What Corporate Assignees Like to Have But Were Afraid to Ask

What do assignees (eg. staff being relocated) like to have in their corporate apartments but were afraid or, say, just too polite to ask their employers?

It so happens that there are still assignees out there who are not comfortable making demands for their corporate housing needs if they are getting a leg up the corporate ladder and are perfectly fine if their companies decide the type of accommodations they think they deserve.

Times have changed, though.  Mature international corporations have restructured human resources and now call this department Global Mobility. Depending on a person’s type of recruitment, companies are trying to make sure relocations are almost painless and assignees can make requests when accepting a job relocation. It’s not easy to feel dislocated or isolated moving to a new city, even more if one is coming from another culture with different work ethic.

Before asking for anything, though, the assignee would do well to ask certain things that he will need to find out if his requests are valid. If he gets an assignment form, it would do him well to review his assignment type, not forgetting the duration of the assignment. He will need to fill up personal details, international assignment case, assignment compensation and payroll international instructions, housing accommodation, among others.

Cash allowances or reimbursements for expenses also have to be clarified before the move. Some assignees may just prefer accepting cash so they can better estimate their expenses. If the cash allowances are enough for the assignee to take care of himself, then it allows the assignee to be more flexible in making decisions. However, this is even before the move and when this happens, it will be evident the assignee will weigh in the pros and cons of the move.

The first thing one must ask is how the company’s third-party provider, if any, is arranging travel and accommodation. The mobility professional must have a standardized selection process when it comes to choosing a vendor for the corporate housing needs of their assignee. It’s not information an assignee is privy to but the point of asking is for global mobility professionals to be on their toes, so the assignee is assured of a roof on this head when he arrives.

One employee in our experience was asked to choose from a list of 2 to 5 places and was afraid to ask for more choices. If he knew how to ask, it might have been easier for both sides.

Knowing the type of assignment — a year with option to, say, apply for a Green Card as shouldered by the employer — is a step in the right direction. Ask this if you’re moving from another country to the United States.  

This is crucial if  one intends to stay in the US for good. It’s better to ask this before any paperwork is filled up. Other legal and tax issues should also be asked even before verbal agreements are settled. Asking a global mobility professional anything goes a long way in helping one assess whether they want to move or not.

Those are top concerns that should not be overlooked. When it comes to corporate housing, though, the assignee need to ask all the questions on his mind. The recruiter or global mobility specialist should ask if the employer offers the following:

  • Free regular household cleaning service and supplies

  • Special club memberships

  • Criminal check, especially sex offenders if the assignee has kids

  • Property values in area, if staying longer

  • En suite laundry inside apartment

  • Kitchen essentials, even coffeemaker, utensils and household equipment

  • Assignee’s chosen furniture selection (yes, it can rented by employer)

  • Internet speed

  • Apartment maintenance through superintendent

  • Air temperature in corporate housing

  • Large TV with cables and other useful gadgets

  • Nearby gym or indoor gym

  • Parking space

  • Limo service

  • Transit rides or assistance

  • Pet care

It’s a long list that one can also look into if the information is available online from the employer — and asked only for clarification to the mobility professional later. If they cannot be bothered with the details, only consider the best vendor that knows how to offer a concierge experience to assignees and the employer or company it works with. (DC)