In a time of talent shortages and an ever more connected world, employee relocation can give your company a leg up on your competition. However, with its intersection of talent, tax policy, technology, immigration regulations and other moving parts, global mobility is complex and help from expert relocation specialists become essential. Yet many growing companies have no idea how to find the help they need to support domestic reassignments and international relocations.
For many companies, employee relocation begins in an ad hoc way. There are no polices and few precedents, so the program often consists of a straightforward reimbursement of relocation expenses as they occur. If this describes your company, then this is an excellent time to consider a formal, outsourced relationship with a relocation management company (RMC) and well-thought-out relocation policies.
Steps to Take Before Issuing the Request for Proposal (RFP)
A qualified RMC can help you to ensure you are offering the relocation support needed to meet your recruitment, retention and talent mobility objectives while minimizing tax exposure for your company and your employees. To make sure you engage the top corporate relocation companies during your RFP process, there are threes steps to take internally that when completed, will result in a more comprehensive and accurate RFP.
Step #1: Assessing Your Needs
Before you reach out to relocation management companies, give some thought to the level of relocation support you want to provide. Think about previous relocation activity, if any, and the benefits you offered. Do you have a typical relocation package or have the benefits varied? How did the relocating employees respond to the assistance you provided?
If you have no experience with relocation, you will want to consider:
- Your company culture
- Your overall approach to benefits (are you a leader in your industry, competitive or conservative?
- The competition for talent in your industry.
You do not need to have a formal plan or all the answers at this stage but rather a good sense of where you would like to end up with the RMC’s help. This preliminary thinking will help you to determine the shape of your program and to choose among the top corporate relocation companies to find the one that’s right for you.
In addition to learning about your culture, relocation management companies will ask you specific questions about your anticipated program to create and price a solution. These include:
- How many people do you expect to move within the US annually? Globally?
- How many are homeowners? Renters?
- Where are your typical move locations?
- Do you plan to assist employees in selling their homes?
- What are your “pain points” or recurring relocation problems?
Step #2: Your Company’s Selection Team
Your company should designate a corporate relocation program manager to manage the search process and ultimately, to own the RMC relationship. This is often an HR or benefits manager. You should also consider including other HR stakeholders, recruiters and a payroll or finance representative in the selection process, since they will touch your relocation program.
If your company has a formal procurement department or function, it will likely dictate the specifics of your search process. There might be requirements for the number or types of companies to consider or specific terms or requirements the companies must meet to do business with your company. Procurement professionals can be a big help in managing the process, but it is critical that that process centers on your needs, not just finding the lowest bidder.
Step #3: Developing a List of Top Corporate Relocation Companies
If you do a simple web search for “relocation companies” or a similar phrase, you are sure to be overwhelmed with the number of results. The results will include not only full-service relocation management companies but also household goods carriers, real estate companies and other providers that operate in this space. For a fully outsourced program, you will want to focus on full-service relocation management companies, not companies that offer only a partial relocation solution. Full-service RMCs manage the related suppliers in areas such as real estate and household goods transportation as part of their service, removing that burden from you.
A good way to narrow your search is to consult the online supplier directories of Worldwide ERC® (Employee Relocation Council) and the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM®). Worldwide ERC® is the premier industry association for the talent mobility field. SHRM® is the foremost authority on human resources disciplines, including employee mobility. (Beware of web searches for the “best relocation companies” and the like, as these lists are highly subjective and often more of a marketing tool than an objective analysis.) You can visit the websites of member companies and develop an initial list of companies that are of interest.
Next Steps in Finding the Right Corporate Relocation Management Company
Once you have an initial list of potential partners, the next step is to request a proposal from your group of RMCs or to issue a Request for Information (RFI). For a step-by-step guide on the next steps to take, download the Relocation 101 eBook to learn more about:
1. Issuing an RFIs and RFPs;
2. Evaluating potential relocation service partners and pricing proposals; and
3. Establishing a relationship with the selected relocation management company.