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How to Help Transferees Beat the Holiday Blues

Driving home from work this evening, it hit me.  The holidays are here. Lights are strung up on the storefronts and the radio was playing the latest version of “Home for the Holidays.” Surely, this is one of my favorite times of year. I love being surrounded by friends and family and, as I pulled into my driveway, I found myself more excited than usual to see my boys.

How to Beat the Holiday BluesI am very fortunate to have loved ones nearby but, sadly, that is not always the case for the people I work with every day. The holiday season is the most stressful time of year for families to be apart from one another.  So, what do you do for that transferee or assignee, who, by the nature of their work or timing of their move, has limited or no time to spend with friends and family left behind at the origin? Relocation managers should plan ahead and be prepared to help transferees struggling with the holiday blues. Here are a few thoughts for consideration:

Send Transferees Home for the Holidays – Just because the relocation is over, the old home is sold, and the new home is purchased, it doesn’t mean all ties with the old community are broken.  When the entire family is uprooted, it is difficult to not be a little homesick.  A brief weekend trip home can be a real morale booster.

Technology Can Be a Best Friend –Airfare and lodging can be quite costly over the holidays, especially if the transferee has moved very far away. Companies that cannot provide home trips for the holidays should embrace technology.  Do you remember this commercial? I may have aged myself here, but we should be taking advantage of how far telecommunications has come since then. The advent of smart phones, IPads, and other video chat options has been a boon to relocation. Employers can help transferees by supplying them with inexpensive web cams and training them on free communication portals, such as Skype. Further, consider giving transferees that do not have access to technology an iPad or smart phone to help them stay connected.

New Roots Program – The time it takes to get over the sadness of leaving the old hometown depends on how quickly a transferee can get engaged in the new community.  An effective destination settling-in service can make all the difference in those first few months.  These programs can help with school enrollment, recreational activities, shopping, houses of worship, physicians, public transportation, charity and volunteer organizations, banking and so much more.  Communities tend to reach out more during the holidays, so this is a great time for transferees to get enrolled in programs that will expose them to like-minded people.

Suggest Online Networks  – There are a number of online networks that lonely transferees can tap into to connect with like-minded peers. Social sites such as Meetup.com are great for finding group activities in any given area. The site boast more than 2,000 group meetups around the world each day! Another site, Expat Focus, offers individual country guides, advice and discussion forums.

Adopt A Transferee – Adopt a Transferee programs are helpful year-round, but they are especially wonderful during the holidays. When a transferee starts at a new location, they should be paired up with a local co-worker that is matched for similarities in familial status, interests and job responsibility. This “sponsor” is charged with helping the transferee acclimate to their new work and community environment. Even if your company does not have a formal program in place, if you are relocating an employee during the holidays you should tap into the office at destination to find a sponsor.

Real Estate Relocation Center – Many of the larger real estate firms have a dedicated relocation center to further help transferees and their families adjust to their new environment.  This is always a good start in the adjustment process and they are likely to be very helpful during the holidays as families look for places to celebrate and ways to carry on their own traditions.

Indeed, the holiday season is well upon us.  It’s a time for warmth, community and consideration. Please keep your new and recent transferees in mind– it can make all the difference in their lives this time of year.

Do you have any programs in place to reduce the stress for transferees this time of year? Tell us about it.

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MIKE CANNING
VP, Client Services

RICK CALANNI
VP of Business Development Northeast Region

 

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