Benefits and Compensation

Should You Offer Relocation Assistance?

Relocation assistance is something that not all employers offer but could be worthwhile to consider. Some employers think that the expense is too great to be justified, while others think that it opens many doors and allows them access to candidates they never would have otherwise found.

It’s worth noting that relocation assistance can be provided at any stage in an employee’s career. It may be relocation as part of the initial job offering—locating that person where the job is when they first join the organization. Or it may mean offering relocation assistance as part of a transfer or promotion for an existing employee.

Let’s take a look at some of the various pros and cons to offering a relocation assistance benefit for employees.

Pros of Offering Relocation Assistance

Here are some of the reasons employers opt to offer relocation assistance to employees. Doing so could mean:

  • You have a much wider pool of talent to chose from, as you can take applications from almost anywhere.
  • A tough-to-fill role may be easier to find candidates for. This is especially relevant for employers who find themselves facing skills shortages in their local areas.
  • Employees will see the employer is investing in them, which can improve retention and recruiting.
  • The employer may have more options locally. For example, if the organization offers relocation for an existing employee to take a promotion, it may mean the resulting vacancy (theirs) is easier to fill locally than the other one was.
  • Some employees may stay onboard longer. Offering to relocate people as part of a promotion can be a way to keep them employed with the organization longer, especially in cases where growth is slower in their current location.
  • Some new talent may now be willing to consider the organization. Being known as an organization who is willing to relocate employees may be a significant recruiting tool. It may mean people will apply who may have been otherwise reluctant to do so because they may view it as evidence that there is upward mobility and opportunity in the organization.

Cons of Offering Relocation Assistance

Here are some of the reasons employers may shy away from offering relocation assistance.

  • Expense. The most obvious drawback to providing this benefit is the cost. Relocation can get expensive quickly, which is why most employers who offer it are quite clear on what it does and does not cover and what caps apply.
  • Administration. Relocation has a lot of moving parts (no pun intended!). Any time an employer takes on any portion of that there will be considerable administration (and associated costs) involved. The employer will need to have dedicated staff and/or third parties to manage the benefit.
  • Risk. There’s always a risk that an employer will foot the bill for relocation, only to have the employee not stay onboard for long. Some employers combat this risk much the way they would with a signing bonus—by making some or all of the relocation expenses be the employee’s responsibility to reimburse the employer if they do not remain with the organization for x months or years. Be careful with this, however, as it could easily backfire.

As you can see, the cons are straightforward, but there are ways to mitigate them if the employer wants to proceed with the relocation assistance benefit.

Does your organization offer relocation assistance? If not, is this something they’re considering for the future?