A relocation management company (RMC) can function as an outsourced department of your company, managing the entire talent mobility process and equipping you with the technology to monitor your employee relocation program. For many companies, this is precisely their objective: to minimize their involvement in day-to-day relocation operations. Other companies prefer a higher level of involvement and consultation, at least for higher-profile relocations. This is always your choice. Regardless, when you need to relocate an employee, you initiate the move by simply contacting your RMC.
The Role of the RMC in the Client Relationship
The RMC provides an account manager (AM), who acts as your program manager and contact for any questions or issues. (RMCs use various titles for this position.) The account manager will:
- Manage the relationship and ensure that the RMC is delivering high-quality service in accord with its contractual obligations.
- Leverage his or her own expertise and the RMC’s in-house mobility consulting resources to provide benchmarking, best practices and global mobility trend information.
- Assist in developing and refining corporate relocation
- Deliver the program data needed for management reporting.
- Troubleshoot any issues with the mobility program overall, suppliers or individual moves.
- Monitor and report on VIP moves.
- Present relocation policy exception requests with recommendations.
- Manage special situations, such as group moves.
- Meet with you on an agreed schedule.
The Relationship Between the RMC and Relocating Employee
Most RMCs use a single point of responsibility model for relocating employees. The RMC will assign a relocation counselor (RC) to your relocating employees, who will serve as the employee’s primary point of contact and champion throughout the move. (RMCs use various titles for this position.)
The relocation counselor will:
- Contact the employee soon after you initiate the relocation.
- Conduct an in-depth needs analysis call to determine the employee’s personal situation, needs and expectations for the move
- Outline the employee’s relocation benefits and explain how the relocation process works.
- Explain the expense reimbursement process.
- Introduce the RMC’s relocation technology, providing login information and a walk-through.
- Maintain the employee’s information in the RMC’s service delivery technology.
- Coordinate and monitor the delivery of all supplier services.
- Establish and monitor the relocation timeline and meet all milestones.
- Troubleshoot any issues and work with suppliers and RMC management to resolve them.
- Remain in continual communication with the employee from initiation through settling in at the new location.
Introducing the RMC’s Supply Chain to the Process
The RMC’s staff typically provides overall program management, counseling and financial services directly, while managing a national or global network of suppliers that deliver supporting services. These include real estate partners, household goods movers, appraisers, inspectors, temporary housing companies, global destination service providers, visa and immigration specialists, language and cultural service companies and more.
The RMC has already sourced and vetted these suppliers and they work under detailed service level agreements. The suppliers act as an extension of the RMC and the RMC is responsible for their performance. This removes a large burden from clients, as there is no need to identify and manage these specialists to serve every company location. Additionally, because RMCs bring business from many clients to these suppliers, they receive more favorable pricing, which they can pass along to the client.
Importance of Relocation Technology in the Relationship
Another advantage of working with an RMC is the use of its relocation technology. The look and functionality of these systems varies from company to company, but they are essentially tools to manage the relocation process from three different perspectives: the RMC, the client and the relocating employee.
For the RMC, the technology helps to manage the relocation workflow. The system alerts the relocation counselor to milestones and deadlines and prompts the RC to take actions as required. It has profiles of the client’s relocation benefit packages and it will generally prevent the RC from authorizing a benefit for which the employee is not eligible. The RC can also use the system to communicate with relocating employees and supplier partners, with the system maintaining file notes.
For the client, the relocation technology powers detailed reporting and status information on individual employee relocations and the program overall. The systems allow clients to authorize new relocations, view invoices and employee expenses, review file notes and more.
For the relocating employee, the relocation technology outlines the relocation benefits, displays milestone dates and tasks, stores required forms and documentation and enables communication with the counselor. Some systems also support the expense reimbursement process and include other features, such as information on destination communities. Many systems include a mobile app for the relocating employee’s convenience.