Benefits and Compensation, Recruiting

How Employers Can Assist Employees with Relocation

Does your organization offer relocation assistance for employees? Many employers have opted to do so, especially in a tight labor market where some positions are difficult to fill in a specific geographic location.


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If this is something you provide, what does your organization offer besides paying to move household goods? There are many types of assistance and add-on options employers can offer to ease the entire relocation process.

Here are some examples of the types of relocation support employers may be able to offer:

  • Packing (and unpacking) assistance;
  • Spousal job search assistance;
  • Local mentorship (set the employee up with a local mentor so he or she has someone who can answer questions);
  • Relocation assistant (someone to help with the practical side of things, like advising where to get utilities set up and help looking for a home or a school district);
  • Company-paid trips to visit family and friends back home to ease the transition. This could be offered annually, for example;
  • Advance trips for the employee (and possibly his or her spouse or significant other) to get a feel for the new location and begin making initial arrangements;
  • An employer-paid temporary living space, such as a long-term hotel or short-term apartment rental for the transition period;
  • Help selling his or her current home. This may be in the form of real estate agent assistance or even buying the home and taking on the task of selling it so the employee doesn’t have the carrying costs;
  • Employer payments of fees to break leases or other contracts;
  • Advice and local information, such as public transportation info, neighborhood info, local attractions, school information, childcare info, lists of grocery options and restaurants, medical facilities, fitness facilities, etc. Help the employee find the basics; and
  • Additional flexibility during the initial transition. The employee will likely need time for miscellaneous tasks related to moving, and much of it will need to be completed during work hours, such as accepting deliveries.

Of course, it goes without saying that the employer will also need to ensure that the moving company is reputable and has good insurance if anything goes awry.

The employer could opt to do any or all of these things; some organizations provide a relocation allowance so employees can choose which things are most important and so they have some cash to help with inevitable miscellaneous expenses.

No matter what benefits are offered, be clear up front with candidates about what type of relocation assistance will be available. Consider including relocation basics in the job description if it’s assumed a candidate will be relocating.

Last but certainly not least, consider creating a clear relocation policy. This can help you be fair, but it also can set guidelines for the initial conversation. Have guidelines in place for which aspects of the relocation are negotiable and which are not. Make similar offers to similarly situated individuals, as this is a component of pay and should be fair.

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