Glossary of Relocation Terms

Relocation Terms You Should Know

If you’re new to global mobility or relocating for the first time, it may seem like everyone around you is speaking a different language. From distinguishing between a transferee and an assignee to navigating abbreviations such as GMS and RMC, there are many global mobility terms specific to the industry that make it difficult to understand the process. Bookmark this page to decipher your next mobility conversation and before you know it, you’ll be speaking like a GMS®-certified industry pro.



Although this term is sometimes used interchangeably with transferee (see below for definition), an assignee refers to someone who is temporarily relocating to a new destination for a job. A short-term assignment is typically considered less than one year in a location. However, each company may have their own parameters around this timeframe. A long-term assignment is typically an assignment lasting one to five years.



Core/flex programs combine core benefits, such as household goods shipments, policy counseling and employee relocation with optional assistance that can be selected by the company or individual. These can include pre-decision services, mortgage assistance, school-finding trips and much more. Learn more about core/flex programs.



The Certified Relocation Professional (CRP®) Designation is a competency-based designation program administered by Worldwide ERC®. Mobility professionals can earn this designation by passing an exam focused on a comprehensive understanding of the principles and practices of relocation within the U.S.



Destination refers to the geographical location a transferring employee will live during their new role.


Duty of care

Duty of care is a company’s obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees. This includes actively protecting employees from foreseeable harm or injury. When it comes to global mobility, businesses take on this responsibility for the employee as well as their family, if the family is included in the relocation.



EE is often used as an abbreviation for employee, typically referring to relocating employees in global mobility.



Known as Worldwide ERC ® (Employee Relocation Council), the organization is a relocation services industry trade group. With more than 12,000 relocation professionals listed as members, the group focuses on industry issues and management practices for the movement of employees within the United States and between all other countries.



The European Relocation Association, commonly known as EuRA, is a professional industry organization for relocation providers and associated services in Europe. The non-profit is committed to promoting the benefits of a professionally managed relocation to companies moving employees around the world.



FIDI stands for Fédération Internationale des Déménageurs Internationaux, or International Federation of International Movers. It is a global organization of professional international moving and relocation companies. FIDI has more than 600 affiliates in 100 countries, and each affiliate must comply with rigorous FIDI-FAIM quality standards.


Global Compensation

Global compensation is the compiling, management and reporting of compensation data to the appropriate country authorities for global assignments. This is a complex and often complicated process depending on a variety of factors, including country of origin, host country and assignment length.



The Global Mobility Specialist (GMS®) Designation is designed for those who manage their companies’ mobility programs and mobility service providers. It sets apart industry leaders and creates a shared understanding of the global mobility field.



HHG is an acronym for household goods, which is defined as the items found within a home. When referring to moving an employee’s household goods, this includes all the moveable contents of a home, such as personal items and furniture.


Lump Sum

Lump sum is a type of relocation program that consists of an employer providing an employee a fixed amount to relocate. This program is popular because employers view it as a quick and simple way to get employees into their destination fast, with minimal internal resources and paperwork. Learn more about lump sum relocation programs.


Move Management

Move management is the process of assessing, planning and executing a corporate move. Companies that handle move management partner with a network of providers to deliver end-to-end solutions for all aspects of a move or relocation. Learn more about move management, or find out how to buy move management services.


Pre-Decision Services

Pre-decisions services help companies confidently put the right people in the right roles. Beyond making sure a candidate has the right skills for a position, a pre-decision program ensures a company is providing the right amount of support to assignees in critical areas. Typical services include pre-decision trip, cost projection, global competencies and culture fit. These should be done for both for the employee’s new geographic destination and work environment. 


RES Forum

The RES Forum is considered the largest and most active network for international human resources and global mobility survey data, modelling and analytics. Founded in 2006, members receive access to exclusive data to keep a progressive pulse on industry trends. Sterling Lexicon® Relocation is The RES Forum’s sole technical partner for global relocation.



RMC is an abbreviation for relocation management company. A relocation management company, also commonly referred to as a global mobility provider, offers relocation services to an organization and its employees through internal or outsourced providers.


Shadow Payroll

Shadow payroll describes the report compensation data that is paid from another country. If you have an employee on assignment in a foreign country, their wages may need to be reported in both the home and host countries via a shadow payroll. Learn more about shadow payroll.


Single Point of Coordination

A single point of coordination (also referred to as single point of communication) is a method used by RMCs to communicate the relocation process with a relocating employee. As opposed to a rolling call center, the single point of coordination (SPOC) method pairs employees with an expert who takes ownership of their relocation process to manage and guide employees along the way.


Small Shipment Program

Also referred to as crate and freight and containerized shipments, a small shipment program uses containerized shipments to move an employee’s household goods to their destination faster than traditional moving methods. This type of program is gaining popularity for shipments under 5,000 pounds because of the reduced cost and time-saving benefits. Learn more about small shipment programs.


Supply Chain

A relocation management company’s supply chain, also known as a supplier network, is imperative to the success of relocations. Its supply chain consists of organizations around the world that assist RMCs in effectively relocating employees. These partners include real-estate agents, international household goods suppliers, immigration lawyers and many other specialized professionals. Learn more about Sterling Lexicon’s supplier network.


Transferee or Transferring Employee

A transferee, also referred to as a transferring employee, is an employee who is permanently moving to a new destination for a job.


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