by Fern D. Shaw, CRP, GMS
Lexicon’s Christian Ter-Nedden, representing Lexicon Relocation’s Irvine, California, regional service center, recently served on a global mobility panel in an educational discussion during the Southern California Relocation Council’s (SCRC) annual meeting.
SCRC is a Recognized Regional Group of WORLDWIDE ERC®, and the meeting was held onboard the Queen Mary - Long Beach. The meeting’s focus centered on business travel and domestic and international short term assignments.
Relocation professionals from across Southern California attended SCRC’s program for corporate round table discussions, networking, lunch and program presentations on this very timely topic in employee relocation.
As part of his presentation, Christian shared insight from his front-line support experience on short-term assignments. He recommended employers ask the following questions prior to executing any business travel, domestic or international short-term assignment program:
• What are the purposes and the intents of the assignment?
• Is the assignment clearly-defined, or open-ended?
• What are the tax consequences of the assignment for the employer and assignee?
• Payroll departments will be affected and will need proper instruction. Who will provide that advice?
• What benefits need to be provided in these types of assignments?
Further discussion centered on common myths associated with these types of assignments, compliance challenges. Christian provided several examples of well-planned versus poorly-planned assignments and the consequences of both from a compliance and customer service perspective.
As a long-term senior global mobility consultant, Christian clearly demonstrated how important it is for every global mobility program to have best practice policies and business processes fully in place prior to execution of any short-term assignments. He advised that it is equally critical if a program is outsourced to a third party relocation provider, that relocating employees are supported by a relocation counselor or global mobility consultant with first-hand knowledge of the practical aspects of preparing, implementing and supporting an assignee for these types of assignments.
Additionally, Christian noted it was vital that the global mobility services provider offered the relocation tools and technologies needed to gather, categorize, track and report any necessary risk management compliance data related to immigration, tax or legal requirements.