Article by
Arjun Jonnalagadda
Global Mobility Lead at Baker Hughes


Core Flex is a very simple concept to understand and has been a topic of discussion and interest for few years now. Yet, the adoption rate of this practice has not reached (what I think is) it’s full potential. This is due to multiple reasons which I will cover in a different article. In this one, I want to start with the basics of Core Flex.

So, what is Core Flex?

It is an assignment benefits package where certain benefits are standard provisions (Core) and for the rest, flexibility (Flex) is offered to the employee, to choose between multiple options that will best serve their individual circumstances and needs during relocation.

Why is it needed?

Well for the employee (our true customer), it delivers superior experience through flexibility to choose among various options and also because not everyone’s needs are the same, providing a fixed set of benefits for everyone doesn’t really work. In addition:

  • It takes away embarrassment on employee’s part to keep asking for things.
  • Provides higher satisfaction as it is a shift from ‘Use it or Lose it’ mindset.
  • Better experience overall, with reduced frustrations right at the start of assignment.

For Companies:

  • The biggest benefit is reduced administration, due to reduced consultation and exception requests.
  • It is a shift from ‘prescribing’ a set of limited options to providing a range of options to choose from.
  • Helps address diverse needs and aims to provide options that are more inclusive.
Worth noting that Flex is more about the employee than the company.

How to decide between Core and Flex benefits:

Think of a complex of condos where the developer ensures the structural integrity and safety of the building (duty of care, compliance, standardized plans) and the prospective owners get a say in the furnishings, appliances and décor of the apartment (personal preferences and unique requirements).

Probably not the best analogy, but you get the idea.

The same goes for Core Flex in Global Mobility as well, where the company provides Core elements aimed to ensure basic duty of care, compliance and standardization (say Housing, Education, Immigration and tax support); and the employees are provided a range of benefits to choose from to address unique personal situations (rental car vs allowance for public transport, Actual shipment vs. Cash in Lieu, etc.).

Now, let’s look at who needs to be a part of Core Flex design.

The build out involves Global Mobility teams, the business leaders and of course the employees (End user).

  • Business leaders help provide the direction, in terms of the Culture and Experience they want to create for the employees moving on these important assignments.
  • Global Mobility teams pair the company’s vision with their functional expertise (regional nuances, industry knowhow, cost/tax optimized solutions) to evaluate and advise on ‘Core’ and ‘Flex’ elements.
  • Lastly, employees play a key role in providing ‘On the Ground’ feedback through their current adoption of benefits and exception requests. This gives a direct view of what’s working or not working and pave the path for future offerings.

Watch this space for more on Core Flex, where I want to explore, Top things to focus on while building ‘Core Flex’Counter Intuitive strategies for Core Flex and What will Core Flex not completely solve.