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Employee Experience Guides Development of Company’s Core-Flex Programme

Graebel Case Stury

A multinational life sciences company realised that  despite its strong culture of putting employees first, its Mobility programme wasn’t living up to that standard.

The company averages over 600 relocations each year. Their international assignments (roughly 250) include U.S. inbound as well as transfers to the APAC, EMEA and LATAM regions.

Unfortunately, the company’s Human Resource leaders were increasingly hearing negative feedback from U.S. domestic transferees. The policies were rigid and didn’t always address individual needs. Adding to the urgency, the organisation was in the process of acquiring another company that offered relatively generous relocation policies to its transferees.


  • Employee feedback on U.S. domestic relocations didn’t match company’s “employee first” culture
  • Employees were beginning to resist accepting transfers due to the relocation package
  • Company was acquiring another business with a more generous relocation programme


Defining the Core-Flex Approach

Core-Flex relocation benefit programmes offer personalised relocation packages that combine:

  • Core benefits that address compliance requirements and are appropriate for every transferee
  • Optional flex benefits that reflect a transferee’s position, personal situation and priorities

A properly structured and well-managed Core-Flex programme can produce attractive and relevant packages for employees whilst reducing the overall programme cost.


Listening to the Voice of the Transferee and Key Stakeholders

We were hired to be the company’s relocation management company as these challenges were identified. First, to dig deeper, our Consulting team surveyed recent transferees, asking pointed questions to uncover specific concerns. Our team also met with internal stakeholders to get additional historical context and explored programme administrative challenges whilst revisiting the current programme’s guiding principles.


Pulling it all Together

After deliberations and strategic planning sessions with the Mobility team, we met with the Human Resource leadership team to present our findings and recommendations – which included adjustments to the guiding principles to resolve conflicting goals. Since their international programme was newly implemented prior to bringing us on board, the plan was to phase in the U.S. domestic programme first, evaluate the progress of the international programme and then decide if that segment should be transitioned to a Core-Flex programme as well. The ultimate recommendation was to shift to a U.S. domestic Core-Flex programme which:

  1. Mirrored the positive aspects of their newly formed international transferee programme as closely as possible
  2. Reinforced their employee-focused culture
  3. Addressed the specific opportunities and concerns uncovered in our analysis


  • Survey recent transferees to determine specific areas for improvement
  • Benchmark industry norms and best practices
  • Evaluate various programme options and service levels
  • Implement a Core-Flex programme beginning with the U.S. domestic relocation population


Balancing an Exceptional Employee Experience and Cost

With the leadership’s buy-in with this approach, the building process began in earnest. We led their team through an extended, detailed analysis of the benefit options and scenarios, supported by service level benchmarks from similar-sized companies and other life sciences companies.

Whilst employee experience primarily drove the company’s decisions during this design phase, cost was also a factor. Once the company settled on employee-focused programme elements, we conducted a cost analysis that indicated the more individualised U.S. domestic programme under development would reduce the  cost of each move by 5-10% on average.


Core-Flex Programme Implementation and the Path Forward

The new Core-Flex programme has been rolled out to non-lump sum U.S. domestic transferees. It has three tiers of core benefits allowing business managers the option to ratchet these up or down depending on employee circumstances. Roughly 50% of the package includes flex benefits, some of which are selected by the business and the rest by the transferee.

Based on initial survey feedback, employees are pleased with the new programme and how the company has progressed to add choice and flexibility into the process.

We have identified a regular cycle to monitor the progress, keeping a close eye on programme and administrative costs, assignee usage data and, of course, employee experience feedback. If warranted, adjustments to the programme will take place during these evaluation periods.

“The company was extremely thorough in exploring all employee options and we were glad to provide data-driven benchmarking and scenario studies to help guide those deliberations and decisions.” – Samantha Hainey, CRP, GMS-T, Vice President, Client Services, Graebel



  • Improved employee feedback for new Core-Flex relocations
  • 5-10% per relocation cost savings projected


For more information and guidance on Core-Flex, read these resources:
Four Things to Consider Before You Adopt a Core-Flex Mobility Benefit Programme
Guide to Designing a Successful Core-Flex Programme

Download the Case Study