The landscape of talent mobility policies is shifting in 2024, driven by various external factors and evolving workforce needs. Looking ahead, companies must adapt their domestic relocation policies to these trends to attract and retain talent while aligning with their business goals and overall culture.

Identifying the most relevant trends in employee relocation and how they can impact your company’s workforce is the first step. Once you understand these trends, you can then evaluate how you can incorporate your own relocation policy best practices into your own mobility policy. Below we look at domestic relocation policy best practices specifically around program models and policy tiers.

Program Models

Employee relocation programs vary in complexity and scope. Traditional or full-service programs still retain a slight edge in popularity over managed cap and core-flex programs, but your company’s culture should guide your choice.

#1 Full-Service Program

A full-service program includes a comprehensive suite of benefits and services designed to streamline the relocation experience for employees and their families. This model, characterized by its structured framework, encompasses most if not all, aspects of the move without imposing a monetary cap. Even companies that have incorporated more flexible policies often retain a full-service relocation benefit for senior executives or indispensable talent, underscoring its proven effectiveness.

#2 Managed Cap Program

Managed cap programs, also known as managed lump sum or managed budget models, are gaining traction. These offer a pre-determined monetary amount, which can be consistent across policy tiers or vary from employee to employee. The amount may be negotiated or determined by relocation location, family size, or employee grade level.

These programs allow employees to choose the benefits that best suit their needs until they reach the monetary cap. These managed cap amounts can differ significantly among companies, making it challenging to benchmark the relocation policy.

#3 Core-Flex Program

Core-flex programs, which continue to grow in popularity, have a two-tiered benefit structure. The ‘core’ includes essential benefits provided without budget limitations, while the ‘flex’ offers a selection of menu benefits that employees can choose based on their needs, up to a predetermined limit.

#4 Lump Sum Program

Lump sum programs typically serve as an entry-level or new hire tier within a mobility platform rather than a standalone platform. It’s crucial to note that standard lump sum policies generally require employees to manage their relocations independently, with assistance from a relocation management company limited to funds disbursement.

Trend(s) to Watch:

Managed cap and core-flex programs continue to grow in popularity as they satisfy the employer’s need for cost containment and the transferring employee’s desire for flexibility. This trend is not expected to slow down anytime soon. Lump sum programs can be useful for entry-level employees with few possessions or obligations but can result in a substandard customer experience for more established talent.

Policy Tiers

Implementing a tiered policy program is the most effective way to ensure fairness and equity for relocating employees. Well-constructed tiered policies align with corporate goals and provide suitable relocation experiences based on each employee’s circumstances while controlling relocation costs.

Policy tiers are usually based on homeowner/renter status or employee grade level. Under both approaches, there is typically a top or executive tier, encompassing homeowners and renters without budget constraints.

Publishing the different tiers and effectively communicating the associated benefits promotes transparency and discourages water cooler discussions about potential inequities. Transparency fosters trust in the relocation process and the company’s commitment to fairness.

Trend(s) to Watch:

Some companies had further broken down their tiers into current employees versus new hires as a cost containment strategy. However, most companies have abandoned these tier classifications due to intense competition for talent and the increasing demand for equity and transparency.

More companies are adopting short-term domestic assignment policies to mitigate costs and offer flexibility for employees who do not want to move permanently. These programs primarily focus on project-based tasks or knowledge transfer.

The number and complexity of policies can vary significantly from one company to another. Today, companies have an average of four relocation policies within their domestic relocation program. However, smaller companies with fewer relocations may have just one or two policies. Conversely, larger companies may have more policies to accommodate diverse relocation scenarios and employee levels. TRC has generally observed an increase in policy tiers since the pandemic and subsequent re-evaluation of client policies.

Ready to Learn More About Domestic Relocation Policy Best Practices in 2024?  Download TRC’s latest ebook, to explore:

  • New ways to make your employee relocation package both competitive and cost-effective;
  • Relocation benefits that might be worth reconsidering;
  • Steps to jump-start your corporate relocation policy review process; and
  • How to improve your current domestic relocation policy to produce successful outcomes.

Download the relocation policy best practices eBook today and get ahead of the curve on your employee relocation policy.


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