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How to Build a New Relocation Program

We get a lot of questions from clients and prospects about how to go about building a new relocation program. In fact, there are reasons to build a new program outside of the obvious reason that one does not exist. Companies that are going through a consolidation or merger will at times need a new program, as well as companies that have measured their current program only to find that it is not meeting employee needs. Further, there are many companies who may not need a whole new program, but want to tweak their policies based on exception requests and industry trends. As such, relocation programs should always be seen as works in progress that are updated after a careful review of feedback from transferees, recruiters and hiring managers.  

If you are building a program from scratch, first look at the population of your workforce.  Depending on the skill sets and diversity of the population, your program will range in number of tiers and benefits needed to building_blockssatisfy each segment.  For example, if you are running a retail business in markets with a readily available pool of qualified candidates and need only to provide limited assistance to store managers, there might be one policy with straight forward, consistent benefits.  However if your company has many layers, such as some employees with easily-replicated skills and others with highly specialized skills, the overall program will need additional flexibility.

When working with multi-tier programs, begin with the most robust offering and work your way backwards.  Within the actual policies, begin with the most expensive component and work down through the other elements. For example, a good order might be home sale, transportation of belongings, temporary living, home-finding and so on.  You will find that when you write your most comprehensive policy first, it’s easier to keep the language consistent throughout all of your policies.

As you progress, have a sense of the anticipated range of costs for each benefit. You can work with your third-party provider or, if you are in-house, your vendors, to give you an idea if you are remaining within the bounds of your goal program budget.  As you move down the list, consider the number of times you might anticipate a specific need. For example, if you want to include elder care but you know that it’s not a major concern for your transferees, you may want to reconsider its prominence in your policy. In fact, you might remove it all together, opting instead to add it to a list of options where a miscellaneous allowance might be applied.

Once the most comprehensive policy is formulated, and the anticipated costs are determined, the lower-tier policies can be determined based on anticipated needs and the cost/benefit ratio (i.e. does the benefit of having this candidate at the destination location outweigh the cost of getting them there?)

Are you in the process of building a relocation program? Please weigh in with tips below.

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VP, Client Services

VP of Business Development Northeast Region


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