5 ways managers can help employee relocation go more smoothly

Relocation is hardly ever ‘routine’. Here’s how you can support employees.

Today Living Group relocation management

As the working world continues to become more global, employee mobility and employee relocation is increasingly common.

But for the employees (and their families) involved, relocation is hardly ever ‘routine’. Here’s how HR professionals can support employees – and the business – allowing them to relocate smoothly, seamlessly, and hit the ground running in their new location.

Have a plan: For relocation in general, and the employee specifically

For organizations which don’t relocate employees on a regular basis, it can be tempting to conduct relocations on a sort of ad hoc basis. But this can leave the employee with a lot of questions, uncertainty, and with a lot of extra work at a time when they need to be extra-focused on their job. And it can lead to significantly increased relocation costs for the organization for movers, accommodation and loss of productivity.

Organizations which take the time to create Relocation Roadmaps almost always save time, money and headache. These roadmaps should include:

  • A comprehensive list of the expenses and responsibilities of the relocation – and who is responsible for each element
  • Details about their new work environment: Vacation days, sick days, trips home, etc.
  • Timelines
  • Key contact information for the employee (both within the organization and in their new city)
  • Key information on the employee and his/her family
  • Healthcare information (what the employee should do if s/he becomes sick or is injured in his/her new home, etc.)

Establish a single point of contact – who has the power to act

One of the most common problems we see in relocated employees is that when they have a question, or something goes wrong, they don’t know who to contact to get it resolved. Establishing a single point of contact for each employee who relocates (and making them available outside of regular hours during key parts of the move) can make a huge difference to their peace of mind – and save money by avoiding costly workarounds.

Build trusted partnerships in key cities

For organizations who regularly relocate employees or send them on long-term temp assignments, building relationships with key suppliers, such as movers, IT companies and furnished accommodation providers in the cities they relocate to most often can mean that relocations are handled precisely to the organization’s requirements, often within a single phone call.

Understand the non-work factors affecting the employee

Whether you’re sending an employee to work in a branch office for 3 months, or relocating them for a 3-year stint, they’re not working in a vacuum: They may be leaving family or bringing family with them; learning a new language or taking courses; caring for a sick relative – there are any number of factors that can be complicated by their move. (And 60% of spouses are reluctant to relocate. http://gmsmobility.com/corporate-relocation/knowledge-base/family-matters-trailing-spouse-career-assistance/ ]  The more you know about their life as a whole, the better you can support them, whether that’s by helping them find schools for their kids or ensuring their contract allows them adequate visits home. This support can seem time-consuming, but will deliver a better productivity ROI in the long run.

Make their landing smooth and seamless

There’s nothing worse than landing in a new city, feeling a little anxious about starting a new job in a whole new place, only to find that your luggage hasn’t arrived or your apartment isn’t ready or you don’t have internet access.

HR professionals can make a big difference, by:

  • Using the relocation plan to ensure details aren’t missed
  • Partnering with accommodation providers who can act like ‘concierges’ in the employee’s new city
  • Ensuring employees have someone on the ground in their new home to contact for help with day-to-day challenges

We know that while the idea of relocation sounds exciting, the reality can be stressful – but it doesn’t have to be. A little advance planning and the right partner can increase the ‘exciting’ while minimizing the ‘stressful’.