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VERSA Productivity

How A Well-Executed Relocation Program Minimizes Employee Downtime and Improves Productivity

What makes for a well-executed relocation program?  That is a question that global mobility professionals ask themselves every day.  It’s how they create the best relocation solutions for their clients, and how they stay abreast of emerging industry trends.  And although relocation involves a set of very complex integrated processes, a well-executed program often comes down to one simple thing: minimizing employee downtime, while improving productivity.

While that might sound easy enough, it takes a great deal of experience, knowledge and expertise to make it happen.

 

It all starts with a solid relocation program 

To best minimize employee downtime when relocating, you have to make sure that you have a solid relocation program that is built around the key factors that are most important to your transferring employees.  For most domestic relocations, those typically include:

  • Packing and shipment of household goods
  • Home sale and home purchase assistance
  • Mortgage assistance
  • Temporary accommodations
  • Vehicle transportation
  • Home-finding and rental assistance
  • Miscellaneous out-of-pocket expenditures

For international relocations, that list might be expanded to include:

  • Cross-cultural training
  • Destination services
  • Language training
  • Tax, legal and immigration services

Having a robust relocation program removes a lot of the burden associated with the move (in both time and money) away from the employee.  That means that they will be able to focus on their job, and remain productive before, during and after the move.

Ideally, your relocation program should be one that makes relocation easier for your employees.  This goes a long way in helping the employee and their family quickly settle into life in their new location, because it takes a lot of the self-planning and guess-work out of the process.  So, make sure that you have a solid relocation program that is based on industry best practices, and that is in keeping with your organization’s overall business goals.

 

The value of trusted partners

A solid relocation program is also one in which you have trusted, vetted partners working in symphony with one another, to achieve the mutual goal of providing the highest level of service to each transferee and family.  When done successfully, this will best ensure a smooth transition.

By developing a solid relocation program, you are investing in your valued employees, which is a critical component for employee retention.  Statistics show that employees who do not feel like they are well supported by their employers throughout their relocation, are at a much higher risk of leaving the organization altogether.  And, it can be quite costly to relocate an employee across the country only to have him or her leave the company.

 

Minimizing employee downtime when relocating

Time is money, so the last thing you want is for a relocation to cause an employee unnecessary or excessive downtime.  When employees are relocating, it’s easy for them to become distracted by the physical and emotional aspects of the move. A certain degree of this is to be expected, but you want to make sure that each part of the process is running as efficiently as possible.

That’s why having trusted partners working towards the same goal is essential.  For most companies, the typical scenario involves an RMC (Relocation Management Company) that oversees all of the service providers, and manages the relocation every step of the way.  This establishes a structure of accountability, and keeps the process moving forward.  When each service provider is successfully executing their specific part of the relocation, the result is a win-win for both the employee and employer.

 

Less stress means improved productivity

A well-executed relocation program also means less stress on the employee and family.  And when you reduce stress, productivity levels tend to remain higher.

Oftentimes, one of the most stressful aspects of a relocation is property ownership.  The idea of selling a home in one location to purchase a home in a new location can seem like a cumbersome undertaking for a relocating employee.  But, if the employer’s relocation program includes home sale and home purchase assistance, the move will be much more attractive for the employee.  Thus, it alleviates a lot of the stress associated with selling and buying a home, which in turn, reduces employee downtime.

 

Setting and managing expectations

Another important ingredient for minimizing downtime and improving productivity during a relocation, is by setting and managing the expectations of the employee and family.  That means planning for the unexpected and being nimble in response to questions and concerns that might arise along the way.

Likewise, you need to be aware of the employee’s expectations about his or her move.  As with most things, good communication is the key.  So, don’t assume that everyone is on the same page.  Make sure that you are answering every question and explaining everything that will take place.  Also, make sure that all parties are copied on all applicable communication, and that you share all relevant information from start to finish.

Good communication is the best way to stay proactive and help your employees avoid any pitfalls during their relocation.  And, when there is an issue or a challenge, be ready to provide the most practical solution.  Based on the situation, this might call for a standardized action, or a more customized solution. Either way, you need to be ready for anything that might come your way.

 

A positive relocation experience goes a long way

At the end of the day, a positive relocation experience goes a long way.  This is why it is vital that you have a solid relocation program, that is founded on minimizing employee downtime, while improving productivity.

Relocation programs also need to evolve over time.  So, be sure to review your relocation policies on a regular basis, and evaluate how well they align with your talent management/talent mobility strategies, and adjust them when necessary.

 

Need more information?

VERSA is always here to answer any questions you might have, or to provide you with any information that might help you make more informed decisions about your global mobility program.  Please contact us anytime!

4 things to consider when choosing an RMC

4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Relocation Management Company

Regardless of industry, choosing the right service provider is critical for business success. These days, a provider must go beyond providing a service or commodity and show the true value in their partnership. Therefore, it is worth spending adequate time choosing the right company to do business with.

You may be searching for a Relocation Management Company (RMC) to provide relocation services for your employees. Perhaps this is your first time evaluating an RMC, or maybe you are unhappy with your current provider and looking to make a change. No matter your situation, consider these four points to help guide your decision making:

 

  1. Cultural fit – Perhaps one of the most important aspects to consider when evaluating an RMC is cultural fit. How the prospective company conducts business is important when picturing the viability of the partnership. The values of your company should be congruent with those of the company you do business with. This is especially important in relocation management, when your employees are undergoing a stressful time in their life and will rely heavily on relocation consultants for support and empathy.

 

  1. Service level and quality – Quality should always be a central component of supplier evaluations. Typically, RMCs gather quality scores from relocating employees to assess the performance of their internal employees, as well as external vendors, such as temporary housing facilities and real estate agents. Ask to review those quality scores to get great insight into the experience other clients are receiving. In addition to quality, ask about the level of service your transferees will receive. Prospective RMCs should outline a standard operating procedure for a relocation and what the experience will be like for the employee. For example, is there 24/7 support for the transferee? What level of consulting will be provided?

 

  1. Client testimonials and case studies – Most RMCs will have client testimonials readily available on their website. It is important to read through those carefully and take note of anything (good or bad) that stands out. In fact, we encourage you to take a step further by reaching out to people posting testimonials to gain more insight into what is like working with that RMC. Ask for case studies to clarify how the RMC specifically helped other clients address issues. Ask the prospective RMC if they can provide a case study for a company with pain points similar to yours. This information will help you get an in-depth look at what results you might expect working with that service provider.

 

  1. Flexibility of program offerings – It is important for your RMC partner to understand that one size does not fit all. Each company is unique, so their relocation program should be, too. Ideally, you should have the ability to craft a program based on the depth of your relocation offerings and which services are necessary for your company. However, not all relocation service providers offer this type of program flexibility. Be sure to ask whether you are buying a one size fits all package, or if the program will be tailored to your unique business needs.

 

Evaluating a service provider is critical for your business success. Taking cultural fit, quality, client testimonials and flexibility into consideration will help you make the best decision when choosing which RMC partner is right for your company.

 

Have more questions about this topic? We can help! CONTACT US today. We’re here to listen.

VERSA Press Release Switchgear Client

VERSA Adds Global Switchgear Client to Portfolio

(COPPELL, TEXAS – July 9, 2018) VERSA Relocation is excited to announce the addition of a new manufacturing client based in Houston, Texas. With 21 global locations, the client had a growing need for international relocation services, and was seeking a reputable company to manage the mobility program. As a result, VERSA worked alongside key stakeholders to provide global policy consultation and relocation management solutions to streamline the client’s existing process. These stakeholders quickly recognized VERSA as a valued partner that could provide structure within their global mobility program, while increasing satisfaction for transferees.

 

“This client is a great partner; very open, transparent and focused on their employees and doing good things for their business.” said David Bradstreet, Director of International Sales. “This client is able to leverage our internal international expertise not only to deliver a better experience for their employees, but to control costs through our international household goods transportation pricing solution. Very exciting!”

12 Signs you need to outsource

12 Signs You Need to Outsource Your Relocation Program

Companies of various sizes, across all industries, relocate employees domestically and internationally. For some, this can prove difficult as individuals within human resources or procurement departments assume the role of managing the company’s relocation program, sometimes in addition to other responsibilities. Depending on the frequency and complexity of relocation needs, managing this program can easily become overwhelming. If this sounds familiar, here are 12 signs you need to outsource your relocation program to a Relocation Management Company (RMC), and how outsourcing may benefit you.

 

1.Your new hire is managing their own move. This is probably contradictory to your company’s culture, and does not provide the new hire with a positive first impression of your company. A lack of support during the moving process can result in lost productivity and low morale for the new hire and their entire team. A RMC partner will manage the relocation process for your new hire and ensure your employee is properly taken care of during the household goods move portion of their relocation.

 

2. You are answering questions about commute times, neighborhoods and schools. Sometimes, you leave the office to give new employees a tour of the town. Outsourcing relocation management relieves administrative burden and allows human resources or procurement teams to focus on their core responsibilities.

 

3. You spend any amount of time reviewing estimates and setting up vendors for payment. Vendor management can be distracting and time consuming. A RMC partner handles all vendor management for you.

 

4. You are involved in resolving claims or service issues, or find yourself managing disputes between service providers and your employees. A RMC partner will handle service issue escalation and resolution for you.

 

5. You spend time sourcing household goods movers, temporary housing facilities or apartment complexes. RMCs have established relationships with service providers and will find the best fit for your relocating employee.

 

6. You code expenses, pay invoices and report to payroll. A RMC partner will take care of these tasks with a high degree of accuracy and compliance.

 

7. You do not believe you are getting competitive pricing from service partners. RMCs can leverage their volume to procure better pricing for their clients.

 

8. Your policy is outdated, or your competitor’s relocation program offers better benefits, and you are losing potential candidates. A RMC partner will benchmark and review your policy, help you update to current industry best practices, and find the right policy type and benefit offerings to match your budget, talent acquisition needs and company culture.

 

9. Your CFO wants to know how much you spent on relocation last year, what the most common exception requests were and what your projected costs are for next year, but you don’t have relocation financial data readily available. A RMC partner will provide customized reporting with a high degree of accuracy, and give recommendations for budget and policy changes.

 

10. Your employees are asking about the tax liability of relocation costs and you are not sure how to answer them. RMCs can provide accurate, up-to-date tax law education to stakeholders and employees.

 

11. You are challenged to find information about best practices, policy models and other relocation topics. A RMC partner acts as a trusted resource for industry information and will guide your program to success.

 

12. Your company recruiters are trying to figure out which equally qualified candidate will be the least expensive to relocate. A RMC partner can provide accurate cost estimations to help talent acquisition professionals and hiring managers make informed decisions.

 

Any one of these signs could indicate that outsourcing your relocation program would be beneficial for your company. If you would like to explore what outsourcing relocation may look like for your organization, let’s talk!

RMC Right Fit

Choosing an RMC: It’s All About Fit

Relocation is a tricky, complex and costly process for an organization.  That is why so many companies outsource their relocation needs to Relocation Management Companies (RMCs), as opposed to managing the process in-house.

Choosing an RMC that is the best one for your organization can be an equally cumbersome and complex process.  In most cases, it all comes down to fit.  But, choosing an RMC that is the right fit for your organization can be difficult when trying to compare apples to apples.  That it because there are no two RMCs that are alike.

 

All RMCs Are Not Created Equal

There are many choices when it comes to RMCs, and one size definitely does not necessarily fit all.  So, while most RMCs offer core services that might look the same on paper, the way that they carry them out can differ considerably.  Each RMC has specific strengths as well as certain limitations, so it is essential to choose an RMC that best aligns with your organization’s business goals.

 

Finding the Right Fit

How do you determine which RMC will be the right fit for your organization?  You need to be able to see and experience the company culture of the RMCs under consideration.  So, don’t utilize an RFP (Request For Proposal) process; conduct site visits to the RMCs instead.  This is a far more effective way of gaining valuable insight into how an RMC really operates.  You will also have access to the people who will be interacting with your relocating employees, and you can witness first-hand how they conduct themselves.  Spending time onsite will give you the best idea as to whether or not an RMC is the right fit for your organization.

The problem with RFPs, is that they force you to rely on the accuracy of the information provided by the participant, instead of allowing you to see the company through your own eyes.  Additionally, RFPs are very impersonal, overly complicated, and quite costly and time-consuming to both parties.

 

What to look for in an RMC

Obviously, you don’t want to overpay for services, or pay for services that you don’t really need.  You also don’t want to sacrifice personal attention.  So, when choosing an RMC, you should choose one with a service model approach that resembles your own.  That means that the RMC needs to be a true partner to your organization and needs to fully understand your objectives.  That will help to ensure the success of your company’s global mobility program.

Here are some key considerations when choosing an RMC:

  • What are the core competencies of the RMC?
  • Does the RMC have domestic and international capabilities?
  • What is the reputation of the RMC within the industry?
  • What is the RMCs company culture?
  • Does the RMC offer the flexibility you need?
  • How does the RMC choose their suppliers and service partners?

 

Is it time to make a change?

Having the right RMC can make or break an organization’s global mobility program.  For that reason, we recommend reviewing your company’s program needs on a regular basis, along with the quality and level of service you are receiving from your RMC.  Are your needs still being met?  If not, it might be time to make a change.

Don’t try to put a square peg in a round hole, because your global mobility program could suffer as a result.  And if your program suffers, it could negatively impact employee recruitment and retention.  Ultimately, as your global mobility needs change, you need to have an RMC that has the flexibility to change and grow with you.

 

VERSA’s Client Service Model

Ideally, you should work with an RMC that is looking out for the best interests of your organization and your relocating employees.  At VERSA Relocation, we pride ourselves in providing a very flexible, hands-on approach that is based on the unique needs of each of our clients.

We know that having the right fit is everything.  So, let us work with you to design a program that is the right fit for the needs of your organization.

For more information please contact us anytime!

Home Sale Programs

Understanding Relocation Home Sale Programs

There are obviously tremendous expenses involved when moving an employee to a new location. The largest of those expenses typically involves the sale of the employee’s current home.  In most cases, the company will want the employee to be moved and settled into their new location within a fairly short period of time.

Depending on the real estate market, the employee’s home could sell right away for the optimal price, or it could have difficulty selling and result in a loss for the employee.  Either way, the home sale process can be the cause of much stress and worry for the employee.  Such stress can negatively impact the employee’s relocation, as well as his or her work productivity before, during and after the move.

That is why many companies have implemented relocation home sale programs as one of the most important benefits that they provide to their relocating employees who are homeowners.

And although there are a few different home sale programs available, some can be costlier to both the company and employee, while others offer more favorable tax implications.

So, if you are evaluating the different home sale programs for your company, you need to be able to effectively compare and contrast the available options.  Here is an overview of the most common relocation home sale programs.

 

Direct Reimbursement

This is perhaps the easiest home sale program to explain, because it simply means that the employee is responsible for the sale of his or her home, and is then reimbursed for the costs associated with that sale.  The benefit of this program is that the company stays completely out of the transaction, and has no risk of owning the property in the event that a sale doesn’t occur. The issue with this program, is that the reimbursed expenses are viewed as taxable income by the IRS.  So, there is an added tax burden that can become quite expensive for the company and/or the employee.

 

 Buyer-Value Option (BVO)

This program mitigates the tax liability of the direct reimbursement program.  It allows the employee to list and market the home until an offer is received on the property.  Then, the Relocation Management Company (RMC) purchases the property from the employee based on the sales contract amount, and in turn sells it to the ultimate buyer.  So, with the BVO program there are actually two distinct sales that take place for the property.  This removes the tax liability for the costs covered to pay for the real estate broker’s commission and the closing costs of the property.  However, if the sale falls through for any reason, there is the risk of the home being taken into inventory, which can be costly.

 

 Amended Value Option (AVO) / Guaranteed Buy-out

With the AVO program, the employee normally has a set timeframe in which to find a buyer for the property.  This could be anywhere from about 60 to 120 days.  If the employee is unsuccessful in selling the home, they have the option of taking a guaranteed buy-out offer, which is based on an appraised value of the property.  Once the buyout happens, the property is taken into inventory, which again, can be costly.  But, like the BVO program, the AVO program also removes the added income tax burden.

 

Which Relocation Home Sale Program is Best?

As you can see, relocation home sale programs can be very complex and complicated until you understand them.  In short, the goal for any relocation home sale program should always be to reduce the financial risk and tax implications for both the employee and the company.  While all programs have certain advantages and disadvantages, the BVO program has become the program of choice for many of the companies.

 

For more information about relocation home sale programs, please contact VERSA anytime! We are always here to help you make the best choices for your organization!