Human Resource teams and relocation specialists are likely to see an increasing demand for corporate relocation services and expertise over the next decade as the trend towards increased global worker mobility continues. The number of international assignments has already increased by over 25% throughout the last decade and is set to continue growing through 2020.

Boosted by the potential reorganization of global business priorities post-Brexit, PwC researchers have also identified an upsurge in quick, short-term assignments of under a year, along with commuter assignments. Corporate office relocations, fuelled by a desire to exploit lower rental costs or to get closer to talent and clients, are becoming increasingly popular too. Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities.Amid all these exciting changes one thing remains the same for global worker mobility specialists. That is, the requirement to deliver efficient corporate relocations. As professionals in the industry will likely attest, every successful corporation relocation starts with a guide, just like the one we’ve set out below.

 

Relocation budget

Although business relocation costs vary, assignments can be expensive, and show-stopping if not accounted for in advance. Develop an itemized forecast for your relocation upfront to manage expectations of budget holders and avoid nasty surprises.

 

Timeline

A woman wearing an orange shirt and holding her mobile phone in one hand and a pen in the other. She has a calendar in front of her and is keeping track of a timeline

Realistic timelines which factor in all relocation tasks and potential delays can help to more effectively manage expectations of the business, encompassing project teams and most importantly the employees being relocated.

 

Relocation policy

A corporate relocation process requires a clear policy to guide you through the many forks in the road. A clear relocation policy will ensure you adopt a fair and consistent approach and avoid being pressed into awkward precedents that can undermine current and future assignments. It should clearly explain what support will be provided (both financial and administrative) throughout the relocation process.

 

Moving expenses

These can vary dramatically depending on the assignee’s current circumstances, e.g your relocation policy, homeowner vs tenant and with or without dependents. The main costs associated with moving are:

  • Fees relating to selling the assignee’s property and/or renting out and property management
  • Early exit fees, relating to mortgages or tenancy
  • Relocation and/or storage of household goods
  • Disposal or storage of household goods and vehicles 
  • Fees relating to buying or renting property in the new location

 

Temporary accommodation

Temporary accommodation can provide a safety blanket and a welcome amount of flexibility prior to moving into long-term digs. It can also be a means to an end, providing a home to live in for the entire duration of shorter-term assignments. 

A furnished and equipped apartment in DC that is managed by Blueground. There is a dark green wall behind a grey couch as well as a coffee table, TV and a dining area to the right

If you need to provide flexible, secure and temporary accommodation for your assignees, Blueground can help. Blueground provides fully-furnished and equipped apartments all over the world. The apartments can be booked for one month, or even for a year or more if needed. Blueground apartments are situated in vibrant neighborhoods, close to public transport, and are located in buildings with world-class features like gyms, pools, and breathtaking views of the city.

 

Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA)

International and even regional relocations may require a cost-of-living adjustment to ensure that the employee is no worse off than if they didn’t take the assignment. This takes into account specific items such as:

  • Relative costs of goods and services
  • Housing premium, whether renting or buying
  • Higher taxation and social security burden

This is a sensitive area, and your calculations may be challenged by the assignee. So, a consistent, well-researched approach will be required. You can do it yourself or outsource it to a specialist compensation consultancy who can calculate it on your behalf.

 

Commuter assignments

Will your organization consider a commuter assignment vs. an absolute relocation? Research shows that there is an increase in commuter assignments. This is where the assignee’s main residence remains in their home country and they relocate on their own but are allowed to return home to see their family at frequent intervals. 

 

An advance reconnaissance trip

Will you be funding an advanced planning trip for the employee prior to the commencement of the assignment? Most employees will benefit from a trip to the destination ahead of making the relocation in order to investigate local schools, amenities, and residential areas. It is customary for the employer to finance this. This kind of advanced planning will help to ensure a more smooth transition when the assignment actually commences.

 

Support for dependents

Research shows that one of the main reasons that international assignments fail is due to the spouse or family struggling to integrate into the new community.

A father wearing a green shirt and brown pants is lifting his daughter in the air and playing with her while they both smile

It may, therefore, be prudent to offer resources for the family to get comfortable with their new lives. For instance: 

  • Support for spouse and children
    • Help to find a school
    • Assistance with school fees
  • Help with finding a job
  • Providing cultural or language training
  • Introducing them to a local expat network

 

Outsourcing

Have you established partnerships with a range of specialist providers who can support the business and assignee through the relocation process and during the assignment? Some of the most relevant and commonly used relocation partners are: 

  • Outsourcing Providers
    • Providers of flexible, temporary and long-term accommodation like Blueground
    • Immigration lawyers
    • Tax and financial planning 
    • Business relocation specialists
    • Real estate agent for rental and buying 

 

International

International assignments can bring additional complications. There are several areas that may need to be considered.

Visa, work permit and immigration

This can break or delay an assignment if not handled well. Professional advice is recommended in most cases prior to making an application. Will you be outsourcing this or handling it in-house?

Tax consideration and planning

This is perhaps one of the most complicated and regulated areas of the relocation. Will you be offering your assignee tax planning support or the services of a tax planning professional?

Cross-cultural and language training

Not all companies offer this, but it can be crucial for helping the assignee and family integrate successfully into their new community. What is your policy here?

Repatriation Policy

If returning assignees feel or are seen to be abandoned/suffering career detriment as a result of their hiatus it could create resentment and mistrust around the relocation process. Develop a clear repatriation policy that supports employees and their families as they reintegrate back into domestic work and life.

Healthcare

A doctor with a white coat and blue plastic gloves is examining a baby who is being held by a mother wearing a blue shirt and brown pants

It may be necessary to provide medical insurance to the whole family in order to ensure they preserve the same level of medical cover that they would have in their home country.

The typical corporate relocation is a complicated and unique project, requiring time management, project management skills and effective outsourcing to get it done. A relocation guide is vital in order to keep sight of all the moving parts and to facilitate a successful relocation.

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