India Inc is betting relocation policies to attract talent, are you?

Covid pandemic has meant different things to different people but if there’s one aspect that definitely desires a mention is the culture of work from everywhere. Marred by lockdowns and safety concerns, companies worldwide were forced to allow remote working to maintain business continuity. The bright side of this move has been a new way of attracting talent.

Companies in India are now looking at attracting talent not just in the cities where they have their physical presence but pretty much anywhere where talent exists. As per a pulse survey by Aon, currently, about 40% of the IT services workforce is working from anywhere. About 151 out of 236 companies surveyed either have a relocation policy in place or are actively considering one.

Prominent sectors looking at this include technology, telecom, financial services, professional services and consumer goods. Several surveys have shown that employees are more likely to work for a company that has a strong relocation policy and that allows them to work remotely, even if it’s for a lesser pay.

Many workers have been seen moving to remote places such as Manali or Goa permanently seeking a better work-life balance. Getting access to such talent and talent that maybe looking for similar movement henceforth is essential for any company’s talent acquisition plans.

So, if you still haven’t built a relocation policy for your employees and are still wondering what a relocation policy should entail, here are a few points that might help you:

Household goods movement

Household Goods Move

Companies that have a strong relocation policy typically bear the costs for household goods movement. This includes taxes if any, for the moving of furniture of the Employee and his accompanying family with the support of company’s preferred shipping provider.

The Employee in this case is responsible for the items he/she moves. Therefore, the employee should be advised to check with the authorities and shipping provider for any illegal items and ensure these are not moved. Typically, one 20-foot shipping container upto 6700 lbs is what most companies make reimbursable for goods from home to host location for the whole family from the preferred shipping provider. Additionally, 15-30 days of storage cost for goods in the warehouse in host location would also be included in the shipment of household goods.

What most companies end up paying for includes furniture disassembly, packing and unpacking of household goods, disconnection and reconnection of standard household appliances, overland, overseas and sea transportation, and documentation and related fee.

However, what a company can typically avoid paying for includes shipping of currency, securities and deeds, hazardous materials such as explosives, chemicals, flammable materials, firearms and garden chemicals, and pets, domestic animals, livestock, reptiles or birds, including shipment, boarding and any related expenses. You can also exclude shipping of valuables such as jewelry, furs and antiques, works of art, pornographic materials, coins, stamps, and wine and alcohol collections.

Vehicle movement

Motor Vehicle Relocation

Since any mid to senior level employee is highly likely to own a car in India, it is advisable to have vehicle movement as a part of the relocation policy. The company could decide to cover shipping of one 2-wheeler or one 4-wheeler from home to host location from the preferred shipping provider. This could include the cost of moving and packing, transit insurance and extra bubble wrapping for protection.

However, what one can stay away from including in vehicle movement policy is crating services, shuttle services, and any interstate tax implications arising out of movement of vehicle.

Accommodation in host location

Accommodation Host Location

Moving to a new city could be challenging for the individual and his or her family. To take the burden off the employee and to ensure that he or she is productive right from day one of the movement, it is important to offer temporary accommodation for the employee and their family.

The budget of the daily lodging cost could vary on the seniority of the individual but we’ve seen Rs 3000 to Rs 5000 as a standard daily lodging allowance offered by most companies in India. Apart from the lodging, the company can either reimburse the meals for lunch and dinner for the assignee and family or provide per diem to the assignee and the family. As per our research, Indian companies on an average offer the following per diem allowances—Rs 2,463 for the assignee, Rs 2,453 for the spouse, and Rs 1,232 per child. The assignee and their family can utilize the per diem to pay for meals, laundry and other services in the hotel.

Area orientation/ Settling in

To facilitate a smooth shift to the new location, it is advisable to offer area orientation or settling in service for up to a day to the assignee. Such services allow the employee and his or her family to familiarize with the neighborhood in host location, inform them about the nearby entertainment centres, hospitals and grocery shops, and take them through a sample housing survey in the area of interest in host location.

The service also includes getting information on domestic help, getting a gas connection, mobile or internet connection, utilities set up etc. For international employees, the service also pay include local immigration if required.

Home search assistance

One of the most crucial aspects of moving to a new city, especially for overseas employees is to find a house. By offering home search assistance, companies can not only alleviate the pain of house hunting for the employee but also ensure their safety and well being.

Home Search

As a part of this service, company’s preferred relocation vendor will assist the employee with finding appropriate accommodation (rental property) in the new host city within commuting distance and based on local practice. Company’s preferred relocation vendor can assist the employee with the home search, negotiation of the lease, management of real estate brokers, translation of the rental contract, review of the rental contract, securing of a property and setting up all utilities (gas, water, electricity, internet, TV).

Miscellaneous relocation allowance

To cover any costs or relocation-related activities, which are not covered under the benefits, a company may decide to pay a relocation allowance of 5 % gross on his or her annual salary. This could be offered as a cash benefit and can be utilized by assignee on any of the other relocation related activities which are not covered in above benefits. Typically, no receipts are required for this and this amount can be credited to the assignee’s bank account.

Cost to the company

Different aspects of relocation policy when combined may appear to be a huge cost to the company. However, it is seen that employees are willing to take a pay cut if they are allowed to work from the location of their choice. More importantly, a good relocation policy gives companies access to rare talent which may not be available in cities where the company has existing operations—giving employees this flexibility also makes a company’s talent acquisition plans more agile. All in all, a relocation policy is a great investment in your company’s future.