Rising incidents of identity theft and the implementation of the National Do Not Call Registry may require corporations utilizing third-party suppliers to revise their relocation offer process, according to Prudential Relocation, a Prudential Financial Inc. business.

“It’s a tough situation that companies are encountering–they want to offer the best relocation services available to their potential transferees; however, if third-party suppliers can not solicit these employees, the service level may potentially decrease,” said Carmelita Brown, vice president, Global Consulting Group, Prudential Relocation. “Companies may want to consider providing their employees the option of accepting these calls or not in the relocation offer.”

She said that a recent interactive Web seminar conducted by Prudential Relocation to help corporate clients prepare relocation programs for 2004 revealed that most relocation managers have not taken the appropriate steps to address consumer privacy.

In addition to the growing privacy issue, the Web seminar participants who completed an online survey covering various other relocation issues responded that relocation volume will remain the same in 2005 (51 percent). Only 10 percent said they expect a decline in relocation volume, while 38 percent stated that they expect an increase in relocation volume.

In addition, the survey found that 63 percent of the respondents foresee cost containment and service balance in the current economy as a major relocation challenge in 2004. According to the survey, more transferees want to work with first-rate service providers for their relocation needs and while companies also want this for their employees, the cost factor plays a major part in the decision more on what services to outsource, keep in house or eliminate.

“When it comes to containing costs and offering transferees the best available service, something has to give. Whether it’s another service offering or the level of service, companies can’t afford to offer both,” Brown said.

Prudential Relocation’s Trend Inventory Survey concluded that there are a number of paradoxes in the relocation industry, with the “Cost vs. Service Paradox” being a primary one. “As companies work to reduce the expenses associated with relocation, there is a need to balance this with service satisfaction. It’s key for companies to know that cost management does not necessarily need to be at the expense of service satisfaction,” Brown said.

She suggested that companies may be able to eliminate policy parameters that encourage maxing out by aligning support with changing needs while keeping in step with business needs and budgets. “Companies can also prepare an “all-weather” relocation policy, which can eliminate any gray areas. Policy parameters and new relocation policies can only work for these companies when communication is clear about the roles and responsibilities of the employees and managers,” Brown said.

Prudential Financial’s relocation group is the second largest provider of comprehensive global relocation services in the United States as of March 15, 2004, according to Relocation Information Services. In 2003, the company completed approximately 187,000 service transactions to approximately 47,000 transferees.

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