Relocation Policy & Practice

Flexibility Built-in During Recession Provides Key Tools; Reliance Lessening as Pressures Ease

The industry is still healing from the housing crash and Great Recession. Answering new economic challenges has yielded tools in policy and practice that allow greater flexibility to adapt. As pressures ease, firms are still using these new tools—but are less dependent on them.

Incentives

While most firms still offer incentives to relocate, use in 2013 has dropped significantly from 2011 to 2012, especially among large firms. Perhaps the reduction in housing/mortgage concerns is offsetting the need. However, a variety of economic and social factors still constrict employee willingness. The most popular incentive is extended temporary housing benefits, offered by two-thirds or more of companies.

Relocation bonuses (54%), cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) (45%), extended duplicate housing benefits (31%), and loss-on-sale protection (29%) round out the top five incentives. Around half or more of firms across size offered relocation bonuses or COLAs. Large firms were more likely than mid-size and small firms to offer loss-on-sale protection (50% vs. 31% and 13%) or extended duplicate housing benefits (47% vs. 25% and 26%).

Question 10a
Companies indicating they offered additional incentives to encourage employee relocations in 2013
Chart Q10a
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Question 10b-1
Additional incentives offered by companies to encourage employee relocations in 2013
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Question 10b-2
Additional incentives offered by companies to encourage employee relocations in 2013
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Question 10c
Frequency of incentives proving successful in convincing an employee to relocate
Chart Q10c
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Cost Containment

The majority of firms employed cost-containment measures last year, but overall use trends lower compared to its recessionary peak. Markedly fewer small and large firms are taking such measures. Yet mid-size and large firms continue to be the heaviest users of a variety of methods. More than a fourth of firms, regardless of size, capped relocation benefit amounts; this was the most frequently used method for small and mid-size firms. Large firms relied most on reviewing/renegotiating supplier contracts.

Question 21-1
Cost containment measures that could have been used in relocation policy/practice in 2013
Chart Q21
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Question 21-2
Cost containment measures in relocation policy/practice used in 2013
Chart Q21-2
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Core/Flex Policy

Nearly three-fourths of firms incorporate core/flex elements in their policies, similar to last year's findings. These are most popular with mid-size companies (83%), followed by large (77%) and small firms (60%). The most popular aspect is coverage for core components, either across all employee levels/categories or depending on employee level/category. This is true regardless of company size.

Question 19a
Companies whose formal relocation policy utilizes aspects of core coverage/flex policy
Chart Q19a
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Question 19b-1
Aspects of core coverage/flex policy incorporated into relocation policy
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Question 19b-2
Aspects of core coverage/flex policy incorporated into relocation policy
Chart Q19b2
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Alternative Assignments

Firms continue to use the flexibility of alternative assignments, with 37% of firms indicating so overall. This includes roughly two-thirds of large firms, 37% of mid-size firms, and 19% of small firms. Similar to the last two years, the reason for their use cited most often is to meet strategic business goals. About two-fifths of firms also use alternative assignments to develop internal talent, to accommodate employee needs, to maximize budgets/corporate resources, or along with long-term assignments. Less than a fourth typically use them as replacements for long-term or traditional short-term assignments. Regardless of company size, the top three "key factors" in the decision to use an alternative assignment are assignment purpose, cost, and job function.

Question 27-1
Is your company utilizing "Alternative Assignments"...
Chart Q27
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Question 27-2
Is your company utilizing "Alternative Assignments"...
Chart Q27-2
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Question 27a-1
How are "Alternative Assignment" arrangements incorporated into your organization's overall employee mobility strategy?
Chart Q27a
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Question 27a-2
How are "Alternative Assignment" arrangements incorporated into your organization's overall employee mobility strategy?
Chart Q27a2
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Question 27b-1
Key factors determining "Alternative Assignment" use
Chart Q27b
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Question 27b-2
Key factors determining "Alternative Assignment" use
Chart Q27b2
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