January 21, 2016

How to Structure a Long-Term Relocation Policy

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How to Structure a Long-Term Relocation Policy

With organizations continuing to look for ways to manage costs, and long-term assignments not fading away, companies are looking  more closely at how their long-term policies are structured. In fact, according to data from Cartus’ 2014 Global Mobility Policies & Practices survey, 44% of respondents said they were likely to develop, or substantially modify, their long-term assignment policies.

Depending on the culture of the company, employee levels, and assignment purposes, we are seeing more companies adopt a core/flex approach to policy administration, or applying tiers to their long-term assignment programs. Each approach has unique advantages and challenges. You need to be aware of specific elements and challenges when developing a long-term relocation policy. Let’s take a look at some best practice tips for developing your long-term relocation policy.

Best Practices for Developing a Long-Term Relocation Policy

As assignment activity changes and evolves, companies are continually looking to modify the benefits offered under each policy type, for pre-assignment, support on assignment, and post-assignment.

Before the assignment, it is important that employee and spouse/partner understand the financial implication of an assignment. A best practice is to have the employee and spouse/partner meet with the company’s global tax provider prior to acceptance or commencement of the assignment. Likewise, due to the security risks associated with traveling abroad, it is also a best practice for companies to employ formalized security processes for employees traveling on business or living in another country. Established security processes should be communicated to the employee and family not only pre-departure, but also upon arrival and throughout the life of the assignment.

If the host location presents a risk or is deemed a hardship location by independent international data consultants, companies will typically provide a hardship allowance (may be a percentage of salary) for the duration of the assignment.

At the end of the assignment, transition support is critical to the success of the assignment and is often overlooked. It is critical for organizations to plan properly for the employee’s repatriation and ensure that the skills and experience acquired while on assignment are integrated back into the home location and the new job role.

For more best practice tips, Cartus Consulting Solutions has developed a white paper that provides an overview of general practices and areas of consideration associated with long-term assignments. To request this white paper, please contact your Cartus representative, or email us at trustedguidance@cartus.com. You might also be interested in our localization, permanent relocation, short-term assignment, and extended business travel solution papers, which explore the various assignment benefits and how and why they may vary, depending on your company’s culture, assignment needs, and employee profile.

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Posted By

Cindy Madden

About Cindy

Cindy Madden is Director of the Cartus Consulting Solutions practice, which supports clients and prospects in the areas of Global Policy and Program Design, Group Moves, Destination Location Research, and the development of customized mobility websites. Cindy has more than 25 years’ experience in the relocation industry in a variety of roles, including account management and sales.

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