Corporate relocation policies are designed to address both the cost and productivity issues of moving an employee to a new location. If you're facing relocation in the near future, your first step in negotiating a relocation package is to understand your company's policy.
Companies that serve the relocation industry focus on two key objectives: minimizing the cost of relocating employees, and minimizing the stress the employee and his or her family faces as they move to a new location. Use these tips to ensure you secure a reasonable package that covers your costs and reduces any strain on you and your family's lives.
The vast majority of companies assign relocation duties to their Human Resources department, so your negotiation will most likely put you across the desk from an HR representative tasked with keeping costs low and maintaining your productivity as quickly as possible after the move.
Obtain sufficient temporary space
Your company may use suite-style hotels for single employees. However, if your spouse and children accompany you, those cramped quarters can become a breeding ground for stress. Negotiate to obtain temporary living in an apartment, and request to be included in the apartment selection process. If you're moving to the East Coast, for example, your HR representative might be willing to narrow down a few options, then send you to an online apartment search to find a place within your company's parameters.
Lump Sum Payments
Many firms offer a lump sum to cover your entire relocation, but if you work at one that doesn't, it's time to ramp-up your negotiation. Lump sums are offered to cover a plethora of costs: the shipping of household goods, temporary living, travel to the destination and other expenses. Those payments may not be sufficient to cover all your expenses, especially if you have to sell your old house while you're living in temporary housing until it sells, which could be many months. Look for alternatives. For example, ask your company to pay for moving your household goods in-full. Ask for a temporary housing allowance that realistically reflects the nature of the current housing market and the length of time you expect you'll need to sell your house. Be sure your travel expenses are covered in-full for you and your family. Your goal is to identify various expense categories and get commitment from your company to cover each one.
Address Tax Issues
If you're able to negotiate away from a lump sum payment, work towards getting additional coverage for anything that might fall in the miscellaneous category. For example, you may want to take a house-hunting trip to the new locale. You may need to buy furnishings: window treatments, appliances, new carpeting. Negotiate for those items, but be aware that any money granted will be treated as taxable income.
If you're able to win the negotiation on lump sum payments for miscellaneous expense, talk next about grossing up. This adds money to the lump sum payment to pay and offset the excess tax liability.
Your most effective negotiation strategy is to stay informed of your company's policies, then to separate your anticipated expenses into categories so you can account for as many costs as possible before you sign an agreement.