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Three Relocation Benefits Take Center Stage

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on tried and true benefits that should be included in every relocation policy. The idea for that post came from a conversation I had with a client about how to include “recession-friendly” relocation services without sacrificing the staple benefits that have stood the test of time.  It’s not easy, but if human resource and relocation managers can focus on the three most common services and resist knee-jerk reactions and exemptions, it is possible to avoid major sacrifices.

Below are three relocation benefits that have become most popular in today’s economic climate.  Hopefully, they will drop out of the spotlight at some point in the not too distant future:

  • Loss on Sale – Unfortunately, when you add in tax consideration, loss on sale provisions can exceed the sum of all other program benefits. But, this expensive benefit is critical right now – even at the expense of other services. Employers that have tried to stem requests for loss on sale by handling it quietly (by exception),  are realizing that detailing the benefit for consistent administration and fair distribution is a better approach in the long term.
  • Career Counseling for Spouses– In the past a relocating employee could qualify to purchase a home using not only their new salary, but also their spouse’s salary prior to the move.  Today, however, the financial meltdown surrounding the housing market has caused lenders to tighten these practices and they will only consider income from employment verified at the destination.  As such, many families have seen buying power drop significantly. Career counseling programs can increase a spouse’s chances Career Coaching is a Relocation Benefitin finding a job more quickly. Most job coaches will offer advice on resume building, networking and interview techniques. Some will even teach clients best practices for leveraging social media sites like LinkedIn to enhance a job search. The cost of this benefit varies depending on the level of service, but the average fee before taxes is about $1,800. I think it’s well worth the cost because it gives the family some piece of mind and it can make a huge impact when used appropriately.
  • Property Management at Origin – The concern over the ability to sell the origin home is currently the primary reason for rejected relocation opportunities.  With market values dipping below what is owed in many instances, some transferees simply cannot afford to sell their home without bringing a substantial amount of money to the closing, or negotiating a “short sale” transaction with their lender. Consequently, a growing number of employees are opting to rent their home out at origin. Although this is not an ideal situation, especially if the market is declining further, the employee may have no other viable options, and companies may want to help transferee landlords before it becomes a major interruption at work. Offering a property management benefit is the best way to support an employee who opts to rent out their home. Most property management companies have varied fees and services, ranging from simple lease management and rent collection, to marketing, property maintenance and home furnishing.

Have you added new relocation benefits to your policy because of the recession? Why or why not? Which benefits have worked out well? Which relocation services do you wish would just disappear?

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