Your Relocation Package – Time for a Makeover

The traditional relocation package is getting a makeover! That’s because corporations are determined to attract and retain top talent while taking a more inclusive approach. Competing for talent, retaining star performers and attracting talent to relocate requires more innovative thinking than before. And it requires more focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, your top candidate’s household may not conform to what was once considered a “traditional family.” Additionally, employers are concerned about isolation and loneliness among employees – particularly those who move alone. They are evaluating new strategies to help singles accept relocation assignments and ensure a smooth transition.

These relocation trends are causing organizations to change the language in their relocation packages and even give their policies a makeover to appeal to a broader population of employees. Here are a few points to consider as you refresh your relocation package.

Relocation Package is About Households

With millennials delaying marriage, people concurrently caring for parents/children, and society adopting a more inclusive attitude, the word, “family” is often used in much broader terms than before. Many employers are preferring the term, “household,” rather than family. These employers don’t want to take the position of defining who is in their employee’s “family.” For that reason, you’ll begin to see the term “household” eclipsing references to “family.”

Spousal Assistance is Dead, Long Live Spousal Assistance

These days a dual-income household is the norm, and offering spousal assistance to help spouse/partners find employment in the new city is also commonly part of a relocation package. After all, when an employee gets an offer to relocate, odds are no one wants to see the other wage earner in the household suffer lost wages or career derailment.

But while job search assistance is more important than ever, it’s likely we’ll see the words, “spousal assistance,” “spousal job search,” or “spouse/partner support” going away as organizations start to modernize their corporate relocation policies.

Expect to see two main changes to what we once called spousal assistance. First, it’s not just about the job search.  Second, it’s not likely to remain just for spouses.

The benefit we call “spousal assistance”’ may be better referred to as “New Location Integration Services” today. This is a more inclusive term, referring to a broader, all-encompassing benefit that can include a variety of services – not just job search – to help those involved assimilate.

The other change is that job search assistance that currently is limited to spouse/partners may even expand to include household adults rather than just spouse/partners. Rather than focus on the specifics of the relationship, some employers may just consider any adult that’s making the move with the employee as “accompanying talent.” They may broaden the offer of integration services to siblings, close friends, and other relatives – other adults who agree to make the move with your employee and become part of the household.

What is New Location Integration Service?

New Location Integration service is a solution that helps you retain talent and helps fulfill the duty of care responsibility. New location integration is an umbrella term that can include a number of services such as job search assistance. In short, it’s about coaching someone to feel fully acclimated and comfortable. Such coaching can include helping someone assimilate into a new work role, or helping someone find schools and childcare or programs for children who are engaged in elite sports or unique activities and hobbies. The coach may also act as an ally and mentor to help people – especially introverted singles – join groups, meet people and form new social networks.


Coaching for Success in New City, New Job, New Role

A relationship with an expert relocation coach can help someone ward off loneliness and successfully integrate into the new city. In a nutshell, moving is a huge transition that affects not just one person’s career – but affects a whole household’s well-being – physically, mentally, and financially.  New location integration services connect people with a trusted and knowing coach – someone who understands the demands and often the trauma of moving. Coaching can be the difference maker between relocation success and failure – in the eyes of both the talent and the employer.

Fortune Magazine stated that 40% of new executive leaders fail in the first 18 months. Taking on a new position can be stressful enough without having to acclimate to an unfamiliar zip code. Coaching programs (especially 30-, 60-, and 90-day plans) can help individuals conquer new roles.

IMPACT Group’s research shows that integration assistance has a direct tie to boosting performance and well-being at work. In fact, our studies have found that when employees receive integration assistance,

  • 75% are highly engaged after the move
  • 73% are more productive at work3


Loneliness, Singles and Relocation Retention

Cigna’s 2020 Loneliness and the Workplace study found that, in an average month, lonely workers report that they think about quitting their job more than twice as often as non-lonely workers. The loneliest age group, according to the study, is Gen Z (including those 22 – 24 years-old in 2021.)

“We learned from our survey that loneliness is increasing across the United States and that people who are lonely are less engaged at work and feel less productive at work,” said Dr. Doug Nemecek, chief medical officer for Behavioral Health at Cigna, a global health services company that offers employer-based insurance.

“Employers need to understand the impact social connections have,” said Nemecek. “We are all social beings, and it’s important for wellness to have connections and relationships with other people,” he noted.

Things have only worsened since the global pandemic. According to the March 2021 issue of Fortune Magazine, your lonely employees are a serious threat to workplace productivity. “We were already in a pandemic when COVID struck: The loneliness pandemic,” says Fortune.

According to a study commissioned by the United Kingdom, loneliness is as bad for people’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes daily. Such findings prompted the UK government to create a Ministry of Loneliness position in 2018.

This data on loneliness should be taken into account as corporations refresh relocation packages. Perhaps the most likely employees to experience loneliness, poor health, and loss of productivity are relocating singles – especially those in their 20s.

Concerns about loneliness eroding employee wellness and productivity may cause employers to consider promoting a relocation buddy system in which single employees are encouraged to move with someone else – a close friend or relative. Encouragement could come in the form of low-cost incentives such as job search assistance for the companion (aka accompanying talent).


The Relocation Package: Why the Changes?

Corporations are more focused on attracting a more diverse population of employees – not just ones with traditional households. Some relocation experts say that the global 2020 pandemic opened the eyes of many employers as to their responsibility in terms of employee well-being and duty of care. It’s not just about ensuring household possessions arrive safe and sound. It’s about everyone feeling safe, sound, productive, and included.


What’s Expected in a Relocation Package Now?

Need to get talent to the right places in 2022?  It’s time to review your relocation and assignment policy. Are you offering the depth and breadth of services that today’s talent expects as they commit to an employer and a new home? By continuing to use terms like, “family” or “spousal assistance,” you may be turning off potential talent. Focus on the big picture. New Location Integration services will go a long way in attracting and retaining talent – and accompanying talent. Today’s new location integration services – especially those enriched by a strong relocation/job search coaching component – will help you address your duty of care obligation.

And think outside the box. Do you really want a lonely, miserable employee? How many of your best talent prospects might accept a move if they didn’t have to move alone?  What if you offered services to anyone in the household planning to move with your talent?  Extending a low-cost benefit such as job search assistance ($2,000 – $5,000) might be what it takes to get your top candidate to move.  Then, employees can invite someone else — spouse, partner, sibling, cousin or future roommate — to accompany them on the move.

To learn more about what’s reshaping relocation strategy, check out this study now.