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Three Issues to Tackle to Make the Relocation Decision Easier for Transferees

When it comes to relocation, I think we all want the same thing: an employee that is happy, focused and engaged in their work at the new location. With the ever-changing relocation environment and a less than ideal economy, however, many companies have made major cuts to policies offered to transferring employees. In addition to corporate changes, the same issues have led employees to evaluate relocation opportunities even more carefully than they have in the past. So, the question is, how can you design relocation policies to fit your company budget but also attract your necessary talent?


There are many reasons for an employee to turn down a relocation offer including housing concerns, family considerations and spouse employment opportunities. I’ll get into each concern below but it’s important to note that they all revolve around life outside of work instead of the job itself.


If you want to address these issues, but you don’t know how or your budget is tight, here are some low cost but high impact ideas to consider:


  1. Housing Concerns

Transferees are stressed out about selling their home and finding a new one in the destination city – and rightfully so! Selling and buying homes is stressful and emotional. While homesale programs are expensive for the company, they do mitigate this issue for the transferee. If you don’t already have a home sale program, and you cannot afford to implement one in house or through a relocation service provider, then you must arm your employee with a lot of resources


If you cannot directly help your employee sell their home, make them feel comfortable enough to try and do it themselves. Provide a list of qualified Reators™ and set them up with information regarding home inspections, home staging and the pros and cons of an open house. Be sure to provide all the same information for the destination city as well. If you can’t send them on a home finding trip, offer a pass for a city tour. Email information regarding school systems, houses of worship, entertainment, a contact already working in the location, etc. These resources cost you nothing but they can make a big impact on the idea of relocation.


  1. Family Considerations

Many transferring employees move with children so the school information mentioned above will be critical. Your employee will not be able to focus on work if they are constantly wondering about the quality of their child’s education. Ideally, the transferee will get a chance to visit the destination and do this research on site. However, if this is not an option, be sure to send as much information as you can find. Have the resources readily available as soon as you mention the opportunity.


  1. Spousal Employment

Tighter lending rules require that both partners have a job at destination. If your transferee’s partner is unemployed, it will significantly impact his or her housing opportunities. This is one of the major reasons why a vast majority of relocation refusals have something to do with dual career (the norm in this day and age) concerns. Many companies offer spousal assistance programs that include resume work, personal career counselors and additional support.  If you are willing to work with a third party provider, a good relocation partner will be able to set this up for your transferee easily. If you handle relocation internally, research different service providers in this field until you find one that you are comfortable with both price and quality. A cost free way to help an employee’s significant other is hard to find, but it is so important that you try to offer assistance.


I know that a full service relocation policy may seem extravagant at times, especially when dealing with new hires or recent college graduates. Relocating is a big life change, especially if it’s a far move, and you want your transferees to feel valued, not short-handed. It’s important to remember that nothing is more expensive than a failed relocation. If you are not currently addressing the issues above and/or you are being met with a lot of resistance from prospective transferees, now is the time to re-evaluate your program to devise a better approach.


Do you have any suggestions for making relocation decisions easier on transferees? Please share them below.


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