What is a Relocation Policy and How to Handle Employee Relocation

What is a Relocation Policy and How to Handle Employee Relocation

Lots of employers have the option to relocate existing employees or new hires as part of the process of filling specific roles within the organization.

To achieve this effectively, a relocation policy is often formulated and put into practice. This has significant ramifications for the business as a whole, as well as for the employees who experience its impact.

Because of the significant influence, a relocation policy can have over everything from job satisfaction to productivity, here is a look at the ins and outs of what a contemporary policy should offer and how best to handle the relocation process itself.

The basics of a Relocation Policy

For most, employee relocation involves a whole lot of administrative challenges, as well as financial burdens to bear and logistical hurdles to overcome. The purpose of a relocation policy should be to streamline this as much as possible, and also formalize the steps that will be taken by an employer to steward them through it all.

While each policy can be entirely tailored to the needs of a business, there are a few standard inclusions that are often featured across the board. For example, plenty of policies will cover the expenses involved with moving household goods, transporting the employee and their families, and providing accommodation either on a short or long-term basis depending on the nature of the job and the location.

A policy should also be flexible enough to accommodate the unique circumstances of individual employees. This might mean providing employment assistance for the spouse of an employee who is in a relationship or help with finding schools for children.

Another factor is the need to ensure that an employee can integrate successfully with their new community, as barriers of language and culture can lead to dissatisfaction and a host of other issues post-relocation. Assistance offered by an employer will be much appreciated and should be considered integral to the success of any relocation policy.


The points to consider

Now you have an idea of what a relocation policy should provide, it is necessary to think carefully about both how to manage the process and, more importantly, when to offer it as an option to employees.

Likewise, if you are currently working for a company and the prospect of relocation comes up, you can also make a decision that will benefit you in the long term if you bear in mind a few of the following factors.

First and foremost, it is vital to work out whether or not an employee is a suitable candidate for relocation, as there are all sorts of stresses and strains associated with moving to another country or a distant region in the same country. As such not every employee will be a good fit for this, and they need to be made aware of the challenges and hurdles upfront, as well as the steps an organization will take to support them.

Secondly, you need to look into the tax implications of sending someone to work overseas, and also whether a specific employee will be legally allowed to work in a given region. Most foreign nationals will need work visas to fulfil a professional role after arrival, and different countries have their approaches to accepting skilled workers from elsewhere.

Last but not least, the length of the relocation contract should be determined before making any commitment, as in most cases the move may not be permanent, and so it is useful for an employee and the employer to know exactly how long this arrangement will last for, to help with planning and budgeting, amongst other things.

The nuts and bolts of implementing relocation policies

Once an employer has agreed to relocate an employee and all parties are happy with the arrangement, the actual implementation of those policies and plans will come next.

From a financial perspective, it is better for a business to assign a carefully calculated budget for the relocation itself and to make sure that costs are covered as comprehensively as possible so that employees are not left out of pocket or put in a position where they have to claim back expenses further down the line.

In terms of the actual costs involved, these can vary from a few thousand dollars to close to $100,000, with the most expensive move coming about if the employee is a homeowner and so the sale of a property is on the cards.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, plenty of businesses choose to outsource the relocation process to a third-party firm that is specifically set up to take care of all the paperwork and other insurmountable administrative duties and come with the territory.

If in doubt, consult with experts as either an employer or employee to clear up confusion surrounding relocation policies.