for the city. Upper-level employees should be permitted several scouting trips, including visits with their family, so they can make the best choice.

Offer home sale assistance:
One of a relocating employees' biggest fears in today's economic climate is selling their home without losing money. While a loss-on-sale program is one way to alleviate this fear, there are better, less costly ways, as well—and it doesn't necessarily mean keeping the home in your corporate inventory, either. Home sale bonuses if an employee sells the home within a specific time period, working with your relocation company's supply chain real estate and home staging partners, has been shown to alleviate the stress associated with real estate and relocation.

Suggest property management as an alternative to a home sale:
In today's market and economy, it happens sometimes that an employee simply cannot sell his home: maybe they're underwater, or maybe a fast sale just isn't happening in the region. The idea, then, is to change the employee's situation so they can view moving as a possibility (ideally, without your company holding the home in inventory – a huge liability.) The rental market is ripe with people who have the income, but not the credit (perhaps they just experienced a foreclosure) to afford to rent a house. By calling in, and funding, a third-party property management company, you can help make it possible for your employee to rent their home easily and use the rental income to pay for a new place to live.

Provide the best service during the move: Productive employees are happy employees. One way to encourage a faster return-to-productivity is to keep moving day as stress free as possible. This means hiring relocation service providers, including household goods movers, who offer top-notch customer service and do everything in their power to say “yes” to relocating employee requests.

 

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Topics: Home Selling and Purchase Assistance, relocation management services, corporate relocation program

Finding Corporate Relocation Companies with the Resources You Need

Posted by George Herriage on Wed, Nov 09, 2011

Corporate relocation companies come in all sizes, shapes and forms. Some rely heavily on technology to get the job done. Others focus on superior customer service, going above and beyond to satisfy high-level executive clients who are relocating. Others have strengths in the financial management aspects of relocation, pulling out all stops to get clients the most bang for their buck in tight economic times.
right relocation firm with personalized customer serviceIdeally, you'll find a company with strengths in all of these areas, and more, including:

• A non-exclusive supply chain to connect you with top real estate agents, home staging services, HHG moving services, mortgage companies and more
• A process to manage each employee or group move, measure its success, and refine the procedure for next time, while permitting room for flexibility and customization within each move.
• Personalized customer service for every client
• The resources necessary to manage your company, regardless of its size and regardless of how many employees you are moving at one time or over the course of your contract
• A corporate culture that adapts itself to fit your company culture, speaking the language of your relocating employees, ascertaining their needs and meeting those needs efficiently and within your relocation budget

Sounds like a tall order, doesn't it? The fact is, these are all key elements that go into a successful relocation. If your relocation management company isn't providing it all, they may not be giving you the service you deserve.

The right relocation firm should offer all the resources you need with personalized customer service to back it up. When you speak with your relocation professional, you should feel as if you are their only client and their main concern. You are Number One to them.

The Low-Stress  Relocation Guide
You can find out a lot about a corporate relocation company by visiting their website and even reading their blog. But there's no substitute for speaking with satisfied clients as well as the company's relocation specialists.

Topics: move management services, relocation management services, relocation management company

What are Your Biggest Employee Relocation Costs?

Posted by George Herriage on Thu, Nov 03, 2011

employee relocation costsHave you ever considered the items that are your biggest employee relocation costs? An employee relocation expense can be broken into one of several categories:

  • Household goods and people and pet moving
  • Temporary housing
  • Scouting/recruiting tours
  • Expenses related to spouses, children or elderly parents
  • Real estate expenses (buying and selling a home)
  • Miscellaneous expenses (utility turn-on, lease-break costs, licensing, etc.)

Find out more about developing relocation policies with our free guide.

Real Estate Issues can Bust the Bank
In our experience here at CapRelo, the largest employee relocation expense falls into the real estate category. This is evidenced by the fact that typical employee relocation costs for renters are about $18,000, while they rise to an average of $60,000 for homeowners -- and much more than that if the employee is a top executive with a jumbo mortgage on his home.

Reduce Employee Relocation Costs without Delaying Home Sales
So how can you recruit top talent who may feel tied to their region because of a house they can't sell without taking a loss? Loss-on-sale incentives are one option, but this can backfire and increase your relocation costs while still leaving a frustrated employee if the home takes a long time to sell.

A home sale bonus if the relocating employee uses real estate agents and other professionals, such as home stagers, recommended and approved by your relocation company can expedite the home sale for a low-stress relocation and a faster return-to-productivity.

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Topics: relocation benefits, relocation management services, employee relocation expenses

How to Beat the Stress of Relocation in the Current Housing Market

Posted by Barbara Miller on Wed, Oct 05, 2011

If the stress of buying, selling, packing up and moving into someplace new has your workforce quivering in their boots about relocation, work with an executive relocation company that has a proven track record of delivering a stress-free, hands-off experience.

These days, there’s enough worry about the real estate market without having to overburden your employees with the stress of relocation. For many of your employees, the notion of uprooting their lives to follow a greater job opportunity halfway across the country is simply not an option – or least not one they’ll enter into eagerly, considering all of the work they’ll need to put in to find a real estate company capable of selling their home in a down market. To be able to place your best people in positions they’re perfectly suited for, hire an executive relocation company to help expedite matters.

Executive relocation companies don’t just arrange for a moving van to show up on the day your employee is scheduled to uproot to a new city. The involvement on the part of the executive relocation company actually begins much earlier than that, considering the needs of the individual employee and their family, and plotting a unique strategy to handle all challenges quickly and with minimal complications. This includes:

• Matching your employee up with a real estate agency that can sell their property quickly.
• Putting your employee in contact with a realtor capable of finding them a new place to live.
• Offering your employee valuable resources to help them determine in what area to settle down.
• Facilitating arrangements between your employee and the moving company.

3 Benefits of Incorporating  Property Management
If the stress of buying, selling, packing up and moving into someplace new has your workforce quivering in their boots about relocation, work with an executive relocation company that has a proven track record of delivering a stress-free, hands-off experience. You won’t regret it, and your employees will thank you for it.

Topics: relocation management services, Relocation Services

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