Are Relocation Incentives Overlooked as a Recruiting Tool?

B Calkins/Shutterstock.com

The federal government must improve its employee relocation program in order to recruit and retain the best workers, according to a federal managers advocacy group.

The Senior Executives Association released a white paper Monday saying the government currently treats employee relocation as a procurement and travel issue, rather than a human capital one. Currently, managers lack proper training on relocation services available, so they have failed to attract top talent through relocation incentives, SEA said. Additionally, agencies have posted vacancy announcements without including the potential for relocation benefits.

SEA pointed to 2005 recommendations from the Government Relocation Advisory Board as a starting point for the necessary changes to federal relocation policy.

The General Services Administration implemented some of GRAB’s recommendations in 2011, but SEA said many issues have not been addressed because they require congressional legislation and the changes “have not yet found a sponsor in Congress.” GRAB found agencies were analyzing relocation programs as a budget item and with insufficient data, which SEA said has persisted in preventing government from taking a comprehensive look at how relocation affects employees.

The 2008 economic recession highlighted the shortfalls of current relocation policy, SEA said, as many private sector relocation services pulled out of the federal market because they could not obtain adequate lines of credit. The white paper recommended agencies work with the private sector to anticipate market fluctuation and better prepare for the effects on employee relocation.

Agencies should also better use the advice from the relocation industry it already receives, according to SEA, as private sector experts can fill the voids left by the shrinking number of federal specialists. Government should give contractors monetary rewards for “making the moving experience a seamless and swift one for a federal employee,” the group suggested.  

In 2009, the government provided relocation services for 4,605 employees, totaling $55.2 million, according to SEA. Ninety-one percent of relocated employees came from the Justice, Defense or Veteran Affairs departments. Employees are only offered relocation services “at the convenience of the government,” when officials believe it would be otherwise difficult to fill a position.

SEA said now is the perfect time to address relocation issues.

“Although the timing on bringing up this issue may seem odd given the budget challenges facing agencies, this is actually the best time to discuss relocation issues,” SEA General Counsel Bill Bransford said in a statement. “Relocation is a recruitment, retention and employee satisfaction issue -- something agencies should keep in their HR toolkits especially during this time of low employee morale. Furthermore, strong relocation programs can save agencies money while making such a major life event easier on employees.”

(Image via B Calkins/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.