• Flex your Relocation Program…Finding the Right Balance!


    What is the main purpose of a Core\Flex relocation program: to offer flexibility to relocating employees or to provide a tool for business units in their efforts to manage costs or attract the best candidate? It can be both, provided the corporation doesn’t lose track of the mobility program’s objective.

    Why a Core/Flex program

    The Core/Flex approach to employee relocation was developed as an alternative to the traditional ‘one size fits all’ program, in order to remove irritants perceived by transferees, reduce exception requests, improve program efficiency and manage costs.

    The program design includes a Core element providing number of features supporting a reasonably unencumbered relocation experience. The Flex portion offers a menu of additional benefits or services to choose from, based on specific needs and within a specified budgeted amount, i.e. a customization at a manageable cost.

    Different approaches depending on corporate philosophy and needs

    Corporations have a responsibility to provide a well-designed and fairly administered program to assist employees and their families who have been asked to relocate, with as little disruption as is deemed reasonable. This is the purpose of the Core portion of the program; it is meant to provide services that the organization feels must be offered.

    With respect to the Flex portion of the program, we see corporations approaching the administration in in two different ways:

    • The first is a more employee-centered approach: It is the organization’s view that all employees should be treated equally and offered the same menu of additional services and benefits to choose from in accordance with their needs. There may be a tiered approach to the offering (i.e. executive versus management) but otherwise the program menu is fixed for the targeted group.

      The following illustration is an example of the distribution of benefits under this approach:



    • The second is a more business-driven approach: On the assumption that the Core portion of the program, as illustrated in the chart below, is mandatory, the business unit retains more control over the Flex menu, depending on a number of factors ranging from job level, experience, special circumstances, additional enticement to accept a position, etc. While there is the offer of additional services based on employee/candidate needs, the business unit will adjust the menu when necessary to help in their recruitment efforts, either by adding for enticement purposes or by reducing to manage costs.


    It’s a question of balance

    Neither of the approaches described above are wrong. However, it is important to remember the basic premise of an employee relocation policy, that is, to deliver fair and appropriate services to a relocating employee/family at a reasonable cost to the organization. Much of the success of the program rests on how the employee perceives the relocation experience. With the employee-centered approach, business units could be frustrated by their own lack of flexibility, and conversely, with the business-driven approach, there may be a need to establish boundaries around what can be removed or added to an offering in the interest of short-term results (e.g. candidate hired but disastrous move experience). Corporations must keep all these factors in perspective.


    The ultimate objective is to find the right person for the job and get that person to where he or she needs to be without difficulty to be ready to take on the task at hand. A well-designed Core/Flex approach offers a framework to get that done to the satisfaction of both parties.