While last year might have upended the mobility priorities of many organizations, there is a strong desire within our industry to find the balance once again between emerging trends and talent mobility strategies. At the same time, some organizations may find it difficult to accurately identify their mobility priorities in 2021 while still in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. No event in modern history can compare to the sweeping disruptions that this has caused, and the lingering effects that are likely to be with us for some time.
So, as we move forward into the territory known as, “the new normal,” we are faced with the indisputable reality that some mobility priorities have changed, while others have remained the same or have had to be redefined. Such is the case with some of the traditional mobility assignments which have given way to virtual assignments that rely heavily on technology and innovation to bring virtual teams together.
Here at VERSA, we find that our clients are relying on us now more than ever to help them identify their mobility priorities, evaluate them, and make sure that they align with their talent management goals. One of our core strengths as an RMC (Relocation Management Company), lies in our ability to provide consultative, strategic guidance as a trusted partner for all of our clients, and work closely with them to ensure the seamless execution of their mobility programs.
To do this successfully, we leverage our professional expertise as industry leaders, while keeping our finger firmly on the pulse of the key trends that are impacting mobility and causing a change in priorities for our clients. Their priorities are our priorities, and so we pride ourselves on staying in lockstep with their mobility goals, and we advise them on appropriate policy changes when needed.
Key Trends Impacting Mobility Priorities
Perhaps the trend that had the greatest impact on mobility priorities last year was the rise of the remote workforce. This is something that we fully expect to continue for the near future, as there are many benefits for both the employer and employee.
From a talent recruitment perspective, remote work has enabled companies to broaden their search for key talent without being bound to a specific geographic area or city. This gives employers a much larger talent pool from which to choose. Likewise, from the employee standpoint, it opens up employment opportunities that are also not tethered to a specific location.
From a relocation policy standpoint, companies have to evaluate how remote work fits into their mobility programs and talent management initiatives.
This also raises an important question: If people can work from anywhere, what does that mean for relocation? That is certainly a question that has become top-of-mind for many of our clients, and it is one that we are addressing with them directly. This is a key component as we review client mobility programs and policies, and look for new ways to further elevate the employee experience when relocating.
In general, employee mobility volumes were down across the board in 2020, as many companies scaled back their mobility programs or put them on hold. Depending on the industry and company, there were also instances of employees that were reluctant to relocate.
We have seen changes to this already in 2021, as many large employers have stated that they are not allowing their employees to use COVID-19 as an excuse for not relocating. This is a definite pivot point that represents a marked shift for the mobility industry from just a year ago.
Managed Cap Relocation Programs
We are also seeing the return of managed cap relocation programs. This is a move away from the lump sum programs that have been very prevalent in recent years. In a lump sum program, there is a predetermined amount of money given to the employee to cover his or her relocation expenses. In contrast, a managed cap relocation program is one in which the employer pays for the employee’s relocation up to predetermined amount.
Many of our clients have moved towards managed cap relocation programs. This is because they realize that just cutting a check, giving it to an employee to cover their relocation expenses, and then sending them on their way is not a mobility program at all. The focus today is geared more towards the employee experience, and so our clients want to have a mobility program that better reflects that effort.
This has created the perfect opportunity for VERSA to sit down with our clients and help them take the appropriate steps to ensure that their relocation program aligns with the mission of their company, and that it supports their mobile employees.
Changes in Home Sale Programs
We are also seeing changes in the relocation home sale programs that are being offered by companies today. For example, there are significantly fewer GBO (Guaranteed Buy Out) programs being offered to employees at this time, while BVO (Buyer Value Options) programs are still being utilized, particularly in highly competitive fields, such as pharmaceuticals. BVO programs are also being offered within gaming companies. This is because of their need to bring their talent together within a creative work environment.
The Value of Mobility Policy Consultations
Now is the perfect time to review your organization’s mobility policies. We have spent a great deal of time with our clients over the past year doing just that. Our practice is to hold annual reviews to evaluate each client’s mobility program, discuss any issues or challenges they might have, and then make recommendations for any changes or improvements that might be necessary.
For our new clients, the first thing that we need to know is what their pain points are and what their mobility strategy is. We can then custom build a mobility program that is the right fit for their organization. So, from the very onset of our onboarding process with every new client, we do a thorough in-depth review of their current mobility policies and how the various elements in the process have been managed. This ensures that we have a full understanding of their mobility goals and priorities, what has worked well, and areas in need of improvement.
Personalized Relocation Management
At VERSA, we pride ourselves in taking a customized approach when it comes to the policy review and development for each of our clients. They are all unique, with different needs and requirements, and so it is never a one-size-fits-all proposition.
Many of our newest clients are those that have chosen to move away from an in-house relocation management model, to an outsourced program that is fully managed by VERSA. This alleviates the significant strain on their internal resources and personnel, while entrusting us to streamline and manage the entire relocation process for them.
The personalized attention that we give to our clients and their relocating employees is more important now than ever before, given the changing landscape and changing priorities in which our clients operate.
Through our many years of experience, we know that relocation management is a very complex process with many moving parts, all of which need to work in perfect symphony with one another. To that end, we continually raise the bar to deliver the highest level of personalized relocation management services to all of our clients.
Please contact us anytime to discuss your relocation management needs. We are always here for you!