Have you opened a new office and need to build a staff? Has your company realigned talent, requiring a dozen or so employees to relocate at the same time? What about a department move to another location?
A group move rather than individual relocations may be the answer in such circumstances. However, relocating five, 10, 20 or more employees at one time can be overwhelming to a company’s talent management and mobility teams. How do you even begin such a process?
Let’s explore some Do's and Don’ts to keep in mind when guiding your team through a group move.
DON’T: Ignore employees’ fears and uncertainties.
One of the most common failures in group moves is not alleviating your employees’ anxieties. It is completely normal for a relocating employee and accompanying family to fear how life will be in the new location. When a company manages one employee’s relocation, the employee is less vulnerable to colleagues’ concerns. The talent management or relocation team is better equipped to manage fears and counsel the employee accordingly.
With group moves, though, relocating employees tend to talk, and “group think” may allow fears to permeate through the group. In order to squelch these fears, we recommend being very organized with the distribution of information to transferring employees and their families.
Local providers can coordinate overviews, including:
- Rental tours
- Homefinding tours
- Temporary living options
- Newcomer packages, including information on the community (i.e., schools, neighborhoods, taxes, etc.)
- The new job site and its amenities
In addition, the local provider can answer questions regarding the quality of life in the destination location. The more information, the better. Make sure your employees know what to expect and that your team will support them the whole way.
DO: Identify employee needs.
A confidential survey of all affected employees offers an opportunity for them to share their perceptions, attitudes and motives regarding the move. An analysis of the survey results can project employee retention and reveal what the population needs to move, as well as uncover employees’ concerns about job security and future job opportunities in the new location that can be addressed by senior management.
It also provides the company the opportunity to decide if an employee is not the right fit to join the group move based on his/her concerns and make other business decisions regarding that employee’s employment as necessary.
DON’T: Assume that the status quo is the way to go.
Your current policy for relocations may be fine for a group move, but it’s important to at least consider developing a customized group move policy. The policy used by the company in a group move situation may be the same as with individual relocations, or it may be trimmed or increased depending on the needs of the employees and of the company. In certain situations, an employee who may not otherwise be eligible for relocation assistance may qualify for a policy under a group move. In some cases, key employees receive a policy that is generous and truly supports their needs in the new location, whereas employees who are more easily replaced in the new destination receive fewer benefits.
Some companies have the philosophy that because a group move is a unique event, it requires its own policy that should be developed to meet the needs of this specific group of employees. As consideration for your group move policy, your company may also elect to keep the repayment policy the same or alter it to introduce a repayment agreement, lengthen the repayment term or shorten the repayment term.
DO: Administer retention bonuses and/or separation packages.
Retention bonuses and/or separation packages may be offered to employees who will not relocate to the new location but who agree to stay until the move has been completed. A bonus or separation package may be offered to those key employees who are deemed to be critical to the transition. Cover your bases, making every effort to complete a group move with your desired results.
Any alternative to traditional relocation programs should be should be evaluated in terms of the company’s culture and their employees’ benefit needs. If you’d like to learn more about this type of relocation policy and what it means to have a policy and communication plan designed specifically for your and your employees’ needs, contact us via the link below!