HRO Today July/August 2014 - 38

Relocation
Tricky Business
Return-on-investment metrics for relocation continue to be diffi cult to
quantify-but real value is there.
By Russ Banham
In today's high stakes talent recruitment environment,
encouraging skilled people to pull up roots and relocate
to a new geographic area is fraught with emotion. If the
transferee's experience is unpleasant, this may linger as
a sign of the employer's inferior treatment of employees,
breeding disengagement and unproductiveness.
These risks explain why many organizations, particularly
those without the resources to staff an internal
relocation team of experts, often turn to third-party
service providers to handle the complex moves. But is
there fi nancial value in outsourcing relocation services
versus doing it in-house? Is there a quantifi able return on
the investment? And are there specifi c metrics allowing
the comparison of one provider's service to another?
These questions illuminate a problem that both buyers
and providers of mobility services solutions routinely
confront-the diffi culty boiling down the value of
outsourcing relocation to useful metrics. While providers
of recruitment outsourcing services have at their disposal
such metrics as " time to fi ll " to prove their worth to
current and prospective clients, mobility outsourcing
[38]
HRO TODAY MAGAZINE
| JULY/AUGUST 2014
providers lack such handy calling cards. So what do HR
practice leaders do when it comes to arguing the value of
outsourcing relocation services to the offi ce of fi nance?
While some metrics like employee retention rates may
provide an indication of value, many other factors
are involved in this measurement, making it a less
than reliable determinant of actual worth. Metrics for
employee engagement and succession management
introduce the same dubiety.
" The metrics (for relocation services) are still very gray, "
concedes Kelly West, vice president and chief operating
offi cer at Xerox Relocation and Assignment Services, a
Denver-based mobility solutions provider. " I don't know
anybody in the industry putting actual numbers in front
of folks. There's not a lot out there. This is a service all
about nuances and broader talent management. "
Paul A. Sorrentino, vice president of corporate
partnerships at NuCompass Mobility Services Inc., shares
this view. " While many companies express an interest in
measuring ROI [return on investment] for relocations or

HRO Today July/August 2014

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