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How to Manage Inconsistent Exceptions to Your Relocation Policy

How to Manage Relocation Policy ExceptionsLately, we have been hearing a lot about exceptions. After several years of an unpredictable relocation environment, it makes sense that relocation managers would be struggling to create policies that have the right level of benefits to accommodate transferees in uncertain times. As such, exceptions surrounding temporary living and other benefits around housing are common.

Companies start to get into real exception trouble when they are inconsistent in what they are granting. The companies that are most susceptible to inconsistency are those with many different cost centers, a decentralized structure, and/or a non-strict adherence to the relocation policy.

So, why does this matter?

Inconsistent exceptions are one of the leading drains on relocation budgets because they swell the total relocation costs, set bad precedents for the future and undermine any chance for cost predictability or containment. Regardless of papers signed, or the fine print in the policy, transferees will talk to one another. Granting an exception to one employee opens the door to granting the same exception to many. Further, in some cases, there are better solutions to problems than an exception that will add to the bottom line cost of the program.

Now that the housing environment is starting to stabilize, it’s time for companies to assess their relocation policies in an attempt to minimize exceptions moving forward. The best way to get started is to have a centralized gate keeper that closely monitors exception requests. Next, work with your relocation provider to implement a tracking process. Before granting an exception, discuss alternative solutions to see if there is a better way to address the problem.  Then, if you decide to move forward with the exception, document the rationale behind your decision so that you can refer to it when a similar issue arises. Finally, always review your relocation policies on a regular basis to ensure that they are current and address market conditions.

With busy season around the corner, now is a good time to look at exceptions in 2012 to determine what you can do differently in 2013. This will save your department, and your company, money in the long run.

Do you grant a lot of exceptions? Please share your reasoning below.


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VP, Client Services

VP of Business Development Northeast Region


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