It’s been said that as much as some things change, some things just say the same. That is a pretty good assessment of where relocation management teams find themselves in the last quarter of 2023. Here are a few observations our CapRelo relocation experts have for what lies ahead for the mobility industry.
Costlier housing will continue to weigh on transferees’ willingness to relocate.
One of the biggest changes employees must weigh in any relocation this year is the new normal of real estate. Over the past 18 months, the Federal Reserve has been in a battle with inflation, by driving mortgage rates to their highest rates in years. Many industry experts expect rates could go even higher , further squeezing home buyers’ affordability.
As a result, many would-be sellers will continue to sit on the sidelines, exacerbating tight inventories of properties for sale in many regions. When interest rates do begin to soften, transferees may find themselves in the position of selling high but also buying high. Says Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin in a recent Forbes interview, “When rates come down, we’re going to be in store for another hot housing market where there are more buyers than sellers. It’s still that affordability problem. That’s going to stay with us.”
How can HR managers help? By helping employees understand the financial implications of interest rate changes. Offer ongoing workshops. Partner with local financial institutions and real estate professionals to share resources and provide consulting to employees considering a transfer. Equip them with the knowledge they need to feel confident in accepting a transfer, and in evaluating options for selling or leasing their current home, and buying or opting for a short-term housing option in the new location.
Remote work policies will continue to evolve.
During COVID-19, the “accepted workplace” pendulum swung far to the side of remote work, dramatically changing traditionally accepted norms of workplace. But that is beginning to change, and our mobility teams are seeing a move among businesses to embrace hybrid workplaces. That said, some organizations and industries lend themselves to hybrid arrangements better than others.
Noted researchers in WorkHuman’s 2023 Evolution of Work Study, “On-site work is still the primary arrangement in the retail, healthcare, manufacturing, education, and hospitality industries by wide margins. These industries, some of the hardest to adjust to remote ways of working, have looked for ways of mixing in hybrid work. But, after quick shifts to remote work during lockdowns in 2020, they have reverted to mostly in-person work.”
By and large, remote employees are the most satisfied in their work arrangement according to the WorkHuman study. And more than one-fourth of them (27%) would even be willing to take a pay cut to remain working remotely.
How can HR managers help? Be flexible in your mobility policies and benefits. Lower the stress over a relocation by giving transferees flexibility and control over their work arrangement. Offer them ways to stay connected, and to continue to grow and develop within the organization.
Technology will continue to enhance relocation solutions.
If flexibility is the rallying cry for employees in 2023, technology is the vehicle to help HR mobility leaders deliver it. Our CapRelo relocation specialists have been talking about the importance of flexibility for several years, but now more than ever, global mobility leaders are being tasked with incorporating flexible relocation benefits while keeping mobility budgets within goal.
Core-flex programs are the no-brainer for delivering baked-in flexibility, by combining standard benefits with flexible ones customized to each employee’s needs. But managing the delivery of an a la carte menu of options for multiple transferees can add complexity to the HR team’s job.
HR leaders increasingly are turning instead to technology to streamline and simply the job. CompanionFlex, CapRelo’s core-flex platform, enables the HR mobility manager to configure virtually every aspect of the benefits its employees will have access to. It also gives transferees the flexibility to choose the relocation benefits they want through a user-friendly tech interface.
How can HR leaders help? Look for innovative, industry-leading ways to enhance the relocation experience through technology. Evaluate tech platforms from the eyes of both the HR manager as well as the employees who will be using them. Choose user-centric technology with a proven ROI, both in financial benefits as well as in employee satisfaction.
Partner with the leaders
Yes, changes are all around us in global mobility management. But one constant is the power of partnering with a proven and trusted relocation management company. For more than two decades, CapRelo has provided clients with the technology tools and the people-first culture that ensure smooth, seamless relocation experiences – and consistently place us at the top of the industry. Contact us to learn how we can provide your HR team with forward-thinking solutions for employee relocations in a changing environment.