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Navigating Employee Relocation: A Guide for a Smooth Transition

Havana Dauncey
· October 13, 2023
Navigating Employee Relocation: A Guide for a Smooth Transition

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Employee relocation may be a bit complex to navigate, but it’s become essential in today’s globalised business landscape, especially with the flourishing world of remote work opportunities.

Whether it’s a few hours away, across the country or over the seas, a well-managed employee relocation is a win-win for everyone, reaping the fruitful benefits of employee satisfaction, productivity and retention.

But while it’s a very exciting time, before, during and after the relocation, it can also be quite stressful for your employee, their family and your team. So, if you want your employee’s relocation to go as smoothly as possible and help to promote company growth and a happier, more productive team, then keep reading!

Here’s the complete guide to help you navigate a smooth employee relocation.

What is employee relocation?

Employee relocation is the process of moving an employee from one location to another, typically for work-related purposes. This involves moving an employee to a different office or branch of the same company but can be in a different city or even a different country. Employee relocation can take several forms, including:

Domestic Relocation: This involves moving an employee within the same country, typically to a different city or state. It may be for various reasons, such as a job transfer, promotion, or the opening of a new office.

International Relocation: International relocation involves moving an employee to a different country for work-related purposes. This could include assignments such as international transfers, expatriate assignments, or global project placements.

Office/Branch Relocation: Sometimes, a company may move its entire office or branch to a new location. Employees at the affected office or branch may be relocated to the new site.

What should be included in a relocation package?

Relocation of families

Employee relocation typically comes with a set of benefits and support services provided by the employer to help ease the transition for the employee and their family. These benefits may include:

Moving Expenses: Employers often cover the costs associated with moving, such as transportation of household goods, temporary housing, and travel expenses.

Housing Assistance: Employers may offer assistance in finding suitable housing in the new location, such as providing temporary accommodations or assistance with home searches.

Cost-of-Living Adjustments: In international relocations, employers may provide cost-of-living adjustments to help employees maintain their standard of living in the new location.

Immigration Assistance: For international relocations, assistance with obtaining necessary visas and work permits is often provided.

Spousal and Family Support: Employee relocation programs often include support for the employee's spouse or partner and family members, including assistance with finding employment, schools, and healthcare.

Tax Assistance: Relocating to a different jurisdiction can have tax implications. Employers may offer tax-related support or resources to help employees navigate tax issues.

Relocation Allowance: Some companies provide a lump-sum relocation allowance to cover various expenses associated with the move.

Why you should Embrace and Encourage Relocation

Relocations come with a lot of work, especially if you’ve never done it before. Thus, some companies may be hesitant to approve their employee’s relocation request because of the time and effort required, but it will all be worth it considering the incredible benefits that come with employee relocation.

Benefits of relocating employees:

  • Business Growth and Expansion 📈 

Relocating employees is often a strategic move that benefits both your company and your employees. And you’ll be surprised at how many employees would be ready to jump on board — in fact, 62% of people are happy to relocate for career advancement or an opportunity to make more money.

Not only are you promoting company growth by providing support to your expanding locations, but you also can help craft a more diverse and vibrant work environment with a melting pot of perspectives, experiences and ideas that can be the spark for greater innovation.

  • Specialised Skills and Expertise 💪

Do you have a very specific skill gap at one of your offices? Instead of hiring externally, you may have the perfect specialised gem being underutilised at one of your other locations.

Taking advantage of employee relocations means you don’t have to waste time and money training a new employee and seeing if they’re a good fit while your problem sits unsolved. Instead, your trusted relocated employee can jump right in, let their specialised skills shine and get the job done.

Plus, this is an effective way to upskill your team by allowing the relocated employee to share their specialised skills, taking your team’s capabilities to the next level with enhanced results.

  • Happy Team Members 😊

Happy team members are a vital key to success. An employee’s living situation can have a significant effect on their productivity and overall happiness. By allowing employees to live where they want and seek new opportunities, you create a supportive environment that prioritises the well-being of your team members, leading to happier, healthier and more effective employees.

This also boosts employee retention which is especially important after the recent Great Resignation. This era of job-hopping showed that people don’t want to stay in a work environment that doesn’t meet their needs and prioritises their well-being.

How to Assist Employees with Their Move

Comprehensive planning and preparation are key to a successful relocation. Many companies don’t go the extra mile when it comes to helping employees relocate, but if you want to have them up and running in their new location as quickly as possible, the following tips will help.

1. Clear Communication and Expectations

Stress and anxiety come from confusion and uncertainty. So it’s super important to remove any and all sense of mystery from the relocation process.

Plan far in advance and create an open and honest line of communication right from the start, providing a clear breakdown of the process and expectations. This includes:

  • Expected timelines

  • The responsibilities of the company and the employee

  • Helpful resources

Make sure to offer special guidance on the more technical and strenuous aspects of relocation, such as necessary supporting documentation, visas where necessary and any legal requirements. If you aren’t entirely sure of the process, it’s best to get a top relocation specialist on your side.

Read more about how to find the right international relocation specialist.

2. Financial Support and Resources

The financial burden can be a massive cause of stress during relocation, so make sure to provide your relocating employees with as much support as possible.

Give your employees a clear outline of all the financial assistance available to them. On top of this, you can provide tips and assistance to your employees on how they can manage their own finances leading up to the move, such as budgeting and financial planning.

3. Finding Suitable Housing

Over 30% of movers say that finding housing is the most challenging part of relocating. So this is where companies must step in and give a helping hand. To relieve some stress from the relocating employee, companies can:

  • Give some advice on navigating the local housing market.

  • Connect them with local resources, guides or real estate professionals.

  • Arrange for them to view the property if necessary.

4. Supporting Families

Relocating employees with a family or dependents requires a bit more attention and support. Families tend to have more roots tied to their community, which now have to be uprooted and planted somewhere else. To make this transition smoother, it’s important to ensure that each aspect of their lives is rooted again in their new home.

This can include offering assistance and resources in exploring:

Additionally, you can provide resources and tips on how families can adjust to their new environment. It may be helpful to discuss this with your team at the new location. They will have the local knowledge to help ensure a smooth transition.

Family relocation with children

5. Set up a Teams Call with New Co-workers

You can help the relocating employee get a head start on building new connections in their new workplace by introducing them to their new team through a team call or online meeting before they’ve even left.

This not only makes it easier for them to integrate into the team once they arrive, but it also gives the employee a chance to ask the team questions and prepare for their new environment — from the weather and safety to the best cell phone providers and culture shocks for relocations abroad.

Settling into the New Team and Community

Once your employee has arrived at their new home and workspace, it’s vital that you maintain support and assistance until they’ve properly settled in.

Here are a few simple ways you can make their new environment feel like home:

  • Onboarding and Orientation

With all the massive changes, your employee may likely feel overwhelmed in their new space. That’s why from the start, you want to make their work life as simple and manageable as possible.

The best way to do this is with a comprehensive onboarding program that not only makes them feel welcome in their new space but will give them the lay of the land by providing them with all the information they need to thrive. This can include a checklist with the most important information and introductions to help them get the ball rolling.

It’s also important to have regular check-ins with the new employee to make sure that they’re adapting well to the new environment and dynamic and see if they need any more support or assistance.

  • Networking and Team Integration

You want the relocated employee to feel comfortable with their new colleagues and a part of the work community, otherwise, they may start to feel a bit lonely. A great way to help them start building some real connections and relationships is by arranging team-building activities or events, helping them get to know everyone and fostering camaraderie.

  • Community Engagement

Another crucial part of a successful employee relocation is helping your employee build their new life outside of work as newbies to the neighbourhood. You should encourage them to get involved in their local community, finding local events, clubs or groups that align with their interests and where they can meet new people and flourish in their new surroundings.

Ready to help your employees move? Let Wise Move help!

While this may take some time and consideration, putting in the effort for a well-planned and supported employee relocation is so rewarding for both your employee and your company — your employee is relieved of stress and gets to focus on their exciting new adventure and your company benefits from a happy, productive employee!

But there’s one more thing you can do to ensure an effortless relocation — use Wise Move to find a trusted relocation service! Wise Move is the go-to moving service that connects you with top-rated and affordable moving services across South Africa.

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