3 tips for creating your Relocation Policy – and why you need to start working on it today

by Packimpex on 29 June 2022

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As the competition between employers to hire top talent heats up, it’s more important than ever to offer candidates and existing employees’ clear benefits. A corporate relocation policy will go a long way in helping your organisation attract talent, avoid non-compliance issues, enrich your company culture and underpin transparency of workplace policies.

As a leading provider of relocation services in Europe, the first question we ask when a company comes to us with a relocation enquiry is, “What does your Relocation Policy cover?” Let’s say you’ve hired a Java developer from Malaysia and you need to bring them to your office in Switzerland. Do you know how to proceed?

A well-defined Corporate Relocation Policy is the cornerstone of a successful relocation. Working with a relocation consultant is definitely the solution for your organisation’s particular relocation challenge, whether it’s about setting the housing allowance or figuring out what services should be included for the best result for the company and the employee.

What is a Company Relocation Policy?

A Relocation Policy is essentially your company’s recipe for success when it comes to what you do and do not pay for and coordinate when an employee relocates for either a short- or long-term contract. An important part of the policy is the “who”: who is eligible for support, and does it cover the relocation of their immediate family members as well? In addition to clarity and cost control, the policy also helps strengthen ties between your company and your employees.

3 reasons why you should update or create a Company Relocation Policy

Times change, and company policies should too. These service-level agreements between employees and employers need to evolve with company culture, reflect company values, and show an appreciation of what employees to do help the company advance. In this sense, a relocation policy is a huge asset. In many cases, however, its potential to be used as an employee benefit is not fully leveraged.

Attract & retain top talent

A Company Relocation Policy is a great opportunity to outline benefits that you offer employees who are making major life changes for the company. Furthermore, it proves to candidates that you take their contributions seriously and value the ways they incorporate the company in their work-life balance. Ultimately, how well an employee gets settled in their new home – whether they relocate as part of a promotion or move to your HQ after accepting a job offer – will play a key role in determining if the relocation is successful. If it’s not a success and the employee ends up leaving the job because of a poor experience, your company will most probably need to spend more money and time going through the process again. It’s better to proactively create a solid Relocation Policy and to consider services such as language and intercultural training, advising on education/daycare options, and providing support with finding a house or flat.

Ensure consistency & fairness

It’s obviously a red flag for employees if their colleague receives something they don’t. But in a small company without an dedicated HR department, or a big company where HR is involved in many different aspects of the business, an Employee Relocation Policy may seem like something that can be avoided in favour of a case-by-case approach. We strongly advise against this. Taking the time to establish a Relocation Policy now will ensure that relocations are handled fairly and transparently across the board. There may be different versions of the policy to account for differences in responsibilities or management levels – and that is completely acceptable – but it’s important to detail what is or is not included at every level.

Avoid fines for non-compliance

Compliance for international relocations is imperative if you want to avoid penalties, delayed deadlines and poor employee experience. While you’re working on your Employee Relocation Policy, you should also take the time to assess your company’s legal requirements for your employees and their assignments in a host country. This can include securing the appropriate visa, tax obligations, adhering to privacy laws and securing the right insurance coverage.

Supply chain companies that help employees to relocate, such as Packimpex, offer services that help you and your employees manage these responsibilities. When you include compliance-related details in your Relocation Policy this means all the related information is kept one place. This ensures that your HR teams and relocating employees are all aware of who is responsible for what.

How to set up a Relocation Policy

You now know what a Relocation Policy is and why it’s important. Now you need to know how to set one up. Start with the who, then outline what your policy covers and finally, consider working with a partner who can help you efficiently and cost-effectively execute the policy.

Step 1: Define who is eligible

A sound Relocation Policy specifically defines who is eligible for benefits. The criteria may include their role, leadership level or seniority, the distance they are relocating and whether it’s a domestic relocation or it’s an international move. It also should explain if the employee’s immediate family members (partner, children and other dependents) are also covered. Questions you should ask while creating the policy:

  • Are part-time employees also eligible? Or does the policy only apply to full-time employees?
  • At what staff or management level does the policy apply? Are there different versions of the policy based on level of seniority?
  • What is the minimum distance that a Relocation Policy covers?
  • Are unmarried partners covered by the policy?

Step 2: Decide what will be covered

If you research different companies that offer relocation services in Europe, relocation consultants or supply chain companies that help relocate, you can get a good idea of the range that your Corporate Relocation Policy can cover. Your policy may include some or all these services, but this is not an exhaustive list.

  • Travel to destination
  • Moving household goods
  • Language & intercultural training
  • Temporary housing
  • Storage
  • Finding, renting or buying a home
  • After-move services

Our advice is that you set a maximum amount for each of these services.

You’ll then need to decide how to administer an employee relocation package. Paying out a lump sum with the employee’s salary or reimbursing them after they submit receipts are two possible options.

Find a reliable and experienced relocation services provider

Outsourcing relocation activities allows your HR staff to focus on the more strategic aspects of their job. Professional relocation management companies, or supply chain companies that help relocate employees have experience they can draw on, which may not be the case for your organisation or team if relocating employees is a new activity.

Things you should consider next

As with all important projects, start with research. Consider the scope of your future relocations (and past relocations if any have occurred). Ask yourself what would qualify as a best-case-scenario relocation for your organisation, and obviously work with your finance team to determine what amount is available per relocation.

Europe’s leading relocation service provider

Packimpex has been supporting individuals and organisations with relocations to and from Europe for over 45 years. In those four decades, we have worked with businesses who have well -established Relocation Policies, and we have also helped others define theirs. In every case, our customers are at the heart of everything we do and we aim to distinguish our service with a personal touch, human-centered approach and global+local mindset. We are also experts in global mobility compliance and can show you how to integrate this aspect of international relocation into your company’s Relocation Policy.

Get in touch with us for a consultation that leads to tailored advice on building your Relocation Policy.