Trends to Watch

Talent Mobility Policy & Trends: Balancing Functionality & Flexibility

This article originally appeared in the September 2018 edition of Mobility Magazine.

Talent mobility professionals must strike a delicate balance among meeting corporate objectives, ensuring associate satisfaction, controlling costs, and complying with legal, tax, and immigration regulations. To achieve this balance, companies employ a wide range of mobility programs with varying degrees of flexibility.

Some programs are rigid, offering associates a selected number of benefits based on what “tier” they are in. Yet other programs hand relocating associates a lump-sum payment and ask them to manage their own relocation.

Each mobility program model has advantages and disadvantages. Some are too rigid and extend associates benefits they don’t want or can’t use. Others aren’t rigid enough, allowing too much flexibility, which can increase costs and compromise control, consistency, and compliance. Others can overwhelm associates by placing too much responsibility on them and their families.

Related: Mobility Challenge: Next-Gen Nuances

Start by Establishing Concrete Policies

Companies should first establish the concrete policies that will drive their mobility program and then determine where they will allow for flexibility. Begin by creating policies for each global and domestic relocation benefit, such as home-selling and -buying assistance, site visits, bonuses or compensation adjustments, moving, and family support.

These policies serve as the base benefit and set the stage for what is available to the associate. Companies should create policies for as many situations as they feel necessary, but they should understand there is no magic number. Some companies might want only one or two policies per benefit, while others might extend them to cover any situation that might arise.

The number of policies should depend on a variety of factors, including corporate objectives, assignment type, employee population, corporate culture, company size, and location.

Companies should carefully consider their employee population when creating these policies, as the workforce is more diverse than ever before. It’s important to keep in mind the various wants and needs of new hires, experienced associates, and senior executives.

Related: Mobility Leaders: We Need to be Faster for the Future

After establishing clear policies, companies should then determine whether adding a miscellaneous allowance to the policy would be appropriate. Keep in mind that the allowance isn’t a cash equivalent of a particular benefit; it’s provided to cover unique situations not explicitly addressed by the other relocation benefits.

It’s important to note that not every policy component should offer flexibility. Companies should take a more rigid stance in areas such as tax and immigration to ensure consistency and compliance.

Read the rest of this article in the September 2018 edition of Mobility Magazine.

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