HRO Today’s annual list of the top full-service, end-to-end relocation providers.
This is the fourth year of HRO Today’s annual list of the top 13 full-service relocation providers, and we expect this year’s Baker’s Dozen to cause some controversy.
Workforce mobility is still an area where companies need help. Employee retention is a major issue for businesses large and small. Maintaining a global talent pool takes work. From addressing real estate to language and cultural training, employers have their hands full. Full-service, relocation providers can help organizations navigate the complex process of relocation. With services that run the gamut from home sales to spousal and family support, outsourcing providers make the task of employee relocation a lot easier.
Today, there are many more providers in the field. We identified nearly 100 relocation providers, who were then narrowed down to only full-service vendors. In the end, we contacted approximately 22 of the largest relocation providers.
We surveyed the largest relocation providers, identified through research on databases such as Hoover’s and Dun & Bradstreet and relocation publications. The relocation providers were asked to provide not only their relocation numbers but also estimates of the number of relocations their competitors averaged. (The text below explains how that data was used to come up with our final list of top 13 providers).
Based on previous year’s responses, we’ve noticed a pattern in the ranking based on who providers consider their largest competitors and how those competitors measure up in terms of market presence. We will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows with the top five providers listed, but that is the beauty of the Baker’s Dozen—it gets people talking. The list is very similar to last year’s with the exception of two new providers. Keep reading to find out who they are.
While conducting our research, we noticed the prevalence of traditional moving companies’ involvement in relocation, which is a natural extension of the services they already offer.
We also surveyed the clients of these top relocation providers for their input on their provider’s best services, what to look for in a relocation provider, challenges facing HR executives in charge of relocation, and trends in the relocation market. We also asked the buyers what internal HR executives miss when they decided to relocate employees. The user feedback is included along with a case study from Philips Electronics, which benefitted greatly from standardizing, centralizing, and outsourcing relocation.
Ever year we try to bring our readers an even more comprehensive, accurate, and useful ranking of the top relocation provider. The fourth annual ranking of The Baker’s Dozen—Relocation is no different.
Methodology: This list was developed by contacting 22 of the largest relocation providers and requesting the following information: number of full-service relocations that they executed in 2005 and estimates on the number of full-service relocations their top competitors executed in 2005. For those companies that could provide us with accurate audits of their 2005 relocations (required for publicly traded companies under Sarbanes-Oxley), that number was the final number used in determining the rankings. For privately held companies that could not provide independent audits, we averaged the number they provided us with the overall average of their competitors’ estimates to determine a final number of employees relocated. We then compared their rank based on the average number of employees relocated with their rank based on their competitor’s estimates of market share. This enabled us to ensure that, although the final number of employees relocated may not be exact, the relocation company’s relative rankings within the list are. Although competitive estimates on number of relocations may have varied by several thousand, with the exception of one privately held company on the list for which not much data was available, the competitive rankings all reflect the final rankings in this list.
1. CENDANT MOBILITY (Cartus as of June 2006)
Last Years Rank: 1
Employees Transfered in 2005: 120,000
Cendant Mobility is the world leader of global mobility management and workforce development solutions serving the corporate, military, government, and affinity markets. Through its outsourcing, consulting, language and intercultural training, logistical support, and supplier management services, Cendant helps the mobile workforces of organizations of all sizes achieve success worldwide. Its “Total Mobility Solution” facilitates full outsourcing of both logistical and financial aspects of global mobility and offers tools that allow clients to capture total mobility-related costs. Backed by more than 50 years of experience, Cendant assisted more than 120,000 transferees, expatriate assignees, and affinity members last year.
Client(s): Cendant Mobility’s current clientele represents a broad spectrum of private and public sector (government) organizations, including nearly two-thirds of the Fortune 50 such as Raytheon, Dell, Microsoft, and Burger King.
Relocation Services: Mobility logistical support—including the provision of all relocation and assignment-related support; the evaluation, inspection, purchasing, and selling of a transferee’s home; home management services; assistance in locating a new home and closing on the sale of the old home; group move management services; arrangement of household goods moving services; and support for all aspects of moving a transferee’s household goods, including handling of insurance and claim assistance, invoice auditing, and quality control; host-country and settling-in services; property management; and immigration services.
Full outsourcing support—expense processing; relocation policy counseling; relocation-related accounting, including expatriate compensation administration; cost estimates; and ongoing assignment support.
Consulting services—policy consulting and design; workforce development; transition planning; and group moves.
Intercultural and Language Training—candidate assessment; cross-cultural training; repatriation integration; language training; global awareness seminars; and international business briefings.
Most Important Metric: Cendant employs a Six Sigma discipline to identify custom, critical-to-quality deliverables for each of its clients and to improve processes by eliminating defects. The benefits of Six Sigma for Cendant Mobility include improved understanding of our customers’ business objectives, enhanced efficiency, better decision making, and improved fiscal responsibility. Six Sigma results are driven by metrics that measure what is meaningful to clients and propel efforts that focus on process improvements.
2. UNIGROUP, INC.
Last Years Rank: Not Listed
Employees Transfered in 2005: 53,687
UniGroup, Inc. is the parent company of many of the best-known industry brands including United Van Lines, Mayflower Transit, UniGroup Worldwide UTS, and global specialists in relocation, move management, and logistics.
Relocation Services: Relocation of people, transportation of products, and management of projects.
Most Important Metric: N/A
3. PRUDENTIAL REAL ESTATE & RELOCATION SERVICES
Last Years Rank:2
Employees Transfered in 2005: 39,000
Prudential Relocation, a Prudential Financial business, has locations in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, France, Mexico, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, and China. Prudential Relocation has the global capabilities to offer clients a variety of products and services to assist with the relocation of their employees.
Relocation Services: At Your Service—provides U.S customers (as approved by the client) access to a personal assistant/concierge program for one year; Cost Accounting—streamlined tracking, reporting, and reimbursement of employee relocation expenses; Destination/Home Finding Assistance Services—in the U.S. and Canada partner with experienced real estate professionals to help relocating employees review areas, find properties to rent or buy, negotiate leases and purchases, or make temporary housing arrangements; global policy consulting and development; global workforce development; group move consulting; global transportation services; home sale assistance (Canada, U.K., U.S.); intercultural training; mortgage services (U.S.) policy counseling and program management; prudential home connections—services for employees not eligible for relocation benefits or who receiving lump sum allowances; rental assistance; S.M.A.R.T. sum—provides support for employees receiving lump sum allowances; spouse/partner assistance; technology—accounting system , online expense report submission, and web-based reporting enhancements; candidate assessment; compensation administration; cost projections; educational consulting; home management; language training; ongoing assignment support; tenancy management; visa/immigration services; repatriation/ reassignment; and temporary living.
International destination services include pre-assignment visit, home finding, settling-in/mentoring, comprehensive, and departure packages.
Most Important Metric: Client satisfaction rate of 96 percent, total relocating employee satisfaction rate of 95 percent, and international transferee satisfaction rate of 95 percent.
4 . SIRVA, Inc.
Last Years Rank:3
Employees Transfered in 2005: 30,000
SIRVA provides relocation solutions to a well-established and diverse customer base around the world. The company is a global provider that can handle all aspects of relocations end to end within its own network, including home purchase and home sale services, household goods moving, mortgage services and title insurance. SIRVA conducts more than 400,000 relocations per year, transferring corporate and government employees and moving individual consumers. The company operates in more than 40 countries with approximately 6,000 employees and an extensive network of agents and other service providers.
Client(s): Dell, 3M, Textron, CSX
Relocation Services: Program management consulting; pre-move services; destination services; moving services; mortgage
services; settlement service; and global services.
Most Important Metric: Client and transferee satisfaction, cost savings, and risk avoidance. Specifically for home sale, days on
market, list to sale price, and initiation volume.
5. PRIMACY RELOCATION
Last Years Rank:5
Employees Transfered in 2005: 22,861
Primacy Relocation is an employee relocation provider that focuses all of its technology and resources solely on relocation. The company administers programs for employers throughout the Americas, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific regions. In addition to its Memphis headquarters, Primacy serves its 324 clients through seven U.S. operations centers and offices in the U.K., Switzerland, Germany, France, Canada, and China. Last November, Primacy swept Trippel Survey & Research’s 4th Annual Relocation Managers Survey—placing first in all 24 categories of customer satisfaction.
Relocation Services: Domestic relocations and international assignments: corporate program—policy counseling, development and review, expense administration (includes audit/reimbursement), compensation/tax/payroll management, lump-sum debit Visa cards, group moves; Transportation—household goods move management and travel services; Destination—orientation, temporary living, home finding, rental assistance, school search, rental assistance, spousal assistance; Real Estate—home sales, home marketing, lease-breaking.
Domestic: mortgage assistance, cost-of-living adjustments, and intern relocation programs.
International: assignment-cost projections, expatriate candidate assessment, work authorization/visa management, benefit planning (for medical, dental, pension, Social Security), letter of assignment, cross-cultural training, host-country formalities, language lessons, departure services, property management, personal vehicle programs, storage management, and repatriation. GSA-certified
U.S. government services: home sale, destination services, employee services/counseling, move management, and overall agency-level program management/reporting
Most Important Metric: Customer satisfaction ratings from corporate clients and transferees. Primacy closely monitors, measures, and responds to satisfaction levels in both groups.
6 . WEICHART RELOCATION RESOURCE INC.
Last Years Rank:4
Employees Transfered in 2005: 22,125
Weichart Relocation Resource Inc. (WRRI) delivers turnkey relocation and international assignment management solutions to approximately 500 corporate clients. With its recent acquisition of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Global Mobility Solutions practice in the U.S., WRRI has emerged as a leading assignment management and expatriate administration service provider, capable of delivering clients the convenience of a true one-stop solution for virtually any global mobility need. A flexible, independently owned company, WRRI delivers services in more than 120 countries worldwide, with offices throughout the Americas, EMEA, and Asia Pacific.
Relocation Services: Assignment management, policy and tax consulting, cross-cultural and language training, cost-of-living
analysis, destination services, lump-sum and financial administration, gross-up processing, group move, home finding, home
marketing and home sale, household goods, mortgage services, payroll services, property management, rental assistance, repatriation, spouse career services, tax services, temporary living coordination, tenancy management, visa, and immigration.
Most Important Metric: Customer satisfaction and year-to-year client cost reduction top WRRI’s list. As a balanced scorecard company, WRRI measures performance at every level of its organization and offers clients on-line access to all cost, customer service, and employee status reports via FlashPoint, its web-based portal. WRRI is SAS 70 compliant, which offers objective verification that its internal systems, controls, and procedures are suitably designed to ensure accurate and timely processes. Also its Raving Fans customer service program provides WRRI employees with the tools to exceed customer expectations. Ninety-six percent of transferees expressed satisfaction with WRRI’s services, 70 percent declared themselves Raving Fans.
7. ROYAL LEPAGE RELOCATION SERVICES
Last Years Rank:6
Employees Transfered in 2005: 14,563
For more than 40 years, Royal LePage has offered industry-leading international global work mobility programs to corporations, government agencies, and individuals. In 2005, its 450 relocation professionals managed more than 14,000 relocations, 50,000 transferee services, and more than $1 billion in client relocation expenses. It offers a full range of global mobility services to support its customers and their employees’ relocation efforts. These services are divided into six distinct lines, including: corporate, government, assignment, consulting, financial, and individual. Each one is structured to uniquely meet the needs of each specific group. Royal LePage’s mission is to make the relocating employee’s transition as easy as possible so that they can assume their new responsibilities as quickly as possible, while driving value to the corporate customer by delivering efficiencies and excellent customer service
Relocation Services: Expense management; guaranteed home sale; international services; policy consulting; lease management; legal services; lump sum management; marketing assistance; marketing management; move management; property management; relocation purchase card; temporary accommodations; visa and immigration services.
Destination services—home search, purchase assistance, coaching services, cross cultural services, elder care services, rental search services, school search services; and settling-in services. Benchmarking studies—comparable homeowner and rental studies, cost of living study, market differential study; and financial services reporting. Rental subsidy program, mortgage penalty program, mortgage penalty savings program, mortgage subsidy program, mortgage rate buy-down program.
Most Important Metric: Client satisfaction, transferee satisfaction, client retention, supplier performance, and efficiencies to client.
8. GMAC GLOBAL RELOCATION SERVICES
Last Years Rank:7
Employees Transfered in 2005: 14,247
GMAC Global Relocation Services (GMAC GRS) is recognized as a leader in client satisfaction for end-to-end employee relocation, assignment management, and mobility consulting services for multinational organizations worldwide. GMAC GRS is a premier service company for corporations in more than 110 countries and managing nearly $1billion in relocation-related transactions for clients. With the broad resources of GMAC Financial Services behind the relocation division, GMAC GRS offers a combination of business-to-business services.
Relocation Services: Domestic and international relocation and assignment administration, policy consulting and development merger and acquisition relocation planning, group move management, supplier selection, and management affinity programs.
Most Important Metric: Client retention and client satisfaction are both 100 percent.
9. HEWITT RELOCATION SERVICES
Last Years Rank:10
Employees Transfered in 2005: 12,900
Hewitt Associates is a global human resources outsourcing company delivering a complete range of human capital management services to companies, including HR outsourcing, mobility services, payroll and benefits outsourcing, healthcare, retirement and financial management, recruiting, and talent and organizational change management. Hewitt provides fully outsourced mobility services to more than 10,000 transferees and assignees, including global assignments and U.S. domestic relocation for 150 corporate clients annually.
Services: Domestic relocation services—administration of client domestic relocation policies and programs; relocation cost estimating and budgeting; employee policy counseling; lump-sum administration; temporary lodging coordination; household goods move management; home sale services; home finding/rental finding assistance; area familiarization tours; travel coordination; spouse/partner career assistance services; and relocation expense management and reporting.
International relocation services—assignment planning and initiation; administration of international assignment services policies and programs; assignment planning services; visa, immigration, and work permit coordination; employee counseling; assignment initiation services; household goods forwarding; shipment and long-term storage management; home country property management services; host country tenancy management services; on-assignment services; assignment repatriation services; and assignment expense management and reporting.
Most Important Metric: Measurement of service, cost savings, and program elements such as: transferee and client satisfaction levels; timeliness, responsiveness, and professional abilities of Hewitt mobility staff; relocation cost analysis; accuracy and timeliness of relocation and assignment; expense administration; invoicing and reporting; departure service cost components; continuous cost improvement; program spend; financial payment; and invoicing accuracy.
10. ALTAIR GLOBAL RELOCATION (Formerly Americorp Global Relocation)
Last Years Rank:8
Employees Transfered in 2005: 12,138
Companies on the move are turning to Altair for strategic solutions. Whether you are outsourcing your employee relocation program for the first time or planning multiple group moves, Altair is an experienced partner with a proven track record of cost and service performance. Its success combining strategic direction and values results in exceptional performance in every business environment, making Altair a relocation solutions leader. Altair offers unique advantages in important areas: business to business services, quality assurance, accountability, technology, independence, and diversity spending
Client(s): America Online, AT&T, Blockbuster Inc., BMW North America, Centex Corporation, Cingular Wireless, Energizer, Gateway, the Gillette Company, Hormel Foods, Neiman Marcus, Sara Lee, Saks Incorporated, Starbucks Coffee Company, and Washington Mutual
Services: Departure services—policy counseling, candidate selection, assignment-cost estimates, country reports, cost-of-living calculations, visa and permit procurement, tax and social security briefings, home sale, property management, inventory management, lease cancellation.
Destination Services—home search, leasing assistance, host-country destination services, mortgage and financial services, spousal career assistance, language training, cultural training, benefit payments, dependent care.
Logistic Services—household move management, travel management, temporary living expense reimbursement, pet transportation.
Administrative Services—policy benchmarking & design; benefit payments, expense tracking and reporting, equity advance, tax assistance, year end reporting, management reports, group move consulting and management, quality monitoring and reporting, supplier management and reporting, diversity initiatives and reporting, recruiting support, assignment management;
Client Solutions Center—customized consulting services, new client implementations, proactive policy benchmarking, original industry research, business location decision and event services.
Most Important Metric: Altair utilizes the SERVQUAL model to measure perceptions in five areas of service quality: tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. Quality assurance is tracked and reported to senior management and the client. Training needs and opportunities for process refinements are identified and implemented. Continuous satisfaction monitoring. The client relations department and operations managers maintain a regular dialogue with the client to identify strengths and weaknesses.
Last Years Rank:9
Employees Transfered in 2005: 10,821
TheMIGroup, a private management-owned company, has offices located throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. It manages a full range of domestic and international relocation programs on a global basis. Its only business function is relocation. TheMIGroup dos not participate in any other industry. Founded in 1978, The company began as an international moving specialist. Over time other elements of international relocation were added to its service portfolio to meet the changing needs of the relocation industry. In 1998, it expanded into the U.K. and in 2000 acquired an established domestic relocation company. In 2003, TheMIGroup launched an office in Hong Kong.
Relocation Services: Domestic Services: real estate assistance; home marketing assistance—appraised value and amended value option, buyer value option, home sale, equity advances, and closing; inventory management; home finding services—buyer assistance, renter assistance, temporary accommodation, property management, household moving management.
Global Services: global assignment management; assignment preview trips; visa and immigration; temporary accommodation.
Destination Services: community orientation; home finding; school search assistance; local government compliance; cultural orientation and training; language training; household moving management; risk management and insurance products; assignment expense support and management; repatriation services; and automobile and credit card assistance.
Ongoing Transferee/Expatriate Support: expense management and assignment payment support; expense tracking, auditing, reporting; property management; vacant residence insurance; storage of left behind household goods.
Consulting Services: policy review and development; international candidate assessment; cost-of-living allowance adjustments; spouse/partner consulting; security information and training programs; and overseas medical and emergency data/programs.
Most Important Metric: Customer satisfaction and staff turnover—the Nobody’s Perfect Survey is the mechanism to measure and record transferring employee feedback. Any feedback form that includes critical comments or carries a response to any question that is less than good or carries an overall performance score of less than 70 percent is considered a complaint. Every complaint is investigated by the quality assurance department, and corrective action is taken. For the past three years TheMIGroup has scored 94 percent or better customer satisfaction rating from clients and their relocating employees.
12. PARAGON RELOCATION RESOURCES
Last Years Rank:11
Employees Transfered in 2005: 7,893
Paragon has assisted more than 100,000 families with domestic and international relocation services and continues to service Fortune 1000 clients in a variety of industries, while maintaining a network of leading supplier partnerships in 140 countries. Paragon strives to be the premier partner of choice in the global mobility industry by providing innovative programs, value-added support, superior customer service, and thought leadership to its clients and the customers it serves.
Relocation Services: Domestic Services: recruitment support services; short-term assignment coordination; relocation benefits counseling; expense audit; processing, payment and reporting; home marketing assistance; home sale services; property management services; home-finding services; mortgage services; rental assistance; temporary accommodation services; transportation of household goods and coordination; employee and family transition and spousal assistance; travel management; tax employee assistance program.
International Services: global-move cost analysis; global assignment policy counseling and administration; visa and immigration coordination; expense audit; processing, payment and reporting; home sale services; property management services; worldwide home-finding and settling-in services; language and cross-cultural training; shipment or storage of household goods; dual career assistance; international banking services; security services; global employee assistance program; travel management.
Global Assignment Service at Post: ongoing policy counseling; expense processing; tracking, reporting and payment in all convertible currencies; information resource services; supplier and ongoing assignment payments; schooling assistance; compensation administration; visa renewals; home leave coordination; emergency evacuation coordination.
Group Move Consulting Services: organization reengineering; group move planning; employee demographic study; group move relocation program development; commute program for short distance moves; communications development and coordination; orientation programs; area tours; destination services; group-move employee relocation management services; business continuity planning; facility move management program.
Most Important Metric: Expense processing time, household goods claims rates (on-time delivery rates, insurance claim ratios), direct home sale costs, overall service customer, and client service ratings.
13 . GRAEBEL RELOCATION
Last Years Rank:Not Listed
Employees Transfered in 2005: 7,267
More than 50 years ago, Graebel set out to consistently deliver stress-free relocation experiences for its customers. Today, Graebel is a world-renowned relocation leader—a privately owned, fully integrated relocation company. The organization provides single- source accountability because it owns and manages its full-service relocation division and autonomous move management company supported by an international forwarding operation—U.S. van line—and nationwide U.S. moving and storage service centers. This industry-unique, wholly owned and managed infrastructure delivers outstanding results.
Relocation Services: Policy development, consulting, and program m