One-way moves used to be just for permanent transfers, but global mobility is finding creative ways to apply this policy approach to save costs, support remote work, and give employees the flexibility they want. In this blog series, we’re taking a deeper dive into one-way transfers, focusing the fundamentals of a one-way transfer policy. Please read on for the fifth installment of this series (click for posts 1, 2, 3 and 4). 

Before considering one-way moves within an organization, mobility needs to ensure that there is a written policy document that clearly states who is eligible for the policy. Without clear policy documentation, programs can wind up creating one-off packages for each transfer, with no guardrails in place to ensure consistent and equitable application among employees. Further, without a well-defined section on eligibility, the business may start requesting one-way moves in inappropriate circumstances. Trying to support an employee on an international transfer, when they’re truly doing a two-year expat assignment, is a challenge that no mobility professional wants to face. Mobility can prevent such frustrations by thoughtfully planning the policy document.

Another process aspect to consider is compensation. While one-way moves typically have the employee move onto local compensation, it’s important to consider how the business will manage the change in transferring into the host scheme. If the structures are similar between home and host, mobility can use compensation data available to decide an adequate salary point for the employee to move onto.

However, if compensation is significantly different between origin and destination, mobility needs to work with total rewards to clearly define a process for how to decide local salary. For example, a one-way transfer from Mexico to Switzerland will result in a higher compensation for the employee, due to the employee moving from a lower-compensation and cost-of-living country to a higher-compensation and cost-of-living country. An employee will happily relocate to the higher compensation structure; however, the scenario in reverse presents a challenge in that the employee is not likely to accept a large pay decrease.

Determining how to adjust compensation in a way that is equitable to the employee’s local peers, while still being enticing to the employee, may be an impossible challenge. But if mobility can identify a process when employees are asked to relocate between countries with vastly different compensation affinities, they’ll be ahead of the curve when these problems eventually arise. In these cases, an international assignment may be the better alternative. 

For the full article, originally published in the Issue 4 copy of Mobility Magazine, please click here.

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