A new question this year shows a more flexible relocation policy is now the standard. Over three-fourths of firms incorporate core/flex elements. Even though mid-size and large firms are more likely (82%+), most small firms (66%) have adopted aspects of these policies. Coverage for core components, either across all employee levels/categories or dependent on employee level/category, is the most popular choice among all firms.
Alternative assignments remain a tool for flexibility among 41% of firms and nearly two-thirds of large firms, far more than for small (24%) or mid-size (40%) firms. Similar to last year, strategic business goals is the most often-cited reason. Around two-fifths of firms used them to maximize budgets/corporate resources, develop internal talent, or accommodate employee needs. Around a fourth cite using them in lieu of long-term or traditional short-term assignments. Regardless of company size, the key factors for determining if an alternative assignment format will be used are the purpose, cost, and job function of the position.
A continued focus on budgets is apparent, with most firms (60%) using cost-containment measures. Large firms were the heaviest users (76% used at least one), showing priorities for reviewing/renegotiating supplier contracts (41%) and offering pre-decision counseling (38%). Around a third of firms, regardless of size, capped relocation benefit amounts; around one fifth limited miscellaneous allowances.
Even with signs that conditions are growing more conducive to relocation, employees continue to deal with a variety of economic and social factors that may constrict their availability. Incentives remain a key tool for most firms, regardless of size. Most firms offer incentives for relocation; extending temporary housing benefits was by far the most popular, offered by nearly two-thirds or more of companies surveyed.
Relocation bonuses (48%), loss-on-sale protection (38%), cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) (37%), and extended duplicate housing benefits (32%) round out the top five incentives. Relocation bonuses were more popular among small and mid-size firms (52%+ vs. 37% of large firms). Loss-on-sale protection was more popular with large firms (64% vs. 17% small and 34% mid-size firms). Around a third or more of all firms offered COLAs. Mid-size and large firms offered the extension of duplicate housing benefits more often than small firms did (35% and 39% vs. 22%).