CapRelo Blog

Strike an Ideal Balance Between High-Tech & High-Touch Relocations

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Nov 01, 2018

Golden scales isolated over a white backgroundOrganizations should seek out external mobility management partners that offer balanced services, incorporating both smart technology and human touch. Companies and their employees need web-based tools capable of facilitating back-end information management and accounting processes and tracking progress; however, in the event that challenges unfold, more traditional customer service support will allow for the employer and the employee (or even his/her spouse/partner) to contact an experienced professional for assistance.

This balanced approach provides a channel for employees to perform tasks like filing receipts, while also providing access to human representatives who can provide practical, empathetic advice during distressing situations.

MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE

Mobility management services that balance technology and human touch outperform software-only methods, giving both organizations and their employees the power to best manage administrative activities and address unexpected challenges. For businesses that want to make their mobility programs more effective and budget-friendly, selecting the right partner is key. Not every mobility management company—even those that purportedly offer balanced options—can offer cutting-edge technology and high-quality customer service.

When researching potential partners, companies should look for experienced, knowledgeable firms who offer secure technology that is easy to use and understand and easily accessible, for both the employer and relocating employees. In addition to technology tools necessary to facilitate a successful relocation, close attention should be paid to the company’s human-touch customer service options, including a designated point of contact and after-hours availability to address emergency situations.

Balancing High-Tech & High-Touch Relocations

Topics: mobility technology, relocation technology, global mobility management, relocation counselors

Incorporate Technology & Human Touch in Your Global Mobility Program

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Oct 18, 2018

Modern communication technology illustration with mobile phone and high tech background

According to research from the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 22 million Americans relocated in 2017. It is likely many of them leveraged some form of relocation technology to manage their respective moves. After all, mobile users downloaded more than 175 billion mobile applications globally in 2017 to help manage their everyday activities, according to App Annie. This collective zeal for technological convenience has affected how people manage their relocation activities.

While relocation apps and portals ease and expedite some parts of the relocation process, they are not all-encompassing: There are variables that even the most advanced technology cannot address, including the emotional upheaval that occurs when relocation becomes reality.

For this reason, it is important for businesses that manage employee relocation and assignment activities to partner with mobility management providers that take a measured approach wherein technology and personal interaction are both available when needed. This sort of balance increases employee comfort and allows the company to deal more effectively with the unexpected hiccups that inevitably unfold during corporate-sponsored moves.

The Danger of Standalone Technology

Mobile applications and other technology solutions have transformed how people perform common tasks. Often, these tools streamline once time-consuming activities through automated features. Additionally, these features can make it easier for multiple business units involved with employee relocations to keep track of progress and monitor costs. A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study showed that 60 percent of corporate leaders believed online resources would drastically improve existing company relocation strategies. Improving relocation strategies, however, is far different from improving the total relocation experience, including dealing with relocating employees, external vendors and mobility management providers. This is where technology alone can fall short of a balanced approach.

In addition to moving information between the appropriate parties and tracking expenses, businesses must be prepared to address complications that software simply cannot. For example, a technology-only solution will not help relieve the anxiety a relocating employee might feel when faced with managing all of the tasks associated with moving the family and household to a new city. In these moments, human support is critical. Relocation technology solutions, while helpful, offer little aid in such situations. To effectively manage these scenarios, a company must rely on experience, knowledge and empathy. Just one negative relocation experience can make talent less likely to accept an assignment or transfer offer, whether they were directly involved or if they heard about it “through the grapevine.”

Balancing High-Tech & High-Touch Relocations

Topics: relocation technology, mobility technology, relocation counselors, global mobility management, mobility management

5 Important Topics to Include in a Global Assignment Letter of Understanding

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Jul 19, 2018

Image of businessman at airport looking at airplane taking offOne way to help ensure global assignment success is to prepare an effective global assignment letter of understanding that outlines the pertinent details and benefits of the assignment in a way that leaves no room for misinterpretation. 

After your letter of understanding addresses specific information regarding the scope of the assignment, you can delve into the specifics of your global mobility policy and explain the benefits the employee will receive.

Explain Your Global Mobility Policy

Your letter should summarize the portions of your global mobility policy that are applicable to the employee. Among the issues your policy addresses, it is important to include information on the five topics below because they are:

  • The most costly components of an assignment or transfer and
  • Usually the greatest stressors to an employee, which can cause reduced productivity.

Relocation Expenses

When writing the letter, review your policies to determine what is relevant to the particular employee. While it’s not recommended to copy your policy verbatim into the letter, you should summarize:

  • Specific expenses and the amounts the company pays for directly.
  • Types of expenses that can be reimbursed, along with any limits. Note whether the employee is required to document each expense, should submit a consolidated summary or will be given a lump sum amount for miscellaneous expenses.
  • The ongoing allowances for specific benefits.
  • Expenses the employee is responsible for paying.
  • Repayment agreement terms.

Moving Household Goods

Household goods shipments can be a significant part of your overall global relocation expense. The moving cost can vary widely depending upon whether the employee is relocating permanently or will be on assignment for a set length of time, the distance between the current and destination locations and the family size.

Global movement of household goods will typically include sea and air shipments and long-term storage. The letter of understanding should be clear on what is covered. Typical benefits include a 20-foot or 40-foot container and 500 pounds for an air shipment. Long-term storage is generally only provided for those on assignment, and for the length of the assignment.

The cost of storage and valuation coverage for household goods must also be considered. Your letter should specify the amount the company will pay for household goods transport, storage and valuation along with any limitations or restrictions.

Tax Implications and Assistance

Taxes Concept on File Label in Multicolor Card Index. Closeup View. Selective Focus.Global assignments and relocation can have significant tax implications. The letter of understanding should outline the assistance provided, which may include a pre-assignment/relocation orientation with a third-party tax provider, tax return preparation assistance and tax equalization. It should also include details on the employee’s and the company’s responsibilities. The company’s tax provider may also suggest including a tax equalization addendum that outlines the company’s policy to be signed by the employee.

Immigration

The letter of understanding should emphasize the importance of compliance with global immigration laws and should outline the assistance provided by the immigration partner or department. The employee’s responsibilities to provide accurate and timely information and to follow all instructions regarding travel limitations of the host country should be clearly documented. The assignment or relocation cannot begin until required immigration documents are obtained.

Housing and Settling In Assistance

Getting your employee and their family settled into a new residence is crucial because it helps them to return to full productivity quickly. Each employee is unique. Some may need temporary housing while they search for a new residence. Your letter should reflect the level of assistance the company provides.

  • Temporary Housing: Summarize what provisions the company makes for temporary living and for how long.
  • Home Finding Travel: Summarize the assistance the company provides, such as home finding trips. Include the number of trips allowed, the expenses covered and the family members approved.
  • Destination Services: Summarize the services the company provides, which might include home finding assistance, orientation to the new area, contacts with local schools, colleges, medical facilities, etc.
  • Long-Term Housing (Assignments Only): Summarize the housing assistance provided, including monthly housing allowance based on family size and location, method of payment, utilities included and employee responsibilities for maintenance and upkeep.

Ideally, your letter of understanding should focus on the employee and the benefits of the new role while creating a positive impression and enthusiasm for the new opportunity. Make sure to outline the expectations and responsibilities in the new role to avoid any possible misunderstanding. Explain and summarize the relevant points from your global mobility policy, paying particular attention to the five topics discussed above.

Writing an International Letter of Understanding

Topics: global mobility, global assignments, global mobility management, letter of understanding, global mobility policy

Best practices for Writing a Global Assignment Letter Of Understanding

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Jul 12, 2018

reeditor-2015-singapore-flying-high-for-global-mobility_3566Relocating globally or going on an assignment for a job is considered a major life event because it often requires an employee selling a home before moving the family to a new country and changing many of their typical routines. Your employee letter of understanding must cover a number of important topics, but without increasing your employee's anxiety.

A letter of understanding outlines the details and benefits of the assignment. This legally binding document basically serves as an addendum to the employee’s regular employment contract and lays out any varying or additional terms that apply for the duration of the assignment. As such, it must be signed by all parties. In addition to the assignment start and end date, job title and location, the letter of assignment must specify all contractual agreements, code of conduct, compensation and benefits, assignment-specific benefits such as moving expenses and repatriation allowance, tax equalization and other fiscal matters.

It’s important that the letter of understanding lay out all pertinent details of an assignment in a way that leaves no room for misinterpretation. Any lack of clarity could lead to misunderstanding, which in turn could lead to costly and time-consuming problems. This can be a drain on resources, and it can create a distraction for the employee and impact the success of the assignment.

The key to drafting effective letters of understanding begins with knowing your employees and focusing on them and their families. You can find sample templates on the internet to help you draft a letter of understanding, but unfortunately, many of them begin something like this:

Dear Mr. Jones,

This letter is to inform you that you will be transferred effective [date] to our location in...

Considering the upheaval a relocation will cause in your employee's life, this approach is rather abrupt. Here are some best practices to help you write an effective letter of understanding.

Discuss the Global Relocation or Assignment First

team of successful business people having a meeting in executive sunlit officeYour company has made the decision to relocate or send an employee on assignment to benefit the organization in some way. You may need to add talent to a business unit in another city, or to reduce it at the employee’s current location. You may want to move a manager to provide new leadership in another territory. You may even want to give a high-potential employee broader experience as part of a career development plan. No matter the reason, be sure you or the appropriate manager(s) discuss those reasons with the employee long before you write the letter.

Having a detailed discussion provides an opportunity to create enthusiasm about a new role by:

  • Increasing the likelihood of an accepted offer.
  • Providing a platform to discuss your global mobility policy and company-provided financial assistance.
  • Clarifying the specific skill-building and learning opportunities available in the new role.
  • Showing that the company values the employee and wants to make an investment in his or her future.
  • Demonstrating that the employee is important to the growth of the business.

Holding a preliminary discussion shows respect for the employee and allows you to craft a letter tailored to that individual. In turn, you’re more likely to increase loyalty and productivity — and reduce the chance of a relocation offer being declined.

Outline the New Role

Your employee’s job title and responsibilities may remain the same in the new location. If that is the case, make sure the transfer letter of understanding includes the name of the person to whom the employee will report and the duration of the transfer or assignment. For employees taking on new responsibilities, you’ll also want to include the following:

  • The employee's new job title or position.
  • A description of any increased benefits, salary or bonuses.

Similar in some ways to an employment offer letter to a prospective new employee, this portion of the letter of understanding focuses on the specifics of the new role. It documents the job title, salary and related matters to eliminate misunderstandings later. The letter should be dated and signed by the appropriate manager, and be sure the letter contains:

  • The employee's full name and current home address.
  • Department names — both the current department and the new destination department.
  • The effective date the employee should report to the new location.
  • The anticipated end date in the case of an assignment.
  • The name of the employee's new supervisor.
  • The date by which the individual relocation and assignment benefits must be used.

After you proved this pertinent information, you can delve into the specifics of your company's global mobility policy and explain the benefits the employee will receive. Check back next week to learn about the five most important topics to include in your global assignment employee letter of understanding.

Writing an International Letter of Understanding

Topics: global assignments, global mobility management, letter of understanding, global mobility

Streamline Global Mobility Success: Increase Efficiency and Lessen Risk

Posted by Amy Mergler on Mon, Jul 02, 2018

Process Optimization on the Mechanism of Metal Gears.All successful endeavors are the result of an efficient operation or organization. Coherence, order and precision oil the wheels of process and reveal the value of efficiency. A company with high organizational capacity is one that can deliver. This is especially true for global mobility management.

When you engage with a successful mobility management firm, you reap the benefits of solution-based practices, better focus and a strong and vetted support network. Outsourcing your mobility management services takes the heavy lifting off of your hands so you can spend time and resources on the big picture: continuing your company's success. Ultimately, handing over the reins to a trusted and seasoned mobility company provides faster decision-making capabilities, quicker response times and a significantly reduced exposure to the risks involved in this process. 

A professional and experienced global mobility management company streamlines all internal business processes and becomes your number one resource for a smooth transition.

Efficiency Matters

Citing research that close to 50% of employees are still under the impression that global mobility management services are intended merely for supporting those relocating, HRO Today reported that providing strategic and expert advice to company leaders and stakeholders should now be an expectation in the industry. Rather than waste time and resources on an overly bureaucratic and complex system, you want a mobility management company that gets things done in a smart, fast and practical manner. You also want a provider that can deliver on tactical analysis benefiting your company's business decisions, talent acquisition and bottom line.

Consider the benefits your company can gain by working with a reputable global mobility management company:

1. Response Time

Working with a global mobility management company that understands your organization and its specific needs fosters a trusted partnership. The opportunity to build a relationship with a seasoned single point of contact who identifies with your company's unique strategies can really set a mobility company apart from the competition. Having that single point of contact is not just beneficial for human resources and company leaders, but for the relocating employee as well.

2. Streamlined Solutions

When you're in the midst of a relocation, there can be a lot of moving pieces and important milestones. Regardless of what you're managing, you need a digital solution that offers quick, easy and seamless access to all of your information in one place. It is essential to have data for suppliers and orders, taxes and payroll, and policies and process controls under one roof to manage relocations efficiently. Furthermore, when integrating sensitive data, it is also imperative to ensure the protection of the company and your employees.

A streamlined solution can help automate tasks and processes while keeping your company on track to reach financial goals, deadlines and business objectives.

3. Alignment with Business Strategy

As detailed by Deloitte in its "Global Business Driven HR Transformation" report, global mobility management solutions are no longer effective as a one-size-fits-all formula. Instead, a carefully crafted plan specifically tailored to your business needs is essential to achieve your goals and bolster talent development, helping to ensure success before, during and after the relocation. When a global mobility management company is efficient in its operations, companies can benefit from the focus on unique strategies and goals, as well as most cost-effectively utilizing existing talent.

Global mobility management companies capable of delivering knowledgeable and seasoned guidance to your organization are crucial in matching business and talent development, according to Deloitte's findings. Proper guidance ensures that relocations and assignments are based on insightful research and planning, sending the right employees on the right endeavors.

According to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), talent management ranks as the number one worry among most companies. The data highlights the need for a global mobility management company to work successfully in tandem with an organization's existing talent management program. This supplements the current initiatives to boost productivity and drive competition.

4. Reduced Risk

Rather than trying to navigate compliance, legalities and the fine print on your own, work with the expert itself: a global mobility management company. Collaborating with a group of experienced professionals that will dive right in and get the job done not only increases efficiency, but lowers risk as well.

According to calculations from FIDI (the largest global alliance of professional international moving and relocation companies), failed overseas assignments are not uncommon and they can result in costly financial burdens of up to US $400,000. When you include airfare, salary and bonuses, school tuition, housing costs, transportation needs, visa fees, ancillary charges and the taxes associated with these reimbursements, mobility is an expensive investment for any company to make. To help secure a return on this investment, it's imperative to partner with an experienced, trusted and efficient global mobility management company.

Leaning on the expertise of a global mobility management company can make a positive difference in the moving and adjustment period for employees. As Deloitte explains, professional services and resources that help employees and their families during a relocation are much more likely to reduce the risk of failed assignments.

 

When you want your company's business to continue full steam ahead during a relocation, engaging with an efficient global mobility management company can help deliver ideal response times, streamlined solutions, alignment with your business strategy and reduced risk. When you choose the right mobility management partner, you can be confident your business will meet or surpass its goals.

Streamline Success

Topics: global mobility, mobility management company, mobility management, global mobility management, global mobility management company

New Call-to-action

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all