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4 Tips for Negotiating Relocation Contracts

By Mark Costa-Rising

Relocation appears to be a core theme for business in 2018.

Data suggests demand for internal global mobility will see significant increases during the year. Yet, there is a problem. HRs are finding it ever-more difficult to find viable candidates for overseas moves, not due to lack of skilled staff, but the lack of staff willing to relocate.

Two in three businesses seeking to move employees abroad have faced stalls in global mobility projects due to employees declining overseas contracts.

For some companies, this can be a hard pill to swallow. Global mobility projects can be vital to success, filling important skills gaps and allowing for accelerated brand growth. In order for this to happen, international relocation projects must continue. Yet, as demand rises and interest decreases, how can HRs hope to maintain a balance and keep their company running smoothly?

It’s all about negotiations.

The right deal for your staff can be the difference between acceptance and rejection; and we aren’t just talking about money. For HRs struggling to get their overseas moves off the ground, here are four expert tips for negotiating relocation contracts:

 

  1. Offer More Money

Okay, so when we said we aren’t just talking about money, we meant it. We have other points, too. However, money is a significant factor in relocation motivation and it cannot be ignored. Reports suggest that increased pay would be the swaying factor in 55% of cases.

It should also be noted that additional income is not always about a simple desire for higher wages. Large wage packets help negate certain problems posed when moving abroad, such as managing family life and acquiring property.

Willingness to negotiate income is a necessity when it comes to engaging in contract talks. Inflexibility in this area will result in a large proportion of individuals rejecting proposals.

 

  1. Prepare to Make Work Flexible

The 21st-century lifestyle is very different to that of previous decades and centuries, yet many workplaces still follow archaic 9am-5pm schedules. The modern worker is keen to break this mould and work to flexible time-frames that fit around other aspects of their life.

However, this type of work is still a rarity, especially outside the world of self-employment. Offering flexible work schedules as part of your international relocation terms could prove to be a highly-attractive prospect that convinces sceptical staff members to commit to the project.

The key element of this particular bargaining tool is to incentivise the move by making the benefits outweigh detractive aspects.

 

  1. Assure Supportive Action

Starting a new job is thought to be as stressful as undergoing a relationship breakup. Moving house and relocating is believed to be even more so. Both elements together create a highly-combustible atmosphere of anxiety and stress that many individuals simply do not want to deal with.

Elements of particular concern for people moving abroad for work are:

  • Move management, including property acquisition and shipping
  • Isolation in a foreign country
  • Adapting to new cultures
  • Conducting complex tasks like visa applications

Critical to the negotiation process are assurances that your business will support move management and settling in thereafter. Ensure you outline a clear relocation policy that identifies core problems your employees may face and offer effective solutions that require as little input from them as possible. This includes everything from managing move elements and visas on their behalf, to offering post-move support when it comes to community integration and local acclimatisation.

 

  1. Remember That A Move Is Unlikely to Involve One Person

70% of relocations that fail do so because of family issues. Family involvement is a major part of an international assignment that few businesses take seriously enough. Unsettling partners, children and other relatives is something your workers will be keen to avoid, resulting in rejections of work officers.

At the negotiating table, HRs need to be clear in one fact: that family matters will not be ignored. Common issues that impact family are troubles finding employment and generally settling into life abroad. They have no links to your corporation, which is why they are often ignored, but they are such an important part of the process that doing so is a major mistake.

The path to successful negotiation is making sure you outline your dedication to helping the assignees family adapt to, and integrate with, their new home. This may involve offering third-party resources, like support from locals, expats, language and cultural lessons, and additional support finding the right home, schools and area to live in.

 Mark Costa-Rising is the Marketing Director of AMG Group and a senior member of the Gerson Relocation team. Mark has worked in international relocation and corporate assignment management for over two decades. Over his years in the industry, he’s acquired plenty of expertise relating to moving people abroad; expertise he’s keen to share with the HR community. 

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