Making Employee Relocation Work

Posted by Talent Intelligence on Mon, Aug 24, 2015 @ 10:08 AM

8-24-15_blogLearn what relocation incentives you need to offer — and what you need to do after the assignment is accepted.

Companies may be hesitant to offer a relocation package to a job candidate, due to the involved costs and potential availability of local talent.

Relocation, however, can be used as an effective employee retention tool to keep valued workers engaged and on board, according to Recruiter.

As our October employee value proposition blog post pointed out, disengaged employees can cost organizations a substantial amount of money. For employees looking for new challenges and opportunities, the chance to relocate, internationally or domestically, can offer a re-energizing effect.

Treating an employee relocation offer as an investment in the employee’s future appears to be a growing trend. After the Recession, employee relocations were increasingly considered to be a talent development tactic, according to Workforce Management magazine, instead of a reaction to staffing or other needs.

However, a 2012 report from Brookfield Global Relocation Services noted that the link between international placement efforts, succession planning and internal development could be much stronger. Brookfield found that, despite increased awareness, most companies did not indicate that their global mobility group was strongly affiliated with their talent management efforts.

Employee relocation programs aren’t always universal policies within an organization, which may cause some of the disconnect between a relocation program’s goals and an organization’s overall talent goals and plans. A employee relocation program, for example, may involve different incentives for various management levels, based on tenure; the company’s haste to fill a position and an employee’s individual family or other needs.

Your company may have different reasons for placing employees in different locations; it can, however, often benefit from proactively addressing some of the common concerns and desires many relocating employees may have — by taking steps to:

Establish an employee relocation timeframe: Although the timeframe may vary, based on individual employees’ needs, approximately two-thirds of employers provide a month or less for employees to start working at the new location after they accept a relocation offer, according to Atlas. Most employers, according to Atlas’ survey, capped the maximum timeframe at seven to eight weeks.

Let workers know when each employee relocation stage will occur. You may also be able to help relieve some of the stress associated with moving-related tasks, such as setting up home Internet access and applying for a local bank account, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, by arranging for a third-party vendor to coordinate the relocation process — or by supplying soon-to-be-relocated employees with detailed information about what they’ll need to do.

Fund the basics: Typically, moving costs, temporary lodging expenses, airfare home, if your family doesn’t relocate when you do, help selling your home, and job search recruiter referrals or other assistance for your spouse are often paid for when an employee relocates, according to Monster.

Consider extra options: Other employee relocation incentives can include packing services, childcare costs or financial bonuses. Relocation bonuses are the most frequently used employee relocation incentive, according to the 2015 Atlas Corporate Relocation Survey; 59 percent of companies who relocated employees to another country or city offered them. Other creative relocation package options include offering telecommuting to reduce commute costs (used by 32 percent of companies that relocated employees last year); mortgage payoffs or loans (21 percent) and extended temporary housing benefits (58 percent).

Communicate your relocation package details: No matter what employee relocation incentives you provide, it’s important to make sure relocating employees thoroughly understand the associated benefits long before the move happens, according to HRZone; a policy briefing can help you identify all the details.

Help employees view relocation as a career development opportunity: Adapting to a new environment, and a new role that will likely involve new tasks, can be daunting— but it can also help employees expand their professional skill set, according to the National Career Development Association’s Career Convergence magazine. An article the association published in August 2013 cited a research on employee relocation programs at a number of Japanese companies that found offering career counseling services to highlight a new position as a chance for professional growth, instead of a career deviation, can be particularly helpful after relocation.

Moving is one of the biggest challenges associated with employee relocation. Even with a company’s best efforts, feelings of isolation can easily surface — and escalate rapidly — when a recently relocated staff member tries to adjust to working and living a new location.

To alleviate any potential frustration, HR Daily Advisor recommends communicating at least a few times a week with relocated employees immediately after they arrive.

You don’t have to feel obligated to video chat or even call daily; in some cases, time differences can make those methods of communication difficult. Email is fine — as long as communication happens on a regular basis, so you can ensure remote employees remain informed and engaged.

Join our mailing list

Search the blog

Latest posts

LEARN MORE