Annual research shows that flexibility and transferee support are keys to aÂ superior relocation experience.
By Debbie Bolla
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted theÂ global workforce, organizations had a clear focusÂ on cost containment and flexibility when it cameÂ to their relocation programs. Relocation remains aÂ main strategy for filling skills gaps and placing topÂ performers in the right locations to support theÂ business. With this in mind, organizations and HRÂ leaders are putting the transferee first when it comesÂ to the relocation experience.
The 2020 Atlas Corporate Relocation Survey looks atÂ demographic, geopolitical, and economic shifts toÂ understand the dynamics of the industry. This yearâsÂ research shows four different trends organizationsÂ should take into consideration when designing theirÂ programs.
1. Relocationâs volumes fluctuate depending on aÂ variety factors. Lack of qualified talent continuesÂ to be the main driver of relocation, as reported byÂ 41% respondents in this yearâs survey. Others includeÂ company growth, the economy, the real estate market,Â and political conditions. An analysis of these factorsÂ concludes that:
- The perceived impact of company growth fell notablyÂ from 39% to 28%.
- Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 28% of firmsÂ cited economic conditions as a factor in relocationÂ decisions.
- The uncertainty of Brexit still looms: 51% of midsizeÂ firms believe Brexit will increase administrativeÂ complexity in the U.K.
2. Flexibility takes center stage. Along with otherÂ areas of the business, relocation programs needÂ to be adaptable to meet the needs of transferees.Â Assignment types flexing their muscles include short-term/temporary assignments (61%), extended businessÂ travel (53%), and long distance commuter benefitsÂ (43%). The survey identified the most popular andÂ core components of a fixed/flex policy, including travelÂ expenses for a final move (53%), temporary housingÂ (51%), travel expenses for home finding trips (48%),Â and household goods shipping (47%).
3. Cost containment is top of mind. Even beforeÂ the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations ensuredÂ their relocation programs were as cost effective asÂ possible. The most popular approach, as reportedÂ by 40% of respondents, is using lump sum paymentsÂ for relocations. In fact, for the past eight years, theÂ survey shows that one in four relocations were lump-sumÂ payment only. Lump sums are often used forÂ travel expenses, miscellaneous expense allowances,Â household goods shipping/storage, and temporaryÂ housing.
4. Family remains a priority. Considerations for familyÂ and spouses/partners are the main reasons employeesÂ decline relocation opportunities. In fact, family wasÂ cited by 52% of respondents and 45% of respondentsÂ pointed to spouse/partner employment. In response,Â 66% of HR leaders report that their organizationsÂ provide assistance to spouses/partners in findingÂ employment. Providing networking assistance (37%)Â and resume review (35%) are also popular approaches.Â Interestingly, an estimated one in 10 relocations inÂ 2019 involved an employee in a caregiving role. So,Â itâs not surprising that a record 66% of organizationsÂ offer benefits for elder care. These strategies helpÂ organizations show their support for relocatingÂ employees.