HRO Today July/August 2015 - 36

Relocation
Organizations can
measure ROI, but they
must have a clear picture
of what they expect to gain
from an assignment.
- Paul Sorrentino, NuCompass
Mobility Services
can send four three-month business travelers for the price
of one long-term assignee, it has to consider the bang for
the buck, " says O'Shea. Sometimes this is not an option,
as specific employees necessitate longer relocations and
higher costs. " A senior, experienced leader may be the
only solution and companies accept the cost for that kind
of assignment. "
" One trend that seems to be emerging is the philosophy
that since the employee's career benefits from an
international assignment, the employee should be
willing to co-invest with the organization in the costs
of the assignment, " says Sorrentino. " This can occur, for
example, in reduced support payments to the employee,
with the expectation that they will pay part of their own
assignment costs, particularly if the employee has no
living costs in the origin location. "
As relocations continue to rise, employees and employers
alike will both have more reasons to be interested in new
assignments. " Increased use of these alternative policies
can drive a reduction in the average overall mobility
spend per assignment, " says Jen Tanella, vice president of
global mobility and HR consulting at TheMIGroup. " This
flexible policy approach also offers more options to the
business manager who may otherwise shy away from
[36]
HRO TODAY MAGAZINE
| JULY/AUGUST 2015
sending someone on an assignment due to the high costs
that accompany a traditional policy. "
Despite the high costs associated with international
assignments, which employers are attempting to combat,
95 percent of companies don't measure international
assignment ROI, according to Brookfield. Of these
companies, the most commonly cited reason (53 percent)
is because they don't know how get it right. " Tracking
the hard costs of an assignment (the investment) is
easy, however, where it becomes difficult is quantifying
and measuring the objectives of the assignment, which
tend to be long term extending beyond the end of
the assignment and often include goals that may be
intangible or even subjective, " says Tanella.
The benefits of a relocation assignment are not
necessarily immediate, financial, or tactical, causing
a complex ROI equation. " Ask five companies with
relocation programs about ROI and you're bound to get
five different answers, " says O'Shea. " I think there is no
commonly accepted way to define ROI in a quantifiable
way. Companies care about the return and have their
own approaches to defining what that return is. "
Certain types of assignments are easier to measure than
others. A short-term or immediate assignment, such as
opening a new retail shop or service center, has clear
metrics. Says Sorrentino, " The benefits for this type of
assignment can be measured by increased sales volume
or new customers with the assumption that without that
assignment, the new customer base would not have been
established. "
But other assignments present bigger challenges. " This
involves assignments that are designed to integrate
different cultures within an organization, bring new
thinking to a particular area, investigate the possibility
of offering a product or service in a new market, or
grooming specific employees to advance within the
organization, " says Sorrentino. " The effect of these
assignments may be very long term or hard to identify,
and since there may be no direct sales increase data or
other obvious proof of the value of the assignment, it can
be very difficult to measure. "
Organizations can look at how their workforce is
impacted rather than just the numbers. " Are we retaining
repatriated expats? Are our domestic transferees more
likely to get promoted? What is the level of employee
engagement among the expat population compared to

HRO Today July/August 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HRO Today July/August 2015

HRO Today July/August 2015 - 1
HRO Today July/August 2015 - 2
HRO Today July/August 2015 - 3
HRO Today July/August 2015 - 4
HRO Today July/August 2015 - 5
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HRO Today July/August 2015 - 7
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