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The Mobility Trends to Watch

by Jill McDonald

Our ever-popular SIRVA University session, “Mobility Policy…Trending Now” highlighted how corporations are updating their mobility policies to meet the needs of the mobile populations.

Increased use of Core/Flex Programs.  This program approach can be used for relocations in International, Canadian and US policies.  The main advantages of providing a Core/Flex approach is flexibility, control of costs, reduction of exception requests and to ease the budget process. With a Core/Flex program, the company offers specific core benefits to the relocating employee that are needed to make the move from Point A to B.  Flex benefits can include additional benefits or an increase in Core benefits.  These Flex benefits are often capped at a dollar amount or offered in a menu-style approach.

Major global mobility trends include:

  • Heightened focus on using mobility providers.
  • Requiring an extra layer/senior leadership approval in the assignment approval process.
  • Increased pressure on human resources to provide evidence to support mobility decisions.
  • Focus on employee’s needs rather than just a blanket of benefits.
  • Push to improve productivity of the employee/efficiency of the process.
  • As companies move to core/flex, benefits historically offered are now becoming discretionary benefits
  • Travel policies are being reviewed and adjusted to save mobility costs.
  • Stricter adherence to policy/fewer exceptions.
  • External hires or “self-selected” assignees are receiving minimal support.

Major US mobility trends within a policy include:

  • Lump sum allowances are still widely used although how the amounts are calculated have changed to coincide more with the employee’s travel distance and number of family members.
  • Renters are receiving additional benefits due to the challenges in the rental markets in many locations. Additional benefits can include lease acquisition fees (application fees, credit check fees), finder’s fees, and offering a guided tour of available accommodations for four to eight hours during the home finding trip.
  • New home purchase expenses have changed due to TRID, which became effective in October 2015.  These changes affected document names and the use of origination fees and points.
  • Family and/or spouse/partner re-employment assistance use has increased. This could be attributed to the use of more Core/Flex programs.

Remember to be sure your policy benefits and language is up-to-date and to review your relocation policy/program on a consistent timeframe.