Navigating Lump Sum Relocation Policies

By Tim Hall Jan 29, 2015
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The start of a new year is a time when budgets come alive and expectations rise. With the latest Atlas Van Lines’ Corporate Relocation Survey reporting a consistently improving relocation landscape, 2015 could be a year in which company relocation policies prove vital to recruiting top talent. In this quickly evolving market place, employers should ensure they are ready to provide in their employment offers a moving and relocation lump sum payment that helps to seal the deal without breaking the bank.

The current talent acquisition market is so competitive that many companies are already reinventing lump sum services to create plans tailored to each candidate from start to finish. They realize that requiring candidates to manage their own relocation is woefully outdated and increases the risk of having to renegotiate compensation levels and start dates. In the worst case scenario, the candidate might even reject the offer altogether.

Improved plans create significant savings, offer better services to relocating employees and enable quickly growing companies to better focus on the right talent.

Questions employers should be asking include:

  • Do we have full visibility and understanding of the soft and hard costs of our relocation program?
  • Does it integrate and augment recruitment using tools such as social media?

The bottom line is that 2015 is the time to evaluate your company’s lump sum program.

Evaluating Current Lump Sum Plans

Lump sum relocation programs typically are inherited by HR managers without a clear understanding of their origin. At the same time, standard approaches to corporate relocation no longer apply based on a highly competitive talent acquisition market. Complicating the matter even further is the changing dynamics of traditional fully managed relocation and lump sum plans.

The traditional lump sum “one size fits all” no longer is successful. The often referred to “unmanaged lump sum model” creates added workload for HR departments, candidate stress and increased expenses on both sides. What’s needed is a new model that enables the hiring company to provide a fully managed relocation plan within their financial requirements. Such a fully managed plan can relieve pressure on compensation when recruiting talent.

Unmanaged Lump Sum Risks for Candidate and Company

Requiring candidates to manage their own relocation needs can increase the risk of having to renegotiate compensation levels and start dates. It can also increase the chances of talent attrition prior to accepting an offer, which also drives up recruiting costs. Conversely, providing managed lump sum services can provide candidates with added benefits prior to their start date and increase loyalty.

The biggest challenges facing HR managers to manage lump sum plans is often a lack of understanding and visibility not only into their hard costs, but soft costs. For example, the time and investment needed to recruit and present an offer to a candidate is sometimes not included as a cost. This should be considered as a cost per candidate versus a cost per hire.

Other examples of soft costs include the time a candidate spends working on their own relocation and the related distraction from their core position. Imagine if you moved to a new city and had to set up your life while at the same time learning a new job. For the hiring company, it’s like paying twice but only getting return on investment from one of the costs. You’re paying a salary but reducing employee production. The new employee and their relocation is often an interruption to your business and needs to be managed properly.

Using Social Media to Hire/Relocate Employees

Social media has become a primary source for a range of hiring companies seeking new candidates, researching backgrounds and creating talent attraction. Many hiring companies now have internal resources to create content and manage social media to expand their audience reach with interesting and entertaining topics. Some examples include high-level discussions and demonstrations of company culture on Facebook and Google+.

Recently, a Seattle bio-tech company overhauled their talent acquisition strategies to use social media as their primary recruitment resource. The company quickly discovered that candidates are receptive to interaction on their networks. This efficient exchange of information often expedites conversations and recruitment.

The most desired candidates often research opportunities, compensation and benefits—including relocation services—on corporate social media networks to predetermine interest in a position and company. Promoting a managed lump sum relocation service can help increase the candidate pool for future talent acquisition. Promotion of “competitive benefits” is vague and often buried as a secondary perk in job descriptions. Highlighting a managed lump sum plan can help to differentiate your company from competitors. Posting employee testimonials on social media pages regarding their positive initial experiences can help position your company as a leader in talent acquisition and employee mobility.


Companies that want to be successful in this new talent acquisition market need to leverage technology and relocation expertise to help ensure a comprehensive and comfortable experience for both parties. The key is to deliver a unique experience tailored to each individual hiring and relocation situation.

Tim Hall is chief operating officer at One to One Relocation, a provider of global talent acquisition and relocation services.

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