Relocations : do you offer cash or services ?

In essence, this question was recently asked on LinkedIn and addressed corporate relocation policies for candidates from one part of the USA to another, and whether companies provide money or support services.

I’ll transfer it to the situation that a lot of us are faced with in the GCC : dealing with middle to high level candidates and moving them to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Manama, Kuwait City, Riyadh or Muscat.

Cash is, well, a cash payment covering the expenses related to the relocation of the candidate. It can be a lump sum or a series of lump sums /allowances or reimbursements of a certain type of expenses such as household goods removal and insurance, flights for the candidate and her family, covering the ealry rent cancellation in the home country etc.

Cash has many advantages :

  • it is easy to use for cost anticipation,
  • clear to understand for candidates,
  • and, especially if a fixed allowance not a reimbursement,
    • hassle-free within the company
    • and very flexible for the candidate to allocate as they see fit based on their specific circumstances.

On the other hand, the services that a company provides to a candidate relocating abroad also have very distinctive merits :

  • pragmatic support in the hassle linked to a move abroad (for example no need to spend hours trying to find the cheapest or most convenient flights to the new country or to select household goods removers as they are provided by the organisation)
  • reduce the stress related to the move as things are taken care of concretely (for example when a relocation agency helps the candidate figure out schools for the kids)
  • provide immediate productivity gains through a smoother integration and less time wasted, and longer term retention rates
  • create a positive image about the company in the mind of the candidate/employee : if the company cares enough to help me look for a new home in this strange new country, then it will care about me even more once I have demonstrated my value.

Personally, I believe in a mix of both, with a bit of cash thrown in to allow for personal flexibility, and a lot of personal service especially upon arrival in the new city.

I am speaking mostly out of personal experience as I relocated abroad 6 times so far. The help you get in identifying the right area to live, finding a new home, settling down through things such as setting electricity, phone and internet and enrolling in the local medical system if needed is the one that makes your move so much easier.

And at a certain level of seniority, you start to value your time and reduced stress level more than getting a bit more cash, and truly appreciate the peace of mind that the support gives you.

So what does your organisation do ? Provide cash to its new employees relocating from abroad, or provide support and actual services to them and why ? Do you think your company provides the best approach for the profile of employees it targets and hires, or does your relocation policy need a little revamp ?


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