Most corporate relocation policies come in one of two overall primary designs: Single or tiered programs. One, the single policy, is the easiest to administer and implement. Another, the tiered policy, is typically more attractive to employees, whether new hires or transferred current staff.
Depending on your industry, competition for talent and relocation "volume," either a single or tiered policy may be the best option for your company. For example, if you have only one or two locations in addition to your home office base of operations, a single policy may be effective. However, if you have numerous diverse locations, particularly if some are outside US borders, a tiered relocation policy may prove to be the best choice for cost control, along with attracting and keeping more talented employees.
Single Policy Characteristics
If you hope to make life easier on your HR personnel, single policy programs achieve that goal. There are benefits to single policy programs that proponents happily cite. A "one size fits all" relocation policy delivers the following benefits.
- Applies to all employees, regardless of title, compensation amount or organization chart position.
- All current employees and new hires are treated equally.
- Lower administrative costs.
- Relocation costs are manageable and predictable.
- Employees, particularly those not at the top of the organization chart, believe this to be a fair, equitable and team-focused policy.
Whether you opt to take advantage of one of the top third-party professional relocation firms or use your internal HR department to manage employee relocation, there remains only a single policy for all transfers. This makes it easier to understand, revise when necessary and update for changing competitive market conditions.
Tiered Relocation Policy Characteristics
Although more complex to manage and administer, tiered relocation policies offer benefits unavailable with single policy programs. Your choice of options often depends on the programs offered by your competition for talent, your perception of "one size fits all" programs and how you value attracting and keeping the most talented employees available. Among the benefits delivered by tiered relocation policies, the following are prominent.
- New hires appreciate your company's recognition of their education and professional achievements, along with demonstrated rewards for their expertise level.
- Tiers can lower relocation costs, with fewer monetary benefits offered to transferees below senior-level compensation and authority.
- Helps reduce turnover and attracts more talented candidates, particularly at higher levels of authority.
- Recognizes that homeowners typically need more help in relocating than those transferees who rent their current residence.
- Exhibits the philosophy that treating everyone equally (as in single policy programs) can be a disservice to those with higher levels of authority, considerable proven expertise and more complex job descriptions.
You must accept that tiered programs need more administrative attention to work properly. Tiered programs are also a bit more complex to revise and update, since they have multiple policies within the master policy. Proven third-party relocation firms typically excel with tiered policy management and cost control.
As always, the overriding influence of your choice of a single or tiered policy is the strategy of your executive management team. Their goals, assessment of the relocation programs of their major competition for talent and the value senior management places on happy transferees contributing to operational efficiency, are important considerations for the choice of relocation program components.
Many companies believe that the numerous benefits offered by tiered relocation policies are more valuable than the simplicity of having a single policy.. Employee turnover is expensive, with many hidden and indirect costs. Losing talented candidates to your competition also generates potentially significant costs.
Senior management should objectively assess their industry standing and goals in relation to their choice of relocation policies. Both policy options permit cost control. However, if executive management foresees the need for recruiting or transferring higher-level staff in the near future, a tiered relocation policy may prove more valuable to the company.