Can a relocation policy assist with talent management?

A good relocation policy doesn’t just give you consistency and efficiency with all your relocations throughout the year. When taking the right

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A good relocation policy doesn’t just give you consistency and efficiency with all your relocations throughout the year. When taking the right questions and goals into account, your company’s relocation policy can have a serious impact on your talent management goals. SHRM notes nearly one third of new hires decide to leave within the first six months, so making a strong first impression as they relocate is critical.

Industry best practice indicates it is good to review your relocation policy at least once a year, and the start of the year can be a good time to do so. Here are three questions you should ask yourself as you head into 2016:

  • Does your relocation policy encourage (or discourage) talent mobility? Between new technology and shifting generational preferences, more and more employees want – if not expect – to work in different cities (and countries) throughout their career. Having a relocation policy where employees believe they have an opportunity to grow and meet their personal career goals will help them remain invested in your company, as opposed to feeling like they need to look elsewhere. At the same time, be careful that they don’t treat your company as a free ride by leaving shortly after relocating. A repayment clause can easily address that.
  • Does the lump sum approach still make sense? To help curb administrative resources, many companies switched to a lump sum model during the recession. However, most let the pendulum swing too far that direction, and ultimately did little to actually manage their lump sum program. Relocating typically comes with some unexpected questions. Often these can be easily addressed, but most employees need assistance figuring them out, which can cause a considerable amount of stress if they feel alone in doing so. Better managing your lump sum program can help reduce that stress and can actually save your company in the long term if it positively impacts your retention rates.
  • Are you offering enough? Especially as the job market improves, entitlements (i.e., temporary housing, pre-decision trips, etc.) in a relocation policy can be the deciding factor for many candidates who’ve received multiple offers. Are there common exceptions transferees have requested that you should make a standard inclusion? Are you taking advantage of excludable vs. taxable expenses to maximize your relocation spend? The right answer to these questions will help ensure that your relocation offer puts you ahead of your competition. While the monetary value of the relocation package is important to evaluate, also ask yourself if your company is offering sufficient direct assistance to transferees. Giving employees all the support and answers they need during such a big life event can leave a lasting impact on them as they grow with your company.

Did any of these questions make you pause and think about your relocation policy? If so, it might be a good time to give it a review to make sure it isn’t hindering your overarching talent management goals. And don’t feel like you have to know how to answer all of these questions. Every company is different, and as such, there isn’t a one right answer. We’re happy to help figure out what works best for you and your company.