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Jim Retzer

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Destination Services and Providers - Global Relocations

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Dec 09, 2014

digital-world-map.jpgGlobal relocations often involve numerous moving parts for companies and major adjustments for professionals and their families. The best way to make the process more streamlined and comfortable is to rely on a destination services provider (DSP).

A DSP delivers professional services designed to help assignees and their family members experience smoother global transitions. DSPs can deliver a range of standard services as well as customized offerings based on a professional’s preferences and interests. The following are just a few of the highly useful services DSPs use to make your organization’s global relocations easier. 

Learn more about managing global assignments with our free guide.

Area Orientation

Adjusting to life in a new country is often the most overwhelming concern for professionals and their families. A DSP eases these concerns by providing in-depth area orientations that include neighborhood descriptions, housing market profiles, lists of medical facilities and even customized information that addresses an assignee’s specific interests. 

Home-Finding Assistance

The home buying and renting procedures can vary significantly in different countries. A good DSP makes this process easier by pulling together data on the local market, laying out buying and renting steps and explaining any legal requirements. If an assignee desires more hands-on help, relocation management providers can actually walk assignees through the entire home-buying or home-renting process, in addition to helping them rent or sell their old homes. 

School Searches

Relocation management services assist families in finding schools that offer the same or a higher level of education than their old schools provided. DSPs can also make sure children and parents are fully prepared for the start of school by gathering details on entrance exams and other enrollment considerations. 

Foreign Language Training

Strong language training is a crucial aspect of helping professionals and their families to feel comfortable in an unfamiliar location. While learning a new language can seem like a large undertaking, professional programs offer options to make the process easier – including at-home classes, classes at the office, and classes customized for each individual’s personal and professional needs. 

Cultural Instruction

It’s common to focus on language skills and forget about another essential part of moving to a new country – learning about that area’s cultural identity and nuances. While most languages have detailed rules and structures, a country’s cultural identity can be much harder to pin down. That’s where a DSP comes in to provide detailed knowledge on a country’s customs, etiquette, taboos and common business practices. 

Spousal Support

While most executives grasp the importance of providing training and service for relocating employees, many forget that it’s also essential to offer services for spouses undergoing the relocation process. Destination service providers can arrange for spouses to receive career counseling, information on recreational activities, opportunities for social interaction, and other services that may help them feel more at home.

 

It’s never too early to start incorporating these destination services into your company’s relocation process. In fact, the sooner professionals find the information and support they need, the more likely they are to enjoy a smooth adjustment and return to full productivity.

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Topics: international relocation services, destination services, global mobility, global relocation

A Lump-Sum Executive Relocation Package Offers Options

Posted by Jim Retzer on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

 
If you're revamping your executive relocation policy to include lump-sums, you may have more flexibility than you imagined.
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Topics: lump sum package

Dissecting the Features of an Attractive Relocation Package

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Oct 07, 2014

Creating a strong relocation package for your employees is key to attracting and retaining top talent. So how do you determine if your company's relocation policies are up to par? Consider the following five features that distinguish the most attractive relocation packages from the weakest.

Learn more about developing relocation policies with our free guide. 

1. Comprehensive, Not Complex

The goal of a quality relocation package is to offer a range of comprehensive solutions that eliminate stress for the employee and ensure seamless productivity for your company. Hiring a moving company may seem like enough, but you should work to ensure that employees don't feel shouldered with the burden of planning and executing their move. Offer comprehensive, wraparound relocation support, and your employee will feel secure, stress-free and confident about their new role in the company.

2. Anticipates Problems

Sure, it's important to be responsive to bumps in the road during the relocation process, but the best relocation packages anticipate problems before they even arise. Consider the following factors that frequently cause difficulty for employees, and be sure to have a thorough, thoughtful plan at the ready:

  • Local schools. Finding a satisfactory school for your employee's children can take a major burden off their plate.
  • Spouse Support. Offering networking assistance to your employee's spouse can make or break the decision to relocate. Research leads and connections in the local job market, and help ease the transition for a working spouse.
  • Create Connections. Research professional and/or leisure organizations that might interest your employee. Offering connections can make for a much smoother transition, especially for employees who are reluctant to leave their established social and professional life behind.
  • Places of Worship. Consider the importance of spiritual life to your relocating employee, and be prepared to offer a list of appropriate churches, temples or mosques.
  • Moving Precious Cargo. Go above and beyond to ensure that a plan is in place for moving pets, plants or other belongings that go outside the purview of a traditional moving company.

3. Real Estate Solutions

According to a recent WERC U.S. Transfer Volume & Cost Survey, the issue of real estate is one of the chief reasons why executives turn down relocations. Develop and maintain connections to real estate professionals in order to offer your employee fast, professional service to sell their old home and purchase a new home with little hassle.

4. High-Quality Handling of Household Goods (HHG)

As the late, great George Carlin put it, "the whole meaning of life is trying to find a place for your stuff!" Dealing with "stuff" can be stressful, which is why offering a comprehensive package that includes packing and handling household goods is worth the additional cost over a self-service move.

5. Built-In Bonus Incentives

Finally, consider adding a final layer of "icing on the cake" for executives who may be on the fence. Cost of living salary adjustments, monetary bonuses and protections from losses on the sale of a home can all give your employee the peace of mind they need to take the relocation plunge.

Attracting and retaining ambitious, productive employees means taking extra care to make their relocation smooth and worry-free. If you find your relocation package is missing any of these five features, you may find yourself missing your top executive pick at your next meeting. Spending the extra time and resources to support a new or long-time employee through a major life change can pay off in sustained productivity and increased loyalty to your company for years to come.

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Topics: relocation packages, updating policy, attracting new hires

US Global Mobility: Changes, Challenges – and Fun?

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Sep 30, 2014

Recently, George Herriage, CapRelo's executive vice-president and-COO, talked to Re:locate’s Fiona Murchie about current trends in US relocation, both inbound and outbound.

You can find the full article titled "US Global Mobility: Changes, Challenges - and Fun?" here

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With a worldwide focus on global growth, where are US organisations doing business, 

FM: How does the current US business, economic, and political environment affect relocation? and where are they sending their employees? I asked CapRelo’s Executive Vice President/COO, George Herriage, for his views.

GH: Although the US economy has been volatile over the last several years, the business

 climate continues to be positive. We’re seeing unemployment rates continue to decline, 

which, in turn, means the need for talent mobility increases.

We are cautiously optimistic about the economic climate, as growth in wages is static at best. However, interest rates are still a bright note, keeping home ownership affordable and allowing businesses to expand.

Another area we are monitoring is the impact on our industry caused by federal budget challenges and the US government sequester. The federal sector and its supporting industries are being disrupted by these challenges. For example, regulations tied to the mortgage industry and real estate disclosure laws are problematic to implement, and that affects our clients.

FM: For outbound relocation, what is your perspective on where US companies are sending their assignees as expansion into overseas markets gathers pace? That is, where are you noticing movement ─ Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America?

GH: Employee relocations going outside the US are still primarily focused on Europe and Asia. However, longer-range planning shows Latin America as an emerging destination for our clients.

FM: For inbound relocation, what types of employee are being relocated or sent on assignment? From what geographic regions and business sectors are they coming?

GH: We see a blend of more seasoned senior-level employees and the younger Millennial staffers. Not surprisingly, emerging companies tend more toward Millennials, while more established organisations are predominantly relocating senior-level employees.

Within the US, Texas is experiencing an uptick in inbound relocation activity due to a business-friendly environment and the success of the oil and gas industries. In California, business has increased due to our client’s business needs.

Outside the US, key activity for our clients is from the UK and China.

FM: What are your thoughts on the current state of US domestic relocation?

GH: There are several trends we have noticed, including growing demand for corporate relocation services and a shift toward more renting versus homebuying. This is being driven by Millennials not purchasing homes and fewer overall homeowners since the real-estate decline.

Government relocation will be static for the next few years, due to the constraints on federal budgets, and so on.

FM: How has relocation changed over the last decades, and what are your predictions for the future of employee relocation?

GH: What we see is that the services we provide are evolving to address real-time business needs and challenges  – for example, technology-driven services, rental services and lump-sum management.

We do not expect to see consolidation in the mobility industry. That is, there won’t be fewer relocation management companies, just different ones.

Also, technology will continue to change the face of relocation, as it has in every other industry. Technology-driven organisations will emerge to address new buyer demands.

Lastly, all facets of the industry are rethinking their business models, from household goods movers to relocation management companies, from mortgage providers to real-estate firms.

The next few years will see constant changes of directions and models – it will be a lot of fun to be a part of it!

Topics: CapRelo Employees, global mobility, re:locate magazine

The Need for Rental Services in a Relocation Package

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Sep 30, 2014

One of the most challenging aspects of professional relocation involves helping employees find ideal housing solutions. While plenty of companies offer home buying help, many organizations miss out on addressing their employees’ need for advice and services related to home rentals.

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Serving Employees Who Need to Rent Instead of Buy

Executives are often surprised by how many relocating employees choose renting over buying a home in their new city or town. Some employees prefer to hold off on buying until they’ve had time to explore the area or until they’re certain they want to live there for a significant amount of time.

Find out more about real estate considerations in your relocation policy with our free article.

Other employees are actually unable to buy a new home – possibly because their current home is underwater, has lost a significant amount of value or simply isn’t selling in the current market. The prospect of having two mortgages is enough to keep most professionals up at night, so finding a comfortable rental property is a smart option for individuals and families in this situation.

Employees who are being relocated for an indefinite period of time – whether it’s six months or three years – are understandably reluctant to purchase a home in their new city or town. Looking at rental options provides these employees with more flexibility and gives them the freedom to tailor their rental terms based on the specifics of their work assignments.

Providing Essential Rental Services

It’s all too easy to assume that the home rental process is less complicated than the home buying process. In fact, numerous steps, services and insights are necessary to match an employee with the ideal home rental.

Companies should start by providing extensive area tours to help employees become familiar with a new city or town. Giving employees a thorough insider’s view gets them excited about moving and helps them spot the areas they might like to live in or explore.

A relocating employee has enough to think about without spending hours researching demographics, walkability, public schools, transportation options and other important information about different neighborhoods. Compiling and delivering neighborhood profiles speeds up an employee’s process of choosing the area that fits their needs.

Finding the right rental property can involve almost as many moving parts as purchasing a home. Arranging for meetings with landlords, setting up property inspections and comparing lease terms are all necessary processes that are carried out more smoothly with the assistance of a professional rental agent. 

Once an employee has settled on a rental home, companies can provide information on DIY services, such as pet registration, cable and internet setup, utility connections, vehicle registration and all the other essentials that allow employees return to their regular routines.

As important as all these steps are, organizations should note that each employee will have a unique set of relocation and living needs. Providing access to tailored professional rental services not only removes any hesitations employees may have, but it helps organizations attract and retain the top talent that fuels future success.

Real Estate Considerations Article

Topics: Rental Issues, Renting Versus Selling Your Home

Relocation Packages Designed to Attract the Right Executive

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

 

Are you trying to attract the right executives to your company? If so, you may want to look at the relocation packages your company offers. This video discusses why your company should use specialized relocation packages to attract the right employees.

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Topics: Home Selling and Purchase Assistance, executive relocation package

Employee Relocation Policies and Real Estate: A Tiered Approach

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Sep 02, 2014

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Tiered Relocation Packages

An emerging trend concerning employee relocation is tiered relocation packages. These packages are tailored to each level of employee and offer benefits according to those levels. Corporations have started utilizing tiered policies to provide more flexibility for hiring managers and to cut the overall costs of relocations.

Learn more about cutting costs using tiered relocation packages.

Design Your Tiers

To organize a tiered relocation policy, first you must assign each transferee into categories. The options and benefits will be different for each category. For example, consider a corporation with a tiered relocation structure and four categories, or tiers, of employees being relocated. The first tier, Tier One might include a relocation package specifically for executives. Tier Two packages may apply to middle managers and Tier Three for all other employees. The fourth Tier might apply to college recruits and new hires.

How to Categorize Your Employees

In this tiered approach, the benefits allowance and options available in each category will directly correspond with the transferee’s position or level within the company. This is how the company uses the tiered approach to cut costs while still providing for the needs of each group of transferees.

Some companies devise tier policies according to whether an employee has been with the company or are a new hire. This approach would only save on over all relocation costs if the company has a regular stream of new hires coming in. If new hires are the minority, then the company would still be paying the full amount to relocate existing employees, i.e. fewer savings.

Relocating Homeowners

Costs to move a home owning employee are considerably more since homeowner transferees require assistance for closing costs on their sold home (direct reimbursement or Buyer Value Option) as well as reimbursement of the purchases costs of a new home in their new location. The company’s goal is to keep real estate out of company inventory whenever possible, but holding onto a house in order to hold on to a key player in the company is sometimes the better choice.

Buyout vs. Lump Sum

Recent college graduate new hires logically will require minimal pay out, as compared to a relocating executive who would most likely require a much more substantial package. Lower level employees or middle management might qualify for a Buyer Value Option (BVO) program which puts the pressure to sell the home quickly onto the employee. However, in today’s real estate market a guaranteed buyout may have to be offered as a last resort to ensure the sale of the home. Many companies have started providing lump sum payments for lower tiers/new hires since their relocation needs are typically much less.

Conclusion

The bottom line in employee relocations is going to be cost. If a company is paying lump sums of equal amounts to all transferring employees, chances are it is costing the company considerable amounts of money unnecessarily. With a tiered approach, however, the company stands to save significant costs related to relocating their employees. The key to a tiered approach is sorting the employees into groups and tailoring relocation packages according to the different requirements for each tier.

Save Time & Money Using Tiered Relocation Packages

 

Topics: Tiered relocation packages, Real Estate, executive relocation package

Steps on How to Write an Employee Relocation Offer Letter

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Aug 12, 2014

How_to_Write_anEmployee_Relocation_Offer.jpg

When writing an effective employee relocation offer letter it’s important that you frame your offer in a manner that results in the highest rate of acceptance. Here we outline steps to help you write a great relocation offer letter.

For more information on how to write an employee relocation letter, get our free article.

Start with a Recap

Relocation offer letters are sent to employees who have already had a face to face discussion about the opportunity with their managers. When writing a relocation offer letter, it’s important to begin with a quick recap of that conversation. This serves not only as a reminder of the previous discussion, but also as a means of connecting with the employee on a personal level that will leave them feeling greatly valued.

Create Enthusiasm

In order for an employee to accept a relocation offer, they have to know the pros outweigh the cons. Emphasizing the benefits of relocation - including salary increases and the professional learning opportunities they’ll receive as a result - helps the employee recognize the potential long term value of accepting relocation.

Provide a Summary of the New Position

As a rule of thumb, every employee relocation offer letter should include a summary of the position the employee is being offered. This includes their official new job title, their job duties, the name of the person they’ll be reporting to, the proposed transfer effective date, and any offered financial incentives such as salary increases or bonuses.

Address Key Concerns

Once you’ve provided a recap of the benefits the employee receives by relocating, it’s time to address their next logical question: How will a move impact my daily life? You can effectively nip any objections in the bud by providing information about how your company’s relocation policy covers the following four most frequently raised concerns.

  1. Relocation Expenses. It’s important for the employee to know how much of the bill he or she will be required to shoulder for their relocation. In this section of the letter, briefly describe what expenses the company will pay for, what expenses will be reimbursed, and what expenses the employee will be responsible for.
  2. Moving Household Goods. This is a potentially costly concern that should be addressed in detail by providing the employee with information on how much the company will pay to move their belongings from origin to destination, what they will be responsible for paying, and any restrictions or limitations to the policy.
  3. Home Marketing Assistance. If your company offers relocating employees assistance in putting their home up for sale or for rent, this should also be addressed.
  4. Home Finding Assistance. Provide information on any help the employee can expect to receive with respect to temporary living provisions, house hunting services, access to real estate agencies, and other general orientation assistance.
Download our Article: How to write  an Employee Relocation  Offer Letter

Topics: relocating employees, writing relocation offer letter

Could Your Standardized Relocation Package Be Hurting You? (Video)

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Aug 05, 2014

 

A single, all encompassing relocation program may be the simplest to administer, but using a "one-size-fits-all" package may end up causing your company more harm than good. This video explains how that is possible.

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Topics: relocation packages, standard relocation package, employee relocation video

Job Relocation: Why Employers Should Invest in Language Training

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Jul 22, 2014

languages

For an employee, being relocated by his or her employer can be an unnerving process. Yet millions of people move every year at management's request, some of them moving globally to a place where the primary language spoken is different. Your employees will likely face language barriers, cultural barriers, perhaps even discrimination depending on where they are moving to and from. An global move must be managed very carefully, paying close attention to the needs of the person(s) being moved; language training is one very important part of the relocation process.

Find out more about managing global relocations in our free article.

Why Language Training?

It is not difficult to imagine what it would be like to be dropped into a country where you don’t speak the language. There is nothing worse than being lost in every sense in a foreign place. At the very least, one should have some idea of the language well in advance of leaving. Learning to speak a new language is a challenge at best for 99.9% of adults but there are accelerated learning programs available if one’s employer is willing to invest in courses for employees being moved.

Who Benefits?

Who benefits from language training? All parties involved benefit in one way or another. For the employee being moved, language training more fully prepares them for living and working in another country. The better they communicate with their new co-workers, the quicker they will be able to resume work and get back to full productivity. Struggling with the language can be costly in man hours spent correcting issues created by poor communication. Employees feel less stressed with fewer cultural and lingual barriers, and employers benefit from increased productivity as a result. There will be fewer complaints if all parties are speaking and understanding local language and culture, lessening the negative effects of an international relocation.

The Bottom Line

Every dollar invested in language training for employees who are relocating to another part of the world is a dollar well spent. The return on investment in cases such as these is profound. Not only does the employer retain an employee, they relocate a well-prepared employee who will be ready to hit the ground running once the relocation is complete. The employee is happy, his/her new co-workers are happy that their new peer speaks their language. Communication errors are less of a risk and productivity can resume without too much culture shock when the employee is prepared for it ahead of time. Language training: it’s a win-win proposition.

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Topics: job relocation, language training, relocating employees, international relocation services, global mobility, global relocation

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