Sponsored by Altair Global

Is Core/Flex Right for Your Mobility Program?

While the concept of flexible mobility policies isn’t new, the factors motivating companies to strive for flexibility continue to evolve. Whether the genesis is perceived cost savings, demographical appeal or to reduce the number of policy exceptions, the appeal of a more customizable approach based on employee choice, need or both is becoming increasingly relevant.

While there are many approaches to flexible mobility policies, the term Core/Flex continues to broadly describe the most common approaches. Designing flexibility into your mobility program will likely involve striking a balance between a standard or core set of provisions and a range of other services and benefits positioned with some degree of flex. This aims to assure employees that basic needs will be met while also empowering them to shape the balance of available assistance in a manner best suited to their individual needs and circumstances.

When should a Core/Flex program structure be considered?

For mobility program managers considering an overhaul of more defined, pre-set policies, we suggest pondering the following questions with your company culture, talent management objectives and employee population in mind:

  • Do you have diverse employee populations with varying needs?
  • Do your employees continue to “push the envelope” in regard to requests for support of unique personal circumstances and situations?
  • Does your company embody a culture of adhocracy and flexibility?


If your answer to these questions is a resounding, “Yes!” Get ready to rewrite some policies! If not, keep reading.

Are there instances where a Core/Flex approach may not be the best option for your organization?

Absolutely. If your ultimate goal is cost control or cost savings, relying on a Core/Flex approach is not the best option. While there may be potential cost savings resulting from implementing a Core/Flex program, cost savings should not be the primary driver behind the consideration of a more flexible mobility policy. If your corporate culture is more hierarchical and patriarchal, a transition to a more flexible program may be met with significant resistance. AIRINC’s 2018 Mobility Outlook Survey indicated 31% of companies offering flexible policies still receive pushback on the cost of assignments.

In short, Core/Flex is not the answer for everyone. If you’re considering a more flexible approach to your global mobility program, ask yourself the following questions regarding your global mobility policies and programs:

  • Do they serve the organization’s long- and short-term business goals?
  • Do they deliver talent needs around the world?
  • What are the factors motivating the development of your mobility programs? 

While transitioning to a Core/Flex approach may work well for some organizations, there is still a place for more traditional policies. Helping answer the hard questions to ultimately determine which approach is best suited for your talent mobility program is our specialty. For guidance around whether Core/Flex policies are right for you, reach out to Global Consulting Services at globalconsultingservices@altairglobal.com.

Mary Beth Nitz, SCRP, SGMS-T, GPHR is vice president, global consulting services. She is responsible for the overall operations of Altair’s global consulting services team. Operations overseen by Mary Beth include: global policy design and benchmarking, policy and program-based best practices consulting, industry research and trending, and thought leadership including white papers, articles, webinars, and industry presentations.

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