Top Questions Employees Ask Before Deciding to Relocate
When an employee gets the call to relocate for a new opportunity, their enthusiasm can quickly be dimmed by realistic concerns around a transfer to a new location. Being forearmed with a common list of transferee concerns can help your HR department, those charged with acquiring talent, business unit managers and others address early the risks to a successful relocation. A failed relocation puts a tremendous strain, both financial and otherwise, on both the employer and the employee and his/her family. Being aware of what the possible pitfalls are might help you head them off before they become an issue.
1. How will this affect my family/relationship?
The number one source of failure in a relocation is family concerns. Whether it is reluctance to relocate from the earliest stages of the discussion or the need to return home after a thwarted attempt, understanding the individual dynamics of the family can help address concerns head-on. A good one-on-one with a relocation counselor as a pre-decision discussion can help the family understand the issues they might face and the resources available to help them. For example, is a family dependent on both adults’ incomes and concerned about the trailing spouse finding employment? Their policy might allow for spousal/partner career counseling, job placement and support in the new location. This could help the family plan for this anticipated transition with a benefit geared toward making the transition easier.
2. How have my co-workers handled being relocated?
Transferring employees talk to each other about their relocation. They share information about everything from the level of benefits offered to the quality of the relocation program that handles their move. Make sure you have relocation benefit allocations in place via a strong policy to identify and track recurring exception requests. A policy doesn’t mean that individual concerns can’t be addressed as necessary. It simply better allows for the forecasting, tracking and management of your overall relocation budget. Also, if your employees are expressing concern regarding the level of service they are getting from your relocation management company, it might be time to take a look into the service being offered and why it might not be meeting the needs of your transferring population.
3. What will the cost of living be like in my new city?
Formal cost-of-living adjustments can be factored into employee transfers from one location to an economically different one. That analysis need not be anecdotal, but based on industry-recognized calculators that show the quantifiable differences. Rather than allow the employee to wonder about keeping their lifestyle the same, make this comparison a part of the earliest discussions around making a decision to move.
4. What help is my company going to offer in a move?
Your company culture comes largely into play when addressing employee relocations. Is a new hire asked to take part in accepting the opportunity and share the cost of relocating? Will your company “make whole” a transferee for every expense in a move? A lot of the answers lie
within the culture of your own organization and are articulated through your policy. If you don’t have formal relocation policies, these decisions are often factored into the employment negotiations, which can lead to tax scenarios that can be better managed. Whether your company offers a lump sum of $7,500 and a start date, or offers a full, formal tax-protected relocation program with the support of an RMC, the employee should have a full view of what will be covered and what expenses they can expect to absorb. Pre-decision counseling, budgeting and planning will help mitigate any surprises in the move. And, support from a relocation company can help the employee take advantage of discounts to stretch their dollars and protect service levels due to the stringent vetting process of the partner network.
Your transferring employees as well as new hires will undoubtedly have tons of questions around a potential relocation. To protect the investment your company is preparing to make, make sure you and your partners have the systems, processes and resources in place to guide them to a thoughtful and detailed answer for a comfortable relocation.