Published on February 18, 2014

A corporate relocation policy that worked wonderfully in the 1990s may be woefully inadequate and/or costly in the second decade of the 2000s. Staying true to your company’s mission is important, but staying competitive and cost-controlled is equally vital.


When Is It Time to Restructure

You will get indicators when to consider restructuring your corporate relocation policy. Take heed of these signs.

  • More potential transferees are turning down lucrative relocation assignments.
  • Some candidates are rejecting seemingly competitive hiring offers, choosing to accept job offers from your competition.
  • Senior management and/or Finance Department leaders are voicing displeasure with the high cost of relocating employees.
  • Numerous exceptions to policy requested and granted. This signals something may be lacking in your policy.

While these are not “hard” indications it is time to restructure, these are signs you should, at least, consider the prospect of modifying your relocation policy. Analyze your current package and identify some potential weaknesses. Sometimes, simply asking your current employees how they view your relocation program will give you the answers you need to initiate a restructure.

Tips for Successful Restructures

  • Know your competition intimately.
    Always a winning strategy, regardless of the issue, you must thoroughly understand the relocation features your competition offers. If your current policy contains serious deficiencies, when compared to the competition, you need to address—and eliminate—the perception that your package is lacking. If possible, learn what transferees consider most important about your plan and other packages. Look to conduct a benchmark study of industry relocation policies.

  • Commit to keeping popular components.
    Unless popular features are impossible to maintain for cost reasons, do not eliminate the most desired benefits. If necessary, you can modify the most popular features to add cost control, such as capping reimbursement amounts, without eliminating the most wanted benefits.

  • Create flexibility in lieu of “hard, inviolate” policy language.
    Just as single-tier relocation programs sometimes cause competitive problems, inflexible policy terms accomplish the same negative goal. Inflexibility leaves HR only two options:

    • Enforce your policy language for everyone, regardless of the circumstances or transferee authority level; or
    • Use policy exceptions for unique employee and family needs. This addresses individual concerns while adhering to policy guidelines.
  • When needed, add more benefits—with sufficient cost controls and clear language.
    Use language that clearly explains the benefits, stating the cost management policies with equal clarity. Do not invest time, effort and money to restructure your relocation policy to make it more competitive and affordable to your company without removing language that helps eliminate confusion and misunderstanding. Add the benefits you need and control their cost with precise, simple English that generates understanding, not confusion.

The seemingly ever-changing face of business requires you to stay up-do-date with competitive policies. When your company hopes to attract—and retain—the best talent available, restructuring your corporate relocation policy may be upon you.

Use these tips as a supplementary checklist for your evaluation of benefits, cost control caps and language clarity. Reviewing your relocation policy at regular intervals may help keep your restructuring efforts to “tweaking” your package instead of a lengthy update or complex rewrite.

Free eBook:  A Guide to Developing  Relocation Policies