Smart move

In this age of specialization, many companies find it difficult to fill certain positions from a local pool of talent. When that happens, they woo desirable, out-of-town candidates with attractive benefits packages, including relocation assistance.

“Sometimes when the local labor market can’t provide us with professionals in areas of current high demand, we have to hire from out of the area,” says Don Corpora, director of professional recruitment at Akron General Health System. “As part of that hire, we negotiate a relocation reimbursement package.”

Mark Watson, associate chairman of the pediatrics department and vice president of integrated systems development at Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron, says a shortage of pediatrics and primary care specialists necessitates a generous relocation package to lure savvy candidates.

“Since we recruit from all over the country, we’ve developed a standard relocation package,” he says.

Common relocation reimbursement considerations include travel expenses for interviewing, the cost of house-hunting trips, temporary housing, storage for household items and moving costs.

“These are all reasonable considerations and things we’d negotiate with a finalist candidate,” Corpora says.

Some companies also cover the cost of a trip for the employee and spouse to get acquainted with the area.

“We fly in the employee for interviews and pay to bring in spouses for two house-hunting trips,” says Watson. “In some cases, we also fly in the kids so they can shop around for schools.”

Other considerations may include employer payment on the employee’s existing mortgage, taxes and insurance until the former home is sold, and a percentage sales bonus if the employee is able to sell the home within a specified time.

“While we don’t offer that in our package, we might pay some bonuses, depending on circumstances, which helps with things like house down payments,” Watson says.

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., National City Bank and Newel Rubbermaid also tap into Spherion Inc.’s “Partner Relocation Program” to provide employment assistance for a trailing spouse.

While corporate culture ultimately dictates a company’s relocation policies, flexibility is key, since it’s a seen as a positive sign by candidates. And typically, companies customize relocation packages based on the incoming employee’s level and value to the company.

“You’re better off structuring a tiered offer based on the type of position an employee is coming into,” says Karen Maruna, retail market marketing for FirstMerit Corp. How to reach: Akron General Health System Human Resources, (330) 344-6090; Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron Human Resources, (330) 543-8330; Spherion Inc., (330) 665-3443; FirstMerit Corp. Human Resources, 888-609-7107.

Real-ty check

From facilitating a relocating employee’s home sale and new home purchase, to the shipping of household goods, many realtors assist companies relocating employees.

For example, as a full-service, third-party relocation management company, RE/MAX International Relocation Services Inc. provides customized departure, destination, outsourcing and consulting services for an organization’s needs, says Celeste Frank, a broker owner at RE/MAX Keystone Realty in Fairlawn.

“Whether you’re looking for a comprehensive on-site review and assessment of a portion of your existing relocation processes or you need to create an entire relocation program,” says Frank, “RE/MAX Relocation has a dedicated consulting staff that can facilitate your checklist.” How to reach: RE/MAX International Relocation Services Inc., (800) 442-3501