Congratulations! Your company has just finished the complicated process of hiring a new C-suite executive. Leadership is excited, the announcement has been made and the future is looking bright, but there’s one kink that still has to be worked out – getting your new executive moved so they can start work.
Executive relocations can be intimidating, especially for companies that don’t have an established global mobility program or don’t know what to expect. Moving a VIP is often stressful, time-consuming and expensive, but a lot of stress, time and cost can be avoided with a knowledge of how executive relocations differ from non-executive moves. Differences arise in the areas of process management, relocation benefits, move customization and service delivery standards. Although every executive relocation is unique, taking these areas into account will help you plan and execute with a lot more confidence.
What does an executive move look like?
On paper, managing an executive relocation looks a lot like managing any other corporate move, just on a larger (and more complicated) scale.
- Your company decides what benefits to offer to support the move and assigns a move management team (and/or a relocation management company) to take responsibility for communication and logistics.
- Someone from your company or RMC partner will become the point of contact for the relocating executive and their family, working with them to meet their needs and counseling them on how your company will be supporting the move.
- During each phase of the move, the counselor will coordinate relocation services from assigned providers, including household goods shipping, temporary housing, visa and immigration services, and destination services such as finding schools and area tours.
- Many executives will be buying or selling a home as part of the move, and your company will often need to support a tax-compliant Buyer Value Option (BVO) or Appraised Value Option (AVO) home sale.
What’s the difference between a “standard” relocation package and an executive relocation package?
Most moves have between five and 15 standard relocation benefits. Executive relocations usually offer much more comprehensive support on a larger scale. In addition to foundational benefits like household goods shipments, temporary housing, home-sale support and home-finding trips, many executive relocation packages include customized benefits such as:
- School search services for dependents
- Spouse/partner career support
- Specialized shipment and storage options for sensitive items like art collections
- Vehicle shipment and storage
- Personalized area tours to find and set up services like gym and club memberships
- Special requests, such as finding a local blacksmithing tutor or martial arts dojo for a child interested in those activities
What do executives expect throughout the move?
In general, executives expect three things throughout a relocation – choice, control and care.
Choice usually means flexible support. Most executives want the ability to choose benefits that will perfectly match what their family needs over the course of the move. Choice also translates into service delivery preferences such as a preferred moving van line.
Control means being able to choose how and when benefits are delivered. This could mean control over timing, or it could mean having the option to spend a night in an AirBnB instead of corporate housing. Executives (and their families) can be precise about the experience they would like, so it’s important to offer a degree of control throughout the relocation.
Care is the most subjective of the three – it means good communication, quality service delivery and much more, depending on the executive and their family. Many companies and RMCs only assign experienced counselors and mobility personnel to executive moves, often giving the executive and their family 24/7 communication access to meet their needs at any time. Plus Relocation assigns our top-performing supplier partners to executive moves, and frequently arrange to have a manager physically present for move-in and move-out days so that service delivery is of the highest quality possible. Care can be delivered in little ways like having dinner delivered on move-in day or providing pet sitting for the first few days after a move.
What are some best practices for executive relocations?
- During initial planning, discuss with the executive how choice, control and care can be provided.
- Have one of your current executives (or an executive from your RMC) make contact with the relocating executive and offer communication throughout the move.
- Anticipate small quality of life needs (like meal requests or working with a particular supplier) and try to meet those needs without a request.
- Be flexible on the support your company provides – not every move requires the same benefits.
- Meet everyone’s emotional needs throughout the move. Some executives like to be in charge of the move, while others prefer to be hands-off.