Why do you need a policy?
“Fairness and equity are the cornerstones of HR practice,” Heather explains. “If your assignees receive different levels of support, dissatisfaction is sure to follow, unless you have a clear policy in place that defines the support that different groups of assignees get and why.”
Having a policy is also good for the bottom line. By clearly identifying what relocation support services are available and putting together an overall plan, your business can correctly budget for each assignment, and there are less surprises and unforeseen costs.
In addition, you gain a strong recruitment tool. A policy demonstrates to potential employees who are considering accepting a role within your organisation, the ways in which they will be supported should their new position involve an international relocation.
How to write a global mobility policy
Many consultancies sell ‘off the shelf’ policies. They’re a good start, but unless they’re tailored to meet the needs of your organisation and help achieve strategic goals, they’re worthless.
Thankfully, writing your own policy doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Heather shares her top tips for creating your first mobility policy (or updating an old one).
- Keep it simple – Yes, the large corporations of this world have a suite of complex mobility policies, tailored to meet different business needs and to support different groups of employees. You may need that in the future, but for now, something simple is fine if it meets your company’s needs.
- Ensure compliance – We can’t stress this enough, whatever your write must be compliant from a legal, tax and immigration point of view. Always seek advice internally, and from external groups and advisors too if needed.
- Define your strategy – Talk to your business leaders. Your corporate strategy drives your reward strategy which drives your mobility strategy and policies. The Global Mobility team is not an ‘island’ within the business, it’s an enabler to support the business to achieve its strategic goals, and you can’t presume to know what the business needs. Find out who is relocating, why, where to, for how long?
- Target your support – A business-critical project to what’s known as a ‘hardship location’ (a country where living conditions are less than ideal) might mean offering assignees more support (and cash) than if you were relocating them to the sunny Caribbean. It’s ok to differentiate, as long as there is a clearly defined policy rationale.
- Engage with mobility experts – Join a global mobility networking group, connect with specialists in the relocation industry, read the latest research, talk to a relocation company, and find out what is happening in the sector in which your business operates. This will help you to benchmark the support you offer and decide how best to structure it.
- Be competitive – To recruit and retain the best talent, your policies should be on par with what the market is offering.
- Talk to your assignees – If you’ve already moved some employees, did the support you provided meet their needs? If not, what should change?
- Tap internal resources – Talk to your payroll and tax teams. They may have the necessary expertise. If not, seek external advice and consider what you should outsource.
- Consider a ‘core-flex’ policy – You must include certain ‘core’ elements, such as tax and immigration, while other elements can be ‘flex’, such as destination services or spousal support. Employees then select services that they would like based on a budget or an allocated number of points. It can be more cost effective, and it ensures that employees receive support in areas that really matter to them.
- Take a bird’s eye view – Consider how your policy integrates with other HR policies and initiatives such as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I), and remote and hybrid working policies.
Implementing and optimising your policy
Once you’ve gathered all the information, you’re ready to create your policy. Ensure that you consult with the leaders in your organisation throughout the process and incorporate their feedback to ensure that the policy meets the needs of the business.
Lastly, train your managers. “It’s important that they understand who the relocation policy is there to support and how it will impact budgets,” Heather says.
Request regular feedback from your key stakeholders, including employees and managers. Change what isn’t working. Do this continuously, not just once a year. Things can move fast, particularly in the wake of COVID.
Creating your first global mobility policy may seem like a daunting task. However, once it’s in place, you can continue to evolve and develop the support over time, enabling your organisation and its employees to continue to achieve their mobility goals.
For support creating global mobility policies for your organisation, request a callback from one of our HR Mobility Consultants.
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