Article: Striking a balance: Delivering a positive relocation experience and controlling costs

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Striking a balance: Delivering a positive relocation experience and controlling costs

The design and delivery of an employee relocation programme should reflect competitive, best-in-class practices that support the needs of both the organisation and employee.
Striking a balance: Delivering a positive relocation experience and controlling costs


The battle with COVID-19 has proven to be a long and weary one with different virus strains surfacing in numerous countries around the globe. Economies continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic and organisations struggle to navigate through these challenging times. Prudent spending and cost control have thus been at the forefront for organisations worldwide, but not at the expense of the employee relocation experience.

Previously, SIRVA’s white paper, Controlling the Costs of Mobility, explored the key influencers driving relocation costs and how to manage those costs. We now shift our focus to how companies can deliver a positive employee experience while still managing the relocation spend. For many programmes, the concept of managing costs equates to a reduction in the nature or level of support that is provided, which may negatively impact the relocation experience; however, reducing costs does not need to have this outcome.

This article examines why the employee experience should be a primary focus for organisations and highlights some best practices from a reputable global brand as they shed light on striking a delicate balance between the employee mobility experience and cost control.

Why is a positive employee experience important?

Today, as we continue to navigate through the pandemic, we are encountering a new reality that requires rethinking employee relocation. Employees’ changing expectations and the possibilities of flexible working arrangements are leading companies to reassess and reshape relocation.

Relocation opportunities are a way to attract and retain talent. The design and delivery of an employee relocation programme should reflect competitive, best-in-class practices that support the needs of both the organisation and employee. Organisations are seeing the significance of a positive and consistent employee experience against the backdrop of operating in a highly competitive global economy.

Some approaches that organisations are undertaking to bridge talent gaps via relocation programmes include enhancing communication among all stakeholders, building more flexibility into their programmes to support employee needs, and planning earlier within the relocation lifecycle for ongoing and post-relocation career development.

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Where cost reduction was not indicated as a requirement for programme owners, organisations noted that attracting and retaining existing talent was more important than cost reduction or cost containment (41%) or that costs were already at an acceptable level (31%). It is a positive sign that organisations are prioritising new and existing talent, and recruiting and talent development, over cost. They are also recognising that slashing costs is not the way to attract and retain the global talent with the right skills needed for their organisation to be successful. Having the right person, in the right role, at the right time is still critical to business success, and  employee relocation plays a significant role in supporting this priority.

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SIRVA's Mobility Report supports this, with 73% of respondents rating deploying talent as “extremely important” or “very important” to the overall success of their organisation. 

Case Study: How Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Achieves Positive Employee Experience While Controlling Costs

HPE is a global, edge-to-cloud Platform-as-a-Service company with over 60,000 employees worldwide. As a company with an extensive global footprint, they understand that their people are their biggest asset and employee experience is an area in which they are unwilling to compromise. HPE has long been enjoying success with their employee relocation programme without breaking the bank. Here’s a look at how they do things. 

Differentiated Investments A Key Driver to HPE’s Global Mobility Program

HPE’s mobility programme hinges on the concept of “differentiated investments” where managers are empowered to design relocation packages based on business strategy and the needs of the employees. Benefits are segmented into Basic, Moderate, and Enhanced depending on the move strategy, job level, and family size.

Pay for Performance Helps Retain Talent & Control Costs

HPE has successfully designed a Pay for Performance programme that ties incentive to relocation performance. An incentive will be paid according to an employee’s achievement toward the goals set for the assignment or transfer. This not only promotes the manager’s and employee’s engagement throughout the assignment period, but drives the employee’s achievement toward the assignment goal that eventually brings savings to the business.

A Well-Rounded Engagement Programme is Key to A Positive Employee Experience

At HPE, employees are actively involved in discussions with their managers at every step of the relocation process. Managers are tasked to clearly communicate the “why” of relocation to employees. Every move is seen as an opportunity for the growth of the employee, further investment in their careers, a chance to develop new teams and be exposed to new cultures, and the possibility of returning to be a new leader.

Clearly, cost rationalisation remains a top priority for employee relocation stakeholders, but it should never come at the expense of a positive employee experience. HPE has demonstrated the strategies they have undertaken to do that without incurring additional costs. Download this paper to read more about the examples and learning points from HPE. 

Please contact concierge@sirva.com to find out how we can help you balance your employees’ experience and cost control in your mobility program. 

This article was first published on SIRVA

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Employee Relations, #TotalRewards

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