Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to questions our global mobility specialists frequently receive.

Questions We’re Asked Most Often

What is global mobility in HR?

Global mobility is a more contemporary term for global relocation. Because mobility is a benefit, companies often group it within their human resources function. Global mobility can refer specifically to international relocation or more broadly to all types of employee relocation, including domestic relocation within the U.S.

What is a global mobility specialist?

“Global mobility specialist” can refer to a relocation management company employee who works with relocating employees, or to an employee who manages employee relocation activity for his or her company.

What does a global mobility specialist do?

A global mobility specialist at a relocation management company usually assists relocating employees with all the varied aspects of their relocation. A corporate relocation specialist usually manages all or part of the company’s relocation function, including working with company employees who are relocating and coordinating services with an outside relocation management company or other providers.

What is a relocation program?

A relocation program includes a formal relocation policy or policies that outline the company’s relocation benefits, explain who is eligible and describe how the company administers the program. A relocation program can be very simple, such as a fixed, lump-sum payment or quite complex, such as a global relocation program with many different policies.

Many smaller companies do not have a relocation program and either offer no relocation assistance or take an ad hoc approach for each move. Even if the volume is small, it is better to outline a consistent policy, to control costs and employee expectations. A relocation program belongs to a company, but companies frequently retain an outside relocation management company to administer the program.

What is employee relocation?

Employee relocation occurs when companies ask current or newly hired employees to move to another company location for their job. Companies usually offer these employees a relocation package to help defray the cost of the move. This can take the form of a lump sum of money or more targeted benefits to help sell the home/end the lease, find a new home, move the household goods and more. Companies use employee relocation to place talent where it is needed and to develop their employees.

What is talent mobility?

Talent mobility is another term for employee relocation. Companies deploy employees—talent—to the physical location where their skills are needed. Companies choose to move employees because they cannot find the desired talent locally, because they need a current employee’s skills in another location or because they wish to develop employees by exposing them to different locations and parts of the company. Talent mobility expands a company’s potential hiring pool and can help the company to achieve its business objectives.

What is domestic relocation?

In America, domestic relocation refers to a company-sponsored move from one U.S. location to another U.S. location.

How do corporate relocation packages work?

To incentivize employees to accept a move to another company location, many companies offer a package of relocation benefits. This can be a simple lump sum of money, reimbursement of approved relocation costs as they occur or a more comprehensive array of benefits.

Companies often tie the relocation package contents and value to the employee’s job level and/or homeowner/renter status (with more senior employees and homeowners receiving more generous benefits). Most companies expect to defray some of the employee’s relocation costs, not absorb the entire cost of the move. Employees do not always realize this, so companies should ensure that they are aware of the costs for which they will be responsible.

Companies have moved towards having formal, written corporate relocation policies that spell out what is included and what is not. These policies should reflect the company’s overall culture and philosophy on employee benefits, as well as the competitive situation within its industry. Relocation benefits can represent a substantial expense for a company, so many companies ask their relocating employees to sign a repayment agreement. If the employee leaves the company within a year or two after the move, he or she is responsible for reimbursing the company for all or part of the relocation costs.

What is a reasonable relocation package?

A typical relocation package:

  • Includes sufficient financial incentive to persuade the employee to accept the relocation and complete the move
  • Reflects the employee’s job level and expectations (college grads vs. executives)
  • Includes essential services to enable the employee to work in the new location (such as visa and immigration services for international assignments)
  • Ideally includes some element of employee choice so that the benefits meet the individual employee’s needs
  • Is sufficient to keep the company competitive as it vies for the best talent

How much is the average relocation package?

Relocation package values vary widely, depending on the company, industry, scope of the relocation and employee job level. According to Worldwide ERC®, it costs about $24k to relocate a transferee who rents their home and about $70k to relocate a homeowner.

The relocation benefit packages can take different shapes (or can be as simple as a lump sum of money), but they must be sufficient to entice the employee to move and to keep your company competitive in your industry. A relocation management company has knowledge of industry norms and can help you to benchmark your relocation policy.

What does a relocation package cover?

The overarching goals for a relocation package are to help the employee dispose of the current home (sell or terminate the lease), find a new home and move any household goods. International moves will also include visa and immigration services to ensure the employee and family can live and work legally in the host location and usually other settling-in services as well.

Companies usually do not cover 100 percent of the cost of a relocation, but help to defray the costs to the employee. Your budget, company culture and the competitive environment of your industry will help you to determine the extent of benefits you provide.

The simplest packages are a lump sum of money that the employee can spend as needed. More comprehensive packages include homesale assistance programs and more generous allowances to cover other relocation expenses.

How do companies help with relocation?

Many companies offer financial assistance and other support to employees who accept a relocation. The simplest help is a lump sum of money that the employee can spend as needed to defray the cost of the move. More extensive assistance would include helping the employee to sell the departure home (or break the lease), find a new home and move any household goods.

Most companies with regular relocation activity contract with a relocation management company (RMC) to help. The RMC can help the company to develop and refine policies, benchmark them against competitors and make recommendations based on best practices. The RMC handles the details of the move, counseling the employees; coordinating real estate, household goods and other services; providing relocation technology tools; processing expense reimbursements; and reporting to the client. The RMC earns most of its revenue from a share of the real estate referral fees, so the cost of using an RMC is negligible for the company.

How much do companies pay for relocation assistance?

Relocation assistance varies widely, depending on the company, industry, scope of the relocation and employee job level. The relocation benefit packages can take different shapes (or can be as simple as a lump sum of money), but they must be sufficient to entice the employee to move and to keep your company competitive in your industry. A relocation management company has knowledge of industry norms and can help you to benchmark your policy.

How do relocation companies work?

Relocation management companies (RMCs) help companies move current and new employees from one company location to another. Today, many companies fully outsource relocation programs to an RMC, but some use RMCs to administer only parts of their program.

In a fully outsourced program with a homesale benefit, the RMC manages the entire relocation process for employees, including counseling on benefits, selling the departure home (or terminating the lease), finding a new home, moving the household goods, reimbursing expenses and more. For global moves, the RMCs also coordinate the visa and immigration and school search processes and other global services included in the company’s policy. For simpler lump sum programs, the RMC administers the lump sum payment to the employee.

RMCs offer global mobility technology to help clients monitor their programs and to help employees track the progress of their moves, submit expenses and more. They also work with clients to develop and refine their policies and benchmark them against industry peers. RMCs earn most of their revenue from real estate referral fees, so the cost of the RMC’s services is a small part of the company’s relocation budget.

If my company hires you to provide relocation services, is there a cost to me?

Each client’s policy is different, but TRC’s contract is with your employer and they are responsible for contracted charges. If you request additional services outside the scope of your employer’s benefits, your employer must approve this request, and they would decide if you are responsible for the cost of any of these added benefits.

Can TRC move my household goods?

No. TRC is a full-service, employee relocation firm that partners with corporations to relocate their employees throughout the US and worldwide. While we provide household goods moving services as part of our overall relocation service, we do not provide these services to individuals on an a la carte basis.

My company doesn’t have a relocation program or benefits. Do you offer services directly to individuals?

Generally speaking, we are unable to provide relocation services directly to individuals.

Are you affiliated with a particular real estate company?

No. TRC is an independent, employee-owned company; we are not affiliated with any real estate brand. Our real estate network is made up of carefully selected and qualified brokers and agents across the U.S. They represent a variety of national brands and local, independent companies.

Do you offer services outside the U.S?

Yes; we can deliver relocation and assignment management services in more than 150 countries.

Can I sell my own home and find a new one on my own and just get a cash allowance, instead of using TRC’s services?

This also depends on your employer’s policy. Generally speaking, you can elect to use the benefits your employer offers or you can decline them.

How do I find out more about becoming a TRC service partner?

Please complete our company contact form.