Are you looking for a quick win for your global mobility program? A small change with a positive impact on your mobility program? This is the fifth post in our “Quick Wins” series. Each quick-win blog will offer ideas of straightforward changes that can be made to support your organization’s mobility principles. No one solution is going to fit everyone’s purposes, so in each post of the series, we hope you find at least one thing that can be a quick win for you. And if these quick wins are already part of your program, we hope you already see the benefits.

In this Quick Wins edition, we will focus on exceptions – specifically exception requests, approvals, and denials. At some companies, exceptions go by different names (such as deviations or variations), but in general, an exception is any expense or service an employee requests above and beyond the relocation package.

Some companies are fortunate to spend very little time and money on exceptions, but many are not. If you deal with exceptions, here are actions you may choose to take in order to claim a win over exceptions.

  • Determine your stance and communicate. Some companies choose to make the exception request process very clear at the beginning, using language such as “the request must be provided in writing and submitted to the [President, CFO, other approving entity] for approval.” Others feel that by not mentioning an exception request process (by not planting a seed), they also limit the likelihood of an exception request.

If you want to avoid exceptions, you should set expectations from the beginning. Clearly structuring and presenting the relocation package upfront and including any confirmation of the company’s position regarding the relocation package can reduce the likelihood of an exception request.

Often, the culture of the organization drives not only the tolerance for exception requests, but also the rates at which they are approved or denied. Consider whether your mobility program is representative and supportive of the culture.

  • Know the facts about your exceptions. Exception data can tell stories. Exception data should clearly show how much is spent on approved exceptions, what is being asked for most often, and what is being denied. Those data points may reveal problem areas. For the exceptions that are always or almost always approved, determine any root causes and consider appropriate adjustments to the program and policies. For those that may be frequently requested yet rarely approved, consider additional language and communication confirming the company’s expectations upfront.
  • Review your miscellaneous allowances. Most relocation packages contain some form of a cash payment that is either the sole benefit or combined with one or more services and other expenses. Often referred to as a Miscellaneous or Relocation Allowance when provided within a fully managed relocation package, an allowance is typically the first line of defense for an exception request. If the allowance is not sufficient to cover even basic expenses, perhaps it’s time to make an adjustment.
  • Build in some leeway. Frequent or reasonable exception requests may warrant some pre-approved threshold that can avoid a formal exception request process. Work closely with your relocation provider to determine what (if any) exceptions may benefit from this type of pre-approval and establish parameters for any thresholds or applicability.

Recent impacts of the pandemic, supply chain issues, housing shortages, and inflation have not stopped mobility, but they have contributed to increased exceptions. There will always be employees asking for more than they are offered, so set yourself up for success in managing those requests.

We hope at least one of these tips helps you spend less time and less money on exceptions. For more information, please contact your Aires representative.

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