article originally appeared in the August 2018 edition of Mobility Magazine.
I’ve been around global
relocation for a long time. I love the service side of the business, and I
enjoy the relationships and the opportunity to try to make the relocation
process better for families and their employers. I can honestly say that I have
always enjoyed dealing with very difficult—and sometimes
I know that they are dealing
with many challenges, have possibly been burned by a previous experience, and
most often just need help getting through a challenging process. Usually with
patience and understanding, and the support of competent colleagues and
providers, these transferees can be won over. I think many of us in the
industry feel the same way and love what we do.
While so many professionals,
consultants, and policy gurus have redone policies and shared benchmarking
data, I still see gaps and lack of detail regarding household goods
transportation in some relocation policies. In my eyes, policies are meant to
offer peace of mind, support, and education, especially for the transferee.
They communicate to the employee, “You work for a smart global company,” “Your
employer has a very good idea of what the employee needs to relocate
successfully,” and “We care about you, and about doing what is right.”
Related: Corporations and Business Traveler
I recently had the opportunity
to review the policies of two globally active programs. One policy offered two
paragraphs of 200 words to describe their household goods transportation
benefit. The second policy was more detailed, with more than 500 words. Both
policies covered other relocation aspects with significant detail. I then took
time to identify what was missing. I looked at a number of policies to get
ideas and best practices. Ultimately, my recommendation added 2,000 words to
the policy. The following is a summary of what was added and who benefits.
If your company has a “blank
check” for relocation, maybe more detail is not needed. Most companies,
however, have a culture to uphold and stakeholders to represent.
The culture may call for a
“liberal” or “employee-friendly” approach, but it probably has limits. Stating
what is included and what is not helps recruiters, employees, business unit
managers, and mobility professionals know what makes sense and what doesn’t.
An example: Pets are often very
important to an employee and family. A good policy will define how far the
company wants to go to assist the employee with their pet(s). Is the company
willing to help get Barney, their big chocolate Lab, to their new home in
Paris? Oh, and how about Pepper, their Alexandrine parrot?
potential needs upfront demonstrates that your organization cares about what is
important to the family and what the company chooses to offer.
Moves within a country,
including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, or Brazil, have different issues and
opportunities from those of a cross-border international move. A good policy
will address these differences.
For example, in Germany,
movement of kitchen cabinetry is common but can be expensive. Your decision to
support these services should be driven by your strategy, frequency, and
values. Furthermore, cross-border moves have many customs ramifications.
Most countries allow duty-free
entry of goods only if the goods have been owned for a period of time (six to
12 months). If an employee purchases new items prior to the move, the costs of
taxes can be enormous. A well-written policy will address these issues and will
avoid costly and complicated surprises for all parties.
Related: Tips for Achieving Family and Assignee
Employers take a considerable
risk if the employee does not understand or accept the valuation coverages that
apply when moving their possessions. The key words are “their possessions.”
Read the rest
of this article in the August 2018 edition of Mobility