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Lump Sums… A Moving Target

So, you just hired two great candidates for two new assistant manager positions in headquarters.  New Hire 1, we’ll call him Jim, is married with 2 kids.  New Hire 2, we’ll call her Mary, is single.  They both have about 800 miles to travel to their new location.  Your relocation policy for their job level allows for a lump sum of $6,000.

 

How’s that working for you? How does that make the transferee feel about their new job?

Analytics and the Review Process

Reviewing your mobility program requires more than an overview of numbers. It needs to include a deeper dive into why those numbers may be changing.  In addition to helping you determine if exceptions are getting out of control, or one cost center is being more generous that others, sometimes, a statistical change can be misinterpreted if not looked at from every angle.

Recently, a client reached out, concerned that, although initiations had not increased, the year to date expense had taken a notable spike.  On the surface, their conclusion was correct.  While expenses increased over 16% over the same period last year, overall initiations were actually down almost 7 percent.

 

The first thing I did was break out the expenses by category.  Immediately, I could see the culprit.  While other category expenses stayed in line with the previous year, the homesale expenses increased significantly, mirroring the year over year expense variance. Additionally, while there was a small increase in average sale price, this uptick in homesale expenses was more due to the number of sales completed during the two periods.

 

This is where I found the good news.  Looking at the average days on market for each home that sold over the past two years, I was able to see a positive trend. Homes are selling faster.  In the past 12 months, homes sold in an average of 32 days on the market, verses 59 days in the previous year.

 

Additionally, I found the average program cost went down almost 30 percent over the same period!  Logically, this makes sense, if you think about it.  The biggest drag on a relocation program is the homesale piece.  In addition to typically being the biggest ticket item, it also impacts other benefits when the market is soft.  When transferees cannot sell their home, you find they need to use more temporary living, home trips, loss on sale benefits and exceptions.

 

analytics over review

 

So, in the example above, what appeared to be a negative program development, is in actuality a sign of an improving economy and an indication of future savings.

 

Should this positive trend continue, employers should look at those benefits used to entice potential candidates in a slower, uncertain market and grant them by exception, or remove them outright. By removing these benefits (which no longer make the difference between accepting or refusing the move), employers can cut costs further.

 

When you look at your historic program data, do you have a clear understanding on the cause of trends?

Why You Really Need to Review Your RMC

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”  That’s how the expression goes.  But, it’s time to evaluate the definition of broken.  I’m willing to bet that there are a number of factors why you have postponed reviewing the job your relocation management company is doing.

The Low Down on Temporary Living Expenses

Temporary living can be a doozy of a line item in a relocation budget.

Employee Retention Pitfalls after Relocation

We’ve talked quite a bit on this blog about payback agreements. Oh, the payback agreement. We both love it and hate it at the same time. Is it a necessary evil? Perhaps. We certainly don’t believe that companies should spend thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars on a relocation if there is a risk that the transferee will resign before the contracted period is up. Putting aside financial concerns for just a moment, however, I think we need to take a closer look at why payback agreements are so prevalent (94% of companies require them) and if there is a better, more effective way to ensure that talent stays on board after a transfer or assignment.

To Stage or Not to Stage?

We all know time is money.  When it comes to real estate, this couldn’t be truer. While the sales price of a home may

Staging a Home

Photo credit: HGTV

not change, obtaining a sale quickly can save a considerable amount of money in the form of carrying costs and even loss on sale if the market is in decline.  One way to give prospective buyers a perception of the depth and functional usage of space is to furnish the home. As such, transferees may request additional monies for staging the home as a part of the home marketing benefit. Should you comply?

Managed Cap Program Managers: Yay or Nay?

Like corporations, employee relocation service providers have had to adapt to shrinking program budgets, less company gatekeepers, and ongoing pressure to simplify the process. Some companies, in response to budgetary constraints, and just not having the personnel to administer multi-benefit programs have switched (especially with Managed Cap Programstheir lower level and rental programs) to a lump sum or managed cap program. Both these programs offer the companies more budget certainty and uniformity. Noting this, some relocation providers have entered the market with a stripped down, limited scope approach. Whereas the traditional service provider had previously geared their approach toward homeowners, with modifications scaling back benefit levels for the renters, and college recruits, these new companies focus on the growing population of less defined relocations.

Last Minute Moves are Relocation Budget Killers

In our most recent relocation whitepaper, discussed the nature of last minute relocations and the impact it has had on relocation budgets, as well as the transferee’s overall relocation experience. For one reason or another, there seems to be a growing trend towards last minute hires. As such, there were many cases where transferees were initiated in the same week as their start date, leaving very little time to adequately counsel the transferee and effectively set up relocation benefits.

The Rise of the Hybrid Lump Sum Relocation Policy

Lump sums are all the rage. And, they will continue to be a hot ticket item. Yep, we said it. While we are not the lump sum’s greatest fan, we wholly accept that many employers will be working to combine as many relocation services as possible into a lump sum component.  Predictability is, understandably, very important for managing budgets. But, on the other hand, predictability does not automatically translate into cost savings.  In fact, it could do just the opposite.

Free Whitepaper: How to Talk to Your CFO about Relocation

Out of all the executives in the c-suite of an organization, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) can be the most intimidating. We’ve all been there, right? You are running a program that goes over budget and, all of a sudden, the CFO has taken notice and is knocking on your office door. As your brain starts to work on calculations and an explanation all at once, you may find yourself a bit…panicked.

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RICK CALANNI
VP of Business Development Northeast Region

 

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