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Top 5 Issues HR Will Face During the Busy Relocation Season

Last week, Paige posted about how the busy relocation season has arrived. She went over the fact that the household goods aspect of your transferees’ moves will definitely pose a challenge this year due to an increase in volume and decrease in actual trucks and drivers. For your employees, the household goods moving process is, without a doubt, the most stressful piece of the relocation puzzle (well, maybe after selling the home). This week, I want to talk about some of the stresses that HR will encounter as the summer season really takes off.

From asking for more financial assistance to comparing policy benefits with co-workers, HR is bound to get some questions, complaints, and requests from relocating employees. It’s important to Top 5 Issues HR Will Face this Relocation Busy Seasonbe prepared and willing to handle them in a positive and productive manner. Listed below are five issues that Human Resources should be ready to address during the busy relocation season.

  1. Exception Requests: It is impossible to create a policy that covers every single need, for every single transferee. All of your employees are different. Your relocation provider should be efficient in tracking these requests for you as they collect approvals or denials from your designated gatekeeper, but that doesn’t mean HR should ignore them. Obviously, requests should be handled on a case by case basis to start, but it’s important to review them all collectively once the season dies down to determine whether or not policies need to be altered. For example, if you have a large amount of requests for extended temporary living, and very few transferees are using the extra storage allotted, tweak the policy to include longer corporate housing and shorter storage. Policy changes don’t necessarily need to lead to budget increases. Consult with your relocation provider to see what they recommend.
  2. Policy Comparisons: People talk. People talk at the office, they talk at corporate events, they talk at happy hour after work, and they talk online via social media. Your employees are talking to each other. This means that if you have multiple employees relocating at the same time, they will likely chat about their relocation benefits. “But, if they have the same policy, it’s not a problem, right?” Not necessarily. Remember how we just talked about how exceptions are approved or denied on a case by case basis? You can still run into some issues. You can monitor the web conversations to an extent, but brace yourself for some complaints. Lucky for you, your relocation provider will probably field most of the complaints anyway.
  3. Lack of Focus: No matter how great your policies may be, moving is stressful. Your transferee will have a lot on his/her mind during the weeks leading up to the actual relocation. While a slight lack of focus may be normal, anything extreme could be a red flag, especially if you are working with a quality relocation provider. You need to make sure your transferee is the right candidate for the move and it’s definitely important to have payback agreements in place because the last thing you want is a major financial loss because an employee wasn’t the right fit.
  4. Lump Sum Mismanagement: Technically, if your employee uses his/her lump sum for anything other than relocation expenses, it isn’t your fault. But that doesn’t mean they won’t ask for more money for the move. Be prepared, especially if you are moving young employees (recent college grads for example). If you are working with lump sum policies, be sure to educate transferees on how to manage it. Better yet, connect them with your relocation provider and let them advise!
  5. Non-Spouse Benefits: This ties in to my first point but it deserves some special attention. The Millennial generation, more so than any other generation, is living with a non-spouse partner. They are putting off marriage but sharing a home and a life together. It should come as no surprise when these employees ask for the same benefits extended to spouses to be extended to their partner.

There are ways to make relocation as easy as possible for both your transferees and yourselves in HR, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be bumps along the road. All of these issues are manageable, it’s just important to be ready for them before they pop up.

What issues have you run into in past summer seasons? How will you prepare for them ahead of time this year?

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MIKE CANNING
VP, Client Services

RICK CALANNI
VP of Business Development Northeast Region

 

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