Tips and advice for human resources on how to manage transferees through the relocation process.
It’s busy season. Do you know who your transferees are?
You cannot properly execute any relocation without knowing who you are moving. When busy season hits, you are no longer dealing with one or two transferees. Instead, you are dealing with whole groups of people, so the challenge is figuring out how to satisfy the majority.
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?
Relocation is far more complex than I ever thought it would be. Surely, the relocation benefits that HR offers to transferees at different levels (entry-level, new hire, senior management, etc.) are interesting, but lately I’ve been fascinated by how differently transferees across the generations approach relocation. It’s no secret that HR is still learning how to satisfy a multi-generational workforce – and relocation is definitely one piece of that puzzle. I certainly can’t speak for every generation, but as one of two Millennials here I’ve been curious about Gen Y in the workplace and how my peers view relocation opportunities. As it turns out, I agree with Human Resource Executive when they say Millennials are the best candidates for relocation. But, as with anything, relocating this group does come with its challenges.
It’s good for relocation managers to know, and understand the fact that the relocation inspection is often a sore spot among transferees. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise – home inspections are a sensitive topic for most homeowners – but given the high-stress combination of relocating for work AND selling a home, concerns are always intensified. In a relocation situation, transferee concerns focus on two primary areas: the cost of repairs and disclosing any negative findings to potential buyers.
When you’re moving a transferee and his or her family, what do you really want from the people who you have trusted to help them? Of course you want good information, guidance and services – these are the “must-haves” that any good relocation company should provide. But, when you consider what is going to make a difference in the lives of your transferees – and the success of your program – I would say that it’s critical to find people who genuinely care.
If you were to ask your transferees today what’s included in their relocation policy, do you think they would be able to answer the question? If the answer is yes, then good for you because you are doing something right! If the answer is no, then you are not alone. For a variety of reasons, many transferees don’t have a good grasp on their policy, let alone the relocation process. Most of the time it boils down to communication.
Recently, I was interviewed for a CareerRelocate article on important considerations for someone who is trying to decide if relocation is the right move for them. I cannot stress enough how important it is for candidates to research the new location to ensure that it will meet both their lifestyle needs and career aspirations prior to accepting the relocation.
Every relocation professional, in-house or third-party, will encounter that one transferee. You know, the one you can never win over, no matter what you do. The one who is ready for a fight right out of the gate, insisting that you took too long to make contact; the benefits offered won’t be enough; someone else had a better program; the kids need to finish the school year; the kids don’t want to move during the summer; the old house was appraised too low; the destination agent is not listening; the language is too hard and the movers are late.
I think most people in the HR and relocation industries would agree with me when I say that cultural adaptation can make or break a relocation – especially when we are working with transferees who are moving to a situation that is the polar opposite of where they are: countryside to city, first world to third world, English to Mandarin, democracy to theocracy, etc. So, it’s essential that we take the time to understand our transferees so that we can create a relocation program that will ease their transition. Of course, we need to know the basics about their financial situation, language versatility, family needs and home preferences, but why not go deeper than that?