December 13, 2016

Two Birds With One Stone: Flexible Relocation Approaches that Help Control Costs

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Two Birds With One Stone: Flexible Relocation Approaches that Help Control Costs

As the economic climate changes and companies evolve, relocation professionals are tasked with navigating through a complex global relocation landscape – and managing costs throughout the process. Interestingly, while compliance and compensation issues – often beyond a company’s control – can certainly drive cost increases, factors mentioned most frequently by our clients are well within a company’s ability to regulate. Recently, Cindy Madden, director of Consulting Solutions at Cartus, wrote an article, entitled “Controlling Relocation Costs,” for Bloomberg BNA. The article offers practical advice on how companies are streamlining costs associated with the relocation process.

Reducing costs through relocation program flexibility 

One of many examples in the article addresses how more flexibility in relocation programs can greatly reduce costs. While this may come as a surprise to clients who are concerned about a growing number of exception requests, or managers making decisions outside of established company policies, greater “planned” flexibility actually results in a reduced need for exceptions, thus, benefitting their bottom lines.

Core-flex programs are a perfect way to accomplish flexibility. Instead of utilizing one plan for all employees – which may include benefits that one employee might not need while excluding other benefits that they do – core-flex programs allow companies to customize individual relocation packages around a standard set of core benefits. They cater to the specific needs of each assignee, while honoring a company’s established parameters and budget. Roughly 40 percent of our clients in a roundtable meeting said that their companies have been utilizing core-flex policies. These same companies noted that these plans greatly reduced exceptions, and core-flex approaches even prove to be particularly successful in offering a higher relocation allowance.

In our Trends in Global Relocation: Biggest Challenges survey, 78 percent of participating global relocations managers cited controlling relocation costs as their number-one challenge when facilitating moves. Seventy-six percent of respondents cited a need for greater flexibility, with the two predominant drivers being budget constraints and changing employee needs. Simultaneously flexible and manageable, core-flex policies meet all of these needs and concerns, reducing costs while meeting the varying needs of employees and their families.

Other ways to introduce flexibility in relocation programs

In addition to core-flex programs, there are many ways clients can control costs while offering an improved assignee experience. From administrative process improvements and an emergence of new move types, to compiling and regularly examining data (e.g., who is utilizing a company’s relocation plan offerings and how?), companies can design and implement relocation policies that meet a variety of needs. We encourage you to read Cindy’s article for a more in-depth view of these practices, or to contact us directly for more information, at

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Cartus Communications

About Cartus

Cartus is the trusted industry leader, offering guidance on a wide range of topics related to global relocation using expertise gained through more than four million moves and a diverse client base.

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