What makes for a well-executed relocation program? That is a question that global mobility professionals ask themselves every day. It’s how they create the best relocation solutions for their clients, and how they stay abreast of emerging industry trends. And although relocation involves a set of very complex integrated processes, a well-executed program often comes down to one simple thing: minimizing employee downtime, while improving productivity.
While that might sound easy enough, it takes a great deal of experience, knowledge and expertise to make it happen.
It all starts with a solid relocation program
To best minimize employee downtime when relocating, you have to make sure that you have a solid relocation program that is built around the key factors that are most important to your transferring employees. For most domestic relocations, those typically include:
- Packing and shipment of household goods
- Home sale and home purchase assistance
- Mortgage assistance
- Temporary accommodations
- Vehicle transportation
- Home-finding and rental assistance
- Miscellaneous out-of-pocket expenditures
For international relocations, that list might be expanded to include:
- Cross-cultural training
- Destination services
- Language training
- Tax, legal and immigration services
Having a robust relocation program removes a lot of the burden associated with the move (in both time and money) away from the employee. That means that they will be able to focus on their job, and remain productive before, during and after the move.
Ideally, your relocation program should be one that makes relocation easier for your employees. This goes a long way in helping the employee and their family quickly settle into life in their new location, because it takes a lot of the self-planning and guess-work out of the process. So, make sure that you have a solid relocation program that is based on industry best practices, and that is in keeping with your organization’s overall business goals.
The value of trusted partners
A solid relocation program is also one in which you have trusted, vetted partners working in symphony with one another, to achieve the mutual goal of providing the highest level of service to each transferee and family. When done successfully, this will best ensure a smooth transition.
By developing a solid relocation program, you are investing in your valued employees, which is a critical component for employee retention. Statistics show that employees who do not feel like they are well supported by their employers throughout their relocation, are at a much higher risk of leaving the organization altogether. And, it can be quite costly to relocate an employee across the country only to have him or her leave the company.
Minimizing employee downtime when relocating
Time is money, so the last thing you want is for a relocation to cause an employee unnecessary or excessive downtime. When employees are relocating, it’s easy for them to become distracted by the physical and emotional aspects of the move. A certain degree of this is to be expected, but you want to make sure that each part of the process is running as efficiently as possible.
That’s why having trusted partners working towards the same goal is essential. For most companies, the typical scenario involves an RMC (Relocation Management Company) that oversees all of the service providers, and manages the relocation every step of the way. This establishes a structure of accountability, and keeps the process moving forward. When each service provider is successfully executing their specific part of the relocation, the result is a win-win for both the employee and employer.
Less stress means improved productivity
A well-executed relocation program also means less stress on the employee and family. And when you reduce stress, productivity levels tend to remain higher.
Oftentimes, one of the most stressful aspects of a relocation is property ownership. The idea of selling a home in one location to purchase a home in a new location can seem like a cumbersome undertaking for a relocating employee. But, if the employer’s relocation program includes home sale and home purchase assistance, the move will be much more attractive for the employee. Thus, it alleviates a lot of the stress associated with selling and buying a home, which in turn, reduces employee downtime.
Setting and managing expectations
Another important ingredient for minimizing downtime and improving productivity during a relocation, is by setting and managing the expectations of the employee and family. That means planning for the unexpected and being nimble in response to questions and concerns that might arise along the way.
Likewise, you need to be aware of the employee’s expectations about his or her move. As with most things, good communication is the key. So, don’t assume that everyone is on the same page. Make sure that you are answering every question and explaining everything that will take place. Also, make sure that all parties are copied on all applicable communication, and that you share all relevant information from start to finish.
Good communication is the best way to stay proactive and help your employees avoid any pitfalls during their relocation. And, when there is an issue or a challenge, be ready to provide the most practical solution. Based on the situation, this might call for a standardized action, or a more customized solution. Either way, you need to be ready for anything that might come your way.
A positive relocation experience goes a long way
At the end of the day, a positive relocation experience goes a long way. This is why it is vital that you have a solid relocation program, that is founded on minimizing employee downtime, while improving productivity.
Relocation programs also need to evolve over time. So, be sure to review your relocation policies on a regular basis, and evaluate how well they align with your talent management/talent mobility strategies, and adjust them when necessary.
Need more information?
VERSA is always here to answer any questions you might have, or to provide you with any information that might help you make more informed decisions about your global mobility program. Please contact us anytime!