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White Paper Release: Senior Executives Association Finds That Relocation Programs Help Agencies Meet Bottom Line, Retain Employees

Today, the Senior Executives Association (SEA) released a whitepaper on federal relocation practices and the often ignored human capital implications of these programs.

Washington, D.C. Today, the Senior Executives Association (SEA) released a  whitepaper on federal relocation practices and the often ignored human capital implications of these programs. Given the sequester and ongoing budget challenges facing agencies, the Association has been working to identify areas that can help agencies find cost savings while also benefiting employees.

Federal employees, from Senior Executives to law enforcement officers to lower level General Schedule employees, are moved around the country for a variety of reasons. However, most agencies view the move as a procurement function - moving household goods, the housing sales transaction. The experiences of SEA members tell a different story.

Due to the depressed housing market, employees have trouble selling their homes and some have run into financial difficulties that affect security clearances. Others work for agencies that require the employee to relocate, but no longer offer any financial assistance due to budget cuts, leading the employee to pay his or her own way. This has led some employees to pay $12,000 out-of-pocket on average.

"Relocation has implications outside the technical movement of people from one place to another. It also affects the ability of agencies to fill critical positions, contributes to whether employees can accept a reassignment, and can even raise security clearance issues for employees, stated SEA President Carol Bonosaro. "Agencies should absolutely ensure human capital offices are familiar with relocation programs and the effects on employees. This should also be tied to agency performance where relocation programs are used as a tool to fill critical positions and ensure strong agency performance," continued Bonosaro.

Adding this financial hardship on top of possible furloughs makes it even more difficult for employees to take mandatory reassignments, which could hinder career advancement opportunities. The sequester is hardly the time when agencies can afford to lose talented and critical employees.

Continued SEA General Counsel Bill Bransford, "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. 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."

As SEA's whitepaper explains, agencies that run strong relocations programs can find cost savings through the personnel side as well as the procurement side.

SEA is sharing its message on relocation with federal agencies and other federal employee organizations. The paper can be downloaded  here.

The Senior Executives Association (SEA) is a professional association representing Senior Executive Service members and other career federal executives. Founded in 1980, SEA's goals are: to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and productivity of the federal government; to advance the professionalism and advocate the interests of career federal executives; and to enhance public recognition of their contributions. The SEA Professional Development League (PDL) is a nonprofit educational organization committed to advancing the professionalism of career federal executives through the sponsorship of training, recognition, and research activities.