An international relocation is a significant life event that can cause stress for both employers and employees. A good relocation policy can facilitate an easier transition for all parties involved. Following on from an earlier post, Why You Need an Employee Relocation Policy, we’ve outlined the most essential components of an international relocation policy, along with helpful hints to guide your company through this process.
How to Create Your Company’s International Relocation Policy
Developing an international relocation policy for your company can be a complex process because it involves numerous factors and considerations. However, you can take several steps to ensure that your policy is effective and meets the needs of your company and its employees. Here is our eight-step plan to get you started:
- Define the purpose and scope of the policy: You should define the purpose and scope of your relocation policy before you start writing it. This includes determining why a relocation policy is necessary, who it applies to, and what it will cover. You should also consider any legal or compliance requirements that may impact your policy.
- Identify the key stakeholders: Once you have defined the purpose and scope of your policy, you should identify the key stakeholders who will be involved in its creation and implementation. This may include HR, finance, legal, and senior management, as well as any employees who will be affected by the policy.
- Gather information and research best practices: It is essential to gather information and research best practices before developing your international relocation policy. This could involve reviewing existing policies from other companies, consulting with industry experts, and soliciting feedback from employees and other stakeholders. You should also think about any applicable laws, regulations, and industry standards.
- Develop the policy framework: You can start developing the framework for your relocation policy using the information and research you’ve gathered. This should include the eligibility criteria, financial support, including details on available benefits, the documentation and approval process, and any other relevant considerations for your company.
- Draft the policy and seek feedback: Once you have developed the framework for your policy, you can begin drafting the policy itself. This should be done in consultation with the key stakeholders, and any feedback or input they may have should be considered. It is critical that the policy be clear, concise, and simple to understand.
- Review and finalise the policy: After drafting the policy, it’s important to review it carefully and ensure that it meets all legal and compliance requirements, as well as the needs of your company and its employees. Consider piloting the policy with a small group of employees before implementing it more broadly.
- Communicate and implement the policy: Once the policy has been finalised, it’s important to communicate it clearly to all employees who will be affected by it. This could include holding information sessions, providing written materials that are distributed to all employees or made available on the company’s intranet, or using other forms of communication such as newsletters and social media. It’s important to ensure that the policy is effectively implemented by clearly defining roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders involved.
- Monitor and Evaluate: Monitor the policy’s implementation and evaluate its effectiveness over time. Collect feedback from employees who have been relocated and use it to improve the policy as needed. Review the policy on a regular basis to ensure that it is still relevant and effective for the company and its employees.
By following these steps, you can create an international relocation policy that meets the needs of your company and its employees while also ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Remember that it’s important to review and update your policy regularly to ensure that it remains effective and relevant over time.
Elements of an International Relocation Policy
An international relocation policy typically includes a range of benefits and assistance to help make the relocation process smoother and less stressful for the employee and their family, ensuring a successful transition to the new country.
The specific benefits and assistance included in an international relocation policy may vary depending on the company’s needs and the employee’s situation. It’s important to work with a relocation specialist like Klippa or a human resources professional to create a policy that meets the needs of both the company and its employees.
Some common benefits and assistance included in an international relocation policy are listed below.
- Visa and Immigration Assistance: Obtaining work permits, visas, and other necessary documentation can be a complex and time-consuming process. Providing assistance to employees and their families in this area can help ease the stress of relocation and ensure that they are able to legally work and live in the new country.
- Travel Expenses: Reimbursing travel expenses, such as airfare and transportation to and from the airport, can help offset the cost of relocation and make the process more affordable for the employee.
- Temporary Housing: Finding a permanent residence in a new country can take some time. Providing temporary housing for the employee and their family can help them feel comfortable and settled while they search for a permanent home.
- Long-Term Housing: Finding a permanent residence in a new country can be challenging, particularly for employees unfamiliar with the local real estate market, rental laws, or customs. Employers may offer assistance to help employees and their families find a permanent residence in the new country.
- Moving Expenses: Moving personal belongings and household goods to a new country can be an expensive and stressful process. Covering these expenses can help to reduce the financial burden of relocation and make the process go more smoothly for the employee.
- Cultural Training: It can be difficult to adjust to a new culture and customs. Training and resources can help employees and their families adjust more quickly and feel more at ease in their new surroundings.
- Language Training: Communication is essential for success in a new country. Language training can assist employees and their families in communicating more effectively with coworkers, neighbours, and service providers.
- Tax Assistance: In a new country, tax planning and compliance can be complicated. Offering assistance in this area can assist the employee in understanding their tax obligations and avoiding potential legal issues.
- Spousal and Family Support: Relocation can be especially difficult for spouses and children. Providing assistance in finding employment, schools, and other resources can help ensure that the entire family is able to adjust to the new location and feel supported during the transition.
- Medical Insurance: Healthcare systems and insurance plans differ greatly from one country to the next. Helping employees find and enrol in a suitable medical insurance plan can help ensure that they and their families have access to necessary medical care.
- Relocation Allowance: Unexpected expenses can arise during the relocation process. A relocation allowance can assist in covering miscellaneous and unforeseen expenses that are not specifically eligible for reimbursement or payment under the relocation policy.
- Hardship Premium: Living and working abroad can be challenging, especially if the new country is vastly different from the employee’s home country. Providing a hardship premium can help compensate the employee for the difficulties they may face during the relocation process.
A well-designed relocation policy can help your company manage the complex and potentially costly process of employee relocation. By ensuring consistency and fairness, controlling costs, attracting and retaining talent, and complying with legal requirements, a relocation policy can benefit both the company and its employees. If your company does not have a relocation policy in place, now is the time to consider developing one.
Speak with one of our relocation experts today to get the process started.