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Is it Time to Outsource Your Relocation Program

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The decision to outsource relocation services comes up for every company, once they begin to consider the time and energy they are spending doing a fire drill each time a move is authorized.   For small to mid-size relocation programs, a need might arise in order to free up limited internal resources. For larger companies with robust programs, the company may need access to a wider range of suppliers. There is a wide spectrum of considerations in deciding to outsource relocation services.  Outsourcing provides organizations with access to expertise, tools and resources they might not otherwise have. Outsourcing enables these companies to reduce costs and maximize their focus on other day to day business operations.

Initially, outsourcing a relocation program focused around the need to properly handle global assignments and compliant home sale programs, such as the Guaranteed Buy-Out (GBO), Amended Value Sale (AVS) and the Buyer Value Option (BVO).  In order to attract and retain company talent, relocation programs grew and became more sophisticated.  Additionally, employer’s HR departments found themselves strained and too short staffed to manage all the added soft services.   So, in the selection of a Relocation Management Company (RMC), it became more imperative to find a good cultural fit; a service partner that was more than just a processor.  They needed a company that would now address the personal challenges of the transferee and their family, in a manner consistent with their internal corporate culture.

 

The determination to keep a relocation program in-house verses outsourcing it, rests on a number of factors:

 

Scope of the Benefits

Right off the bat, if you are relocating 3-5 people, utilizing a lump sum program, it may be a little premature to hand the program off.  The cost that the RMC must recoup in setting up and administering a new program would be too great to absorb and cost prohibitive for the company to cover in fees.  A cost analysis needs to be conducted to justify RMC fees or any sub-vendor mark-ups.  The time to identify and vet service resources should also be considered in this process.

 

The Sophistication of Your Program

With the new 2018 Tax laws in place, the costs of mobility are increasing for corporations, due to many of the relocation related expenses no longer being excludable from taxation.  While there may be some appeal to moving away from a managed benefit program, opting for a lump sum solution, you must first take a close look at the objectives of your program and the competitive nature of the work environment for your employee talent.

When the lump sum program was conceived, it was traditionally provided to recent college grads or internal self-requested moves.  Today, if you are considering replacing a fully managed program with an arbitrary sum of money, you are likely adding back in inefficiency, productivity distraction, confusion, inequity and in many instances unnecessary stress for your transferee.  If you are in a competitive environment for talent, need your transferee immediately productive and undistracted, or, need to make the most bang for a buck, an outsourced program maybe for you.

 

The Strength of Your Current Staff and Service Partnerships to Meet Your Needs

For some companies, in managing their program in-house, there are typically, one or two experienced HR administrators with detailed knowledge of each move, the internal procedures, and the preferred company vendors.  As long as they are there and managing the program, all moves well.  But, what happens when they move on?  Typically, these programs are shifted every three to four years.  And, when they do, all the efficiency that was built and the understanding behind vendor selection, costs and exceptions are lost and need to be relearned.  It’s always in the company’s best interest to make sure that the skills and knowledge of the Mobility Administrator and/or staff is not “lost.”

 

Faith in Your Service Provider

As Steven Covey said, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

If you are considering outsourcing your relocation services, one of the first priorities is to establish a communications plan, with pre-defined expectations. The lines of communications should be defined for key internal stakeholders including senior management, finance, Payroll, IT and legal departments should be a priority. Likewise, communications to employees via policies and other communications should also be arranged.

 

Ultimately, if companies come to the conclusion that from a financial and servicing stand point, that outsourcing relocation is warranted, the process of defining internal and outsourced roles may not be as daunting as it seems. If structured properly, with open lines of communications and accessible documentation, an outsourced program can be more effective, cost contained and responsive to your employee needs, without leaving you with that “loss of control” perceptions that might be keeping you from making the move.

Have you recently outsourced your relocation services program, or are you considering doing so?  Let us know your thought process.

Time to Take a Close Look at Your Data Privacy

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The General Data Protection Regulation also known as “GDPR” adopted in April 2016 and enforceable starting on May 25, 2018, is quite possibly the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years. So, what is this new regulation and how does it affect us?

 

The  GDPR is a European Union (EU) regulation  addressing data protection and privacy for personal information traveling in or through the EU.   In other words, this doesn’t only apply to organizations located in the EU, but all who transmit data from or to the EU. The GDPR aims primarily to give control to citizens and residents over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU. The GDPR considers personal information to include any information about a real person, such as name, address, phone, email, websites, photos, medical information, birthdates, etc.

 

To be compliant, organizations need to provide evidence that personal data will not be shared with outside entities without the person’s consent.  Additionally, the individual must have the ability to opt-out of data sharing and be provided with free and accessible dispute resolution, from an independent recourse mechanism, should they feel their information is being shared unnecessarily and without their consent.

 

The GDPR also helps companies like XONEX provide our clients and their transferees with peace of mind that their data will remain safe in our hands.  As the concerns over privacy continue to grow, we anticipate more locations to require such assurances and remedies.  Therefore, we should be prepared to manage all data with the same scrutiny.  The GDPR compliance process is actually an excellent exercise to understand exactly what information is truly essential to assist your transferees or assignees, whether it is subject to the regulation or not.

 

The GDPR is backed up with stiff penalties for non-compliance. So, organizations committed to compliance must stay vigilant in their responsibilities.  Organizations found in breach of GDPR can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million (whichever is greater).

 

As this extremely important regulation is about to come to fruition, it’s time to understand what steps should be taken.   Ask your relocation management company to provide you with an overview of the steps they are taking to ensure compliance.

 

Do you have any questions or concerns about the GDPR? If so feel free to contact your Chief Data Privacy Officer or your Relocation Management Company to determine next steps. As always XONEX is happy to review the steps we are taking to ensure compliance with you and help you understand this very important new regulation.

Group Move Considerations

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Strategic Planning for Group Moves

 

Group moves, whether they be for an entire office relocation, specific departments or other strategic reasons, are an enormous undertaking for any organization. The success or failure of the group move can have significant impact on the organization’s financial strength and operational efficiencies. Moving employees with minimal disruption and reaching retention goals are two key indicators of a successful group move.

To ensure the best planning approach to Group Moves, here are some key recommendations:

Executive Consensus

It is key to understand the decisions behind the Group Move and the objectives for the exercise. HR needs to have a full understanding of the various reasons, as there could be multiple, for the Group Move. The company might be seeking reductions in labor or facility costs or perhaps an opportunity to relocate the company to a more desirable market. Confirming the most important strategic goals will help define the policies and procedures for the Group Move.

Communications

The most important aspects of planning a group move is communications and time to manage the process properly. As early as possible, organization’s needs to identify the operational departments or personnel who will be relocated. Although not all the details will be available early on, it is critical to communicate the events and opportunity to the group as soon as possible. It is also important to educate and train managers about the group move before any communications so they are prepared to speak with their personnel. Finally, an organization should also have a communications plan in place for those personnel who are not participating in the group move to offset any concerns or fears during the initial announcements.

Group Move Mobility Policy

Group Move policies are not simply a package of existing relocation policies that are used for individual relocation. New policies must be developed to address the specific goals of the group move. Before creating policies, a company can gain insight into the employees’ perspectives through surveys to help identify specific needs or concerns and develop appropriate policy support. This information coupled with confirmed corporate objectives can be a foundation for building group move policies.

The most critical aspect of group move planning is having enough time to properly manage the exercise. Although these three areas are the foundation of strong group planning, there are numerous operational and communications steps needed within a fully-developed strategic plan. Projecting and managing costs, addressing the remaining workforce, managing supply chain partners and continued communications are all part of the multi-functional approach. As companies consider the objectives and challenges of a group move, developing a realistic timeline in the strategic framework will set the tone and likely success of the group move.

 

Tell us about your group move experiences.

 

 

 

Spring is Coming!!!

The Spring Market is Coming!

In years past, we have written blogs about Spring cleaning and preparing homes for a brisker housing market.  This year, all signs are pointing to a stronger market than in the past several, with more options for a more motivated set of buyers.

 

The whys:

Fewer Under Water Sellers:  As the housing market improves the number of people owing more on their home than its current value is decreasing.  According to CNBC, Americans today have three trillion dollars more equity than they did when the market last bottomed out in 2012.  People are no longer trapped in a home that they cannot sell without bringing money to the closing.

Housing Starts Are Sporadic: As more and more markets recover, the number of available existing homes competing for home purchasers increases, cutting into demand for new options.

Interest rates will likely be rising: One thing that has been largely missing over the past several years has been urgency to take advantage of remarkably low mortgage interest rates.  With no increase on the horizon and uncertainty in the market place, there were more tire kickers than trigger pullers.  With the rates likely to rise, and the economy showing positive signs, this has all changed.

Rental Rates are Still Rising: According to Apartment List, rents are up month-over-month in 57 of 100 largest cities. As they rise, it is making more and more sense to buy, where your monthly interest is still deductible and your monthly payment stays constant.

While the market is improving, it is impoHome Garden Imagertant for home sellers to do their homework and not test the waters too high for too long.  Today’s buyers are savvy, with more on-line tools to get a good overview of each market.  As a buyer, you too will need to be on top of things.  Today’s homes that are priced appropriately will sell fast.  Be ready with a mortgage pre-approval and a good understanding of what your payment will be for any given price and the monthly cost per $1,000 increase in mortgage amount.

If you are a transferee, make sure your Realtors at both ends are responsive and forthcoming with actionable information.  Home buying and selling can be very stressful.  But, the better prepared you are, the quicker you can get through it and focused on the next adventure!

Merry Christmas!

Trees are up, candles are lit and lights are flickering about town. It’s that time of year again.DSC_0012-300x200

From all of us at XONEX Relocation, we wish you all a very happy holiday season and a fantastic New Year!

This Week’s Blog Roundup

Every week, we like to share tips, tricks and resources for HR and procurement regarding real estate, relocation, industry trends and/or transferee relations. But sometimes, there are so many amazing blog posts from our friends around the Internet that it just makes more sense to share a collection with you so that we can touch on all of the most important points from the week. I scour several blogs and papers each and every morning and below, I’ve included some of my favorite reads from this week.

Three Tips to Manage Stress at Work

There are a lot of amazing things about this time of year; holiday parties, family time, festive food, you get the drift. But, while all is merry and bright outside the office, HR often feels swamped and extra stressed as we near year-end so today, I thought I’d send you folks in HR some extra TLC and offer a few tips to manage stress at work as we wrap up 2017.

Technology is not Always the Answer

Our industry has had its share of buzz words and trends that grab the spotlight and dominate the conversations about mobility each year. Some of my all-time favorites include the historical “Single Point of Contact,” “Big Data” and most recently, the industry’s strategic pseudonym, “Talent Mobility.” These days, the topic at hand is “customer experience.”

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving Abroad (Thai Style)

With the holiday season upon us (as crazy as that may seem), I know we are all excited to spend time with family and enjoy our favorite traditions. However, in our industry, we know that not everybody will be able to indulge in homethanksgiving in thailand country festivities. Many people are preparing to spend the holiday season abroad. The expat holiday experience is a unique one and with Thanksgiving just a week away, I wanted to revisit a story from my first year at XONEX, the same year that a good friend of mine spent her first Thanksgiving in Thailand as an expat.

How to Explain Delivery Spreads to Your Transferees

Aside from selling their home and finding a new one, the household goods moving process is the most stressful aspect of your employees’ relocation process. There are a lot of details and steps involved in ensuring the move goes smoothly and in a timely manner. While your relocation provider will spend time explaining each step, should the household goods move be included in the transferee’s policy, it is always a good idea to provide your transferee with as much helpful information as possible as the employer as well. The purpose is to manage expectations, especially during the height of the busy moving season. One of the biggest issues people tend to have regarding the household goods move is the concept of a delivery spread. So what exactly is a delivery spread?

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MIKE CANNING
VP, Client Services

RICK CALANNI
VP of Business Development Northeast Region

 

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