Tag Archives: compliance

It’s time to “HIT REFRESH” on your relocation policy…

In his new book “Hit Refresh”, author and CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella shares a story about transformation at Microsoft and the quest for new energy, new ideas, and renewal. When you hit refresh, it’s not about starting over, but “clearing the clutter” for a refreshed update. 

Since the elimination of the moving deduction in the recent “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”, it’s time to refresh your relocation policy. One suggestion is to remove the moving deduction language being an “IRS requirement” since it is no longer a tax deduction. However, you may want to keep the “time and distance” content as a parameter as a guide for mobility benefits. Based on feedback from WorldwideERC members on the community forum, many plan to keep the time and distance content as a guide for their program as you can see from a few examples below:

  • We are still using the distance test as an eligibility requirement.
  • We are still using it as an eligibility for relocation benefits. The business needs some sort of guidance so easier to just maintain it irrelevant of tax ability.
  • Most of our clients are electing to leave the distance test in their policies, removing all reference to IRS guidelines and calling it a company requirement for eligibility of relocation benefits. They are also keeping in the 1 year from the new job start date for completion of benefits also as a company requirement.

It is getting more difficult to hire the best candidates and employee relocation will continue to be a significant part of the process to attract and retain key talent. What will your company be doing to elevate the onboarding experience for your relocating employees in 2018?

If you would like to access this information or more on the moving deduction feedback, visit WorldwideERC community https://www.worldwideerc.org

Call to Action: Review your relocation policy with your partners to confirm the verbiage that you would like to communicate with your candidates as well as other potential changes in 2018. It’s a great idea to review or HIT REFRESH on your policy each year…

Quote of the week: “A team is a not a group of people that work together. A team is a group of people that trust each other.” (Simon Sinek)

This has been A Relocation Minute on “Its time to hit refresh on your policy” with Bruce Waller,  For more information, call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com or check out our my social media Facebook and Twitter page.

Also, check out http://www.BruceWaller.com for review my latest leadership book “Find Your Lane” on sale at Amazon!

2018 brings opportunities and changes when relocating talent in the US.

Each New Year always brings many opportunities and challenges for all of us in business and in our personal life. The key to success is how we adapt and respond to change. In 2018, there are some changes that will impact your company when relocating talent in the US. Some of these changes will include the $1.5 Trillion “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”, as well as the FMCSA’s Electronic Logging Device mandate for owner operators in the trucking industry. 

In the book “The 4-hour work week” by Tim Ferris, he shares an email from a friend that reminds me of the best approach when facing any new changes:

“While many are ringing their hands, I recall the 1970’s when we were suffering from an oil shock causing long lines at the gas station, rationing and 55 mph speed limits on federal highways, a recession, very little venture capital, and what President Carter (wearing a sweater while addressing the nation on TV because he had turned down the heat in the White House) called a “malaise”. It was during those times that two kids without any real college education, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs, started companies that did pretty well. Opportunities abound in bad times as well as good times. In fact, the opportunities are even greater when the conventional wisdom is that everything is going into the toilet. … we can look forward to a new year filled with opportunities as well as stimulating challenges.”

So what are these changes and how will they impact employee relocation?

  1. The Moving Expense Deduction: The moving expense tax deduction will be suspended until the year 2025. This means that companies that gross up the relocation expense will need to plan on an increase for the household goods move, 30 days of storage and final move trip. Since this is no longer an excludable tax deduction, the moving expense will now show as income to the employee. (*Exceptions will be for a military relocation). There are other areas of impact for relocation expenses as well which include supplemental rate changes, mortgage insurance, home sale capital gains reduction, and others. The bill does not seem to effect the tax on relocation home sale transaction expense completed by an RMC. Please consult with your tax firm for making any changes to your current program.
  2. Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate: The Federal Carrier Motor Safety Act (FMSCA) has now mandated the use of ELD’s for all truck drivers including household goods van operators. This device will sync with the van operators working / driving hours. What does this mean for corporate relocation? It could mean longer transit times up to 2 days due to the hours of service rules, increase temp housing, and an increase in transportation costs. The key to success will be communicating expectations during the relocation. Companies and their suppliers must be proactive, more now than ever when communicating with employee/family moving for a successful relocation.

Call to Action: Reach out to your tax consultant for the latest tax law changes and update your policy as soon as possible. Q1 would be a great time to review any changes with your suppliers and partners. If you don’t a partner, invest in one for 2018! You will appreciate the single point resource and so will your employees relocating.

“The first step to leadership is no action, it’s understanding.” (John W Gardner)

This has been A Relocation Minute on “Relocation Changes in 2018” with Bruce Waller, For more information, call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com or check out our my social media Facebook and Twitter page. 

Also, check out http://www.BruceWaller.com for review my latest leadership book “Find Your Lane” on sale at Amazon!

5 things to know when relocating talent this summer… Find Your Lane!

In my new book “Find Your Lane”, Chapter 8 is titled “Making The Most Of Your Journey”. The chapter of the book is about the importance of adding value and being resourceful in the workplace and in your community. I’m hoping the information below will add value when relocating your talent this summer!

Peak relocation season begins when school gets out toward the end of May and ends when school begins in early September. As we begin the last 6 weeks, I want to share some takeaways that have impacted and will continue to impact employees and their family relocating.

Here are 5 things to know when relocating talent this summer:

  1. Container move for small shipments is a “game changer” to elevate the relocation experience for families moving. Employees moving small amount of items can get a “preferred” delivery date instead of long transit time and storage at destination for up to 21 days if needed.
  2. Transit times continue to be a challenge for families moving due to many factors including federal laws and regulations, driver shortage, and difficult to service areas. The key has been to communicate expectations up front, and during the moving process. The smaller the shipment and longer the distance moving, the longer the spread to deliver.
  3. Costs continue to rise in all industries including relocation. If we want to keep recruiting the best van operators, we must find a way to compensate them to stay in this industry to cover their labor, fuel, and vehicle maintenance costs and still make a profit to raise their family. Remember, the less cost moves, may also mean the lower ranked driver assignments.
  4. The housing market is robust. The good news is a family can sell their home quickly with minimal costs for company when relocating. The bad news is families may find it difficult to purchase a new home quickly due to low inventory and multiple offers which may require storage costs. Don’t be surprised to see this exception increase in your policies.
  5. Lump sum relocation’s matter more now than ever. Companies that invest in partnerships elevate the employee experience at the beginning of the onboarding process. They do not have to gross up costs, and have access to realtor referrals, temp housing coordination and household goods moving providers with no additional costs. These employees need help too!

“The customer experience will never exceed the employee experience.” (Tony Bridwell)

Call to action: Reach out to your partner to discuss some of the items above. If you don’t have a partner, let me know and I will be happy to discuss strategies to help your team elevate the experience for your teammates when moving.

This has been “A Relocation Minute” on “End of Peak Season Trends” with Bruce Waller, for more information on relocation resources call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com You can also follow me on Twitter too https://twitter.com/BruceWaller

For more information on my book, “Find Your Lane”, visit http://www.Bruce Waller.com

What should you look for when moving your employees household goods abroad?

International relocation continues to be on the rise as companies expand in global markets. These expansions often include the need to relocate an executive(s) household goods for short-term and in some cases, long-term assignments. Companies with a large population typically have a great program in place to support each assignment from executive to developmental employee relocation. However, there are also companies opening in new markets or those that relocate fewer assignments that are often overwhelmed and need support to help employees with transition – especially with the household goods move!. 

So, what are some keys to look for in a household goods relocation partner?

  1. Affiliations: Ask your moving partner about their network of highly qualified market leading companies who have been vetted for financial, security and legal compliance. Partners with FIDI, FAIM certified and in compliance with OMNI standards can have added value.
  2. Technology: On-demand reporting will elevate the experience for all associates involved in the process. Reporting can include shipping information, quality metrics and transit details along with shipping documents to help create peace of mind when managing the process.
  3. Cost Competitiveness: Moving providers can sometimes be more competitive in traffic lanes with a network that allows “choice” among qualified partners and procures ocean freight as part of consolidated purchasing power to help leverage costs of a TEU.
  4. Move Coordination: An experienced international coordination team will provide single point contact for counselling and door-to-door transportation. They will also manage booking of the ocean/air freight, management of overseas partners, customs clearance, and quality assurance.
  5. C-TPAT certified: This credential can reduce the number of port inspections which result in savings to the client in the form of fewer inspection fees and fewer shipments delays.

Call to action: Reach out to your relocation partner to discuss some of these talking points for your next international move. As you may know, the household goods move is based on volume and country and can be a very expensive assignment. If you don’t have a partner, let us be a resource for you!

“Your most important work is always ahead of you.” (Tim Tebow)

This has been “A Relocation Minute” on “International Moving Tips” with Bruce Waller, for more information on relocation resources call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com.
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What’s on your Christmas List? 3 HR benefits to add for a better mobility experience.

Some of my best memories as a child was writing my Christmas list and leaving cookies and milk for good old Saint Nick! As we help companies onboard employees that need mobility, we often hear from HR and employees wishing for more benefits that provides a better experience and doesn’t elevate the cost.finalxmas_brucesanta-2016

So this month, I want to share three things that can do just that…

  1. New Area Orientation. When a new candidate is considering making a move to a new city, they want to check out the lay of the land to see where they are going to work, live, send their kids to school, etc.… However, they need a coach to show them around. A relocation professional can elevate the experience with setting up half and full day tours to equip them with information to make the best decision.
  2. Expense Management Reporting. Are you still keeping track of employee expenses on an excel spreadsheet? There is a better way when you outsource this to a relocation professional. They can help pay your employees quicker and also assist you with proper coding taxable and non-taxable relocation expenses for payroll team.
  3. Lump Sum Support. Many times companies will provide a check to the employee for moving. This may sound like a good strategy because it is easy to administer and puts the decision in the employee’s hands. However, there are many disadvantages such as the employee not being available to coordinate the move which leaves it up to the spouse, and the lump sum payment is taxable which leave the employee less dollars for relocation. When you direct bill the household goods move, it becomes non-taxable income to the employee and saves money for the company if they are grossing up the lump sum payment too.

What are some of the things you would like to add to your Christmas list when relocating employees?

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” Napoleon Hill

Call to action: Reach out to your relocation partner and request a client review. Ask about these strategies and others that might help you when pursing a candidate with mobility needs. You will be glad you did, and so will your employee relocating.

This has been “A Relocation Minute” on “Christmas Wish List” with Bruce Waller, for more information on relocation resources, call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com. Follow me on Twitter too!

7 things you need to know about lump sum relocaton INCLUDING SAFETY!

I recently heard someone say “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, but I am telling you it’s going to be worth it”. I think of this quote when I hear about companies that just give their employees a lump sum check to relocate their family without additional support. Lump sum programs continue to be a trend, but so does needing critical talent to grow your company. Making the relocation a great experience for employee should also include thinking about their safety!Moving Scene

Here are 7 things you need to know when you provide your employee a lump sum check to relocate family.

Let’s start by answering the question, why do companies typically provide a lump sum relocation benefit when relocating an employee? The answer is…

1. Easy to administer for employee.
2. Easy to calculate budget / actual spend.
3. Less complex program for companies that do not have partnerships.

Yes, it’s as easy as 1, 2 3… This is because companies that provide a small number of relocations don’t feel they have the resources or bandwidth to manage all of the necessary relocation components. Therefore, companies often take the “cut the employee a check” approach to help pay for the relocation expenses. However, there are some compelling reasons and advantages below to pursue and develop a strong relocation partnership… starting with SAFETY!

4. SAFETY – Employees typically don’t know who is best to call when the relocation begins for real estate or household goods move. Doesn’t it make more sense to direct the relocation provider when transferring employee? Using this approach, you ALWAYS know who is in the employee’s home. It is SAFER for the employee when the company has completed background check and developed the partnership. I am sure Arlo (played by Richard Pryor) thought he was getting a deal until Hummingbird Movers showed up at his home on move day in movie “MOVING” (pictured above).  This could happen to your employee without direction.
5. RELOCATION RESOURCES – Relocation partners are the experts and can make the process EASY for the employee during transition. Most importantly, relocation partners will “elevate the experience” for the company during the onboarding process helping employee with resources needed for the family moving. Lean on them to make this a great experience for your team.
6. ECONOMIC IMPACT – Relocation partners provide positive economic impact above the corporate discount. This can be advantageous when discussing policy, moving household goods, reporting, and tracking metrics for improvement. Corporate partnerships offer so much more value and actually become an extension of your HR team.
7. DIRECT BILL is considered non-taxable income for the employee when moving household goods, it is the preferred method of payment for employee, and allows the company to have a partner that will be accountable if a moving challenge presents itself during the move. All of the paperwork wil be audited for compliance along the way for invoicing accuracy.

As you can see, the advantages of developing a strong relocation partnership heavily outweigh the reasons not to invest in one when moving your employees, especially EXECUTIVES!

Call to action: If you provide a lump sum relocation benefit, reach out to someone you know that moves their employees, and ask for a partner referral to start discussing partnership strategies for your next relocation. Your employees will appreciate it more than you know!

This has been a “Relocation Minute” update on “7 things you need to know for Lump Sum moves” with Bruce Waller, For more information, call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com or check out our my social media Facebook and twitter page.

3 C’s that will elevate your relocation program from good to GREAT in 2015.

The household goods moving industry continues to change due to the industry wide driver shortage, increased government regulations, and the pressure of improving the company bottom line. Many companies are finding alternative solutions, as well as relying on their network to help move their client’s household good moves.

As you review your program, I want to share 3 critical areas to measure when reviewing your relocation partnerships in 2015. Good to great

Capacity. The average moving company in the US has 1 office, 3 trucks, and about 15 employees. The driver shortage is making this even more challenging today as companies look to the network to help with commitment to customers. The moving company you work with is listed as the booking agent and is responsible for coordinating the employee move, AND most importantly assigning a truck to transport the household goods shipment. It is an advantage to be partnering with companies that own many agents nationwide with a large driver population. This gives your employees the best chance to secure their preferred moving dates during summer peak season (May-September) and end of each month , while giving you peace of mind knowing your partnership is more than just a moving estimate.

Compliance. Human Resource departments are accountable for making sure their company is always in compliance. It is imperative that you partner with moving companies that will audit your household goods moving invoices, as well as manage your relocation policy for compliance. The best partners can provide you with taxable and non-taxable reporting to help ease the complexities of calculating relocation spend. They can also help you with benchmarking, and trends to help update your policy. One example of auditing is to make sure your partner reviews the driver paperwork for accuracy, and make sure it aligns with the estimate and invoice being sent to the customer. Complete, accurate, and timely paperwork will help make the relocation a success.

Coaching. When speaking to my HR network, many tell me that relocation is a small percentage of their job responsibilities, along with other HR competencies such as Human Relations, Workforce Planning, Risk Management, and more… Therefore, it is imperative that you are working with a relocation partner that will not only provide a great moving service, but coach you on what is best for the company and the employee. One example is that a great relocation partner will provide you with moving options, and explain any challenges or benefits before the move begins. This gives you a chance to review best decision based on cost and employee moving experience.

Rising transportation costs will continue to be a challenge for everyone. However, if you partner with the right company, they will help elevate your relocation program with capacity, compliance, and coaching. These areas will help drive efficiencies while reducing costs for your organization… and most importantly, make relocation EASY for you and your employees!

Call to action: Review your current relocation partners capacity, compliance and coaching approach this year. If there are any gaps, look to possibly add a secondary provider for peak season. You will be glad once summer is here, and so will your employees.

This has been a “Relocation Minute” update on “Capacity, Compliance, and Coaching” with Bruce Waller, For more information, call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com or check out our my social media Facebook and twitter page.