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Making Employee Relocation Easier

office relocationA location change can be a disruptive event.  If you have ever moved in your life or if you oversee employee relocations, you know that the relocation process from start to finish is stressful and challenging.  You are probably also aware that the employee is one of the company’s most valuable assets.  So how do you make moving easier on the employee and, in turn, also on the company?

Regardless of the economy or current job market, attracting and retaining good employees is a critical function of any business.  It is unfortunate that many companies don’t realize the negative impact relocation can actually have on the employee and his or her performance at work.  A successful relocation will always involve appropriate support services.  The objective of an effective relocation department should be to transfer the employee and his or her family in the most cost-efficient and expeditious manner possible.

Overall, relocation will have an impact on productivity.  Employees that are transferring often spend about 10 hours a week on relocation issues at work and another 9 hours at home.  Your goal should be to make the relocation as easy on the employee as possible thus allowing productivity to suffer only minimally.

It is important to understand that no two companies will have the same relocation needs.  Relocation policies and practices are driven by a variety of factors including, but not limited to, the marketplace, employee need, and corporate culture.  The relocation programs offered can also vary by degree depending on the employee level.  Other factors that may influence the relocation program might be home ownership needs versus rental needs.  Some companies outsource relocation programs while others manage such departments in house.

Whether the relocation management program is handled in house, by an outsourced company, or something in between doesn’t matter as long as it is effective.  An effective relocation program will definitely need to address the following issues:

•    Mortgage coordination
•    Neighborhood information
•    Home marketing and selling
•    Home finding and buying
•    Rental housing assistance
•    Moving arrangements
•    Temporary housing
•    Relocation support

A more advanced relocation program might include even more services and support to make the entire process a little easier on the employee.  Such advanced services might entail:

•    Home buyout programs
•    Expense management administration
•    Lump sum calculations to determine a lump sum to be paid to the relocating employee to cover certain moving costs.
•    Spousal and family support systems and assistance
•    Group move management

Providing the most appropriate and effective relocation services to your employees is definitely going to help make the move easier on them.  And when your employees are taken care of, so is the overall business; everyone wins.  Keeping these guidelines in mind when devising your own corporate relocation program will help you stay on track.  However, remember that you must develop a full understanding of your company goals and your employee relocation needs in order to effectively manage such a service.

-Jon Huser

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