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May 29, 2014 / Molly Moseley

Is Relocation Assistance a Must for Attracting Top Talent?

The Great Recession hit the employment landscape hard, and while new hires dipped in companies across the country, so too did the benefits used to attract new employees. Relocation assistance became much less common, but recently companies are realizing again how a competitive program can help fill open roles with quality people.

Why should a company offer relocation assistance? Because top talent doesn’t always reside in your backyard. To secure the best of the best, you often need to broaden your reach. If you’re trying to lure a candidate from one coast to another, it’s a given he or she will ask about relocation funding.

Think about it – moving is a timely and costly affair, especially if it’s long-distance. An employee may not have thousands of dollars to fund the move in order to start a new job, and furthermore, even if they have the money, they might not want to use it for that purpose.

Companies may need to consider a relocation program just to stay competitive. 41 percent of companies saw relocation volumes increase in 2013, according to Atlas Van Lines’ corporate relocation survey. On average, companies relocated 10 to 19 employees in 2013. Volumes are expected to continue at similar rates or increase in 2014.

If you don’t currently have a relocation program, now is the perfect time to consider implementing one. Keep in mind that relocation programs can vary from a basic bonus meant to help offset the cost of a move to full assistance that includes hiring packers, movers and even purchasing the employee’s current house.

Consider these ideas when establishing a new employee relocation program or evaluating the current one:

  • Specify a distance threshold which must be met before qualification. For example, assistance is provided for all employees who live 100 miles or more from the office space.
  • Require a signed repayment agreement that states employees agree to repay the relocation benefit if they choose to leave before reaching a certain amount of service time. Many employers choose a year for this designation.
  • Make sure it is clear to the employee that relocation is a benefit and subject to taxes.
  • Relocation logistics can be complex. If the company can afford to do so, consider hiring a specialized firm to manage the relocation process.
  • Many companies choose to offer relocation assistance only to higher-level employees. Establish guidelines or “pay grades” for which assistance would be approved. Funding can also be a carrot offered for difficult-to-hire positions helping to tip the scales in your favor.

The economy continues to prove it’s recovering, so now is the ideal time to for your company to ensure it has the edge needed to attract top talent that will help boost future growth. Part of that initiative should include an appropriate relocation program.