The coronavirus pandemic might have slowed things down, but the corporate relocation industry is still going strong. On average, despite the restrictions, we expect around 40% of employers worldwide to send staff on work projects that are based in outside their home HQs. Employees are highly motivated to relocate for a better job opportunity or a significant career advancement.
However, the same employees often end up changing companies within just a couple of years after their big move. This spells trouble for the companies who invest in relocating and training them, so it’s only natural that they’d want global employees’ contracts to last as long as possible.
How can you achieve that? How can you make sure that your corporate relocation program is profitable and that it brings ROI for both your employees and your company?
In short, by providing the employee and their families with enough support throughout the relocation process, as well as after it, you can strongly increase your company’s chance of making the relocation a success and keeping the employee on board.
Read on to find out exactly how to achieve all that.
The 8 Pillars of Corporate Relocation Success
When you find someone who is a great fit, is your company willing to pass up on that perfect candidate simply because they’re in a different part of the world? Of course not. Remote working can be an option for some positions. For positions that can’t easily be done remotely, including relocation support as part of your company’s employee benefits programs is more popular today than ever before.
Relocation support is crucial. But it can come in many shapes and the secret to its success is finding that one shape that makes your company attractive to top global talent.
Not sure how to do that? Our corporate relocation experts in Europe share their trade secrets.
1. Ask Experts for a Cost Overview
One pillar of inter-regional or international employee relocation is the cost that will come with relocating your employees and helping them to settle in. As an employer, before you ask your employee to make a major decision, sit down with your company’s HR Department or Workforce Mobility specialist to get the full picture of costs.
At this meeting, be sure not just to look at cost predictions but to work out the entire support package, even beyond relocation. Corporate relocation means more than covering the costs of the move itself, as you will discover below.
2. Always, Always Think about Their Families
Relocating rarely affects just the employee. It often also affects their families. It’s not easy to ask a family unit to pick up their lives and relocate to a place where they will have no family or friends to support them.
You have to think about how this transition will affect your employee, as well as their families during the entire process. For global employees that make the move along with their families, there are two crucial support areas:
- Support for their spouses. Remember that they, too, have to fit in and they need help with that. If one of the spouses is unhappy, it’s very likely that the whole family will move back.
- Schooling. Help new employees with their schooling options and offer them all the information they need, according to the ages of their children. Switzerland has an excellent school system, but it’s important to know how to navigate it.
Part of supporting the families as they transition is being open and welcoming to them. Come up with ways to show your new employee that they’re not just a part of the company, but also a part of the company’s family network. Also, consider if there are ways to support the spouse and the kids, for example with language lessons, intercultural training, or by providing help to find a job.
Transitional support is essential in helping employees feel at home as soon as possible. Community plays a big part in feeling at home wherever you are. The sooner you can make your new employee’s entire family part of your community, the happier they will be and the longer they will enjoy their job with you.
3. Offer a Range of Employee and Corporate Relocation Benefits
There is no ‘one size fits all’ in corporate relocation because every situation and every employee are different. Relocation support is attractive for most employees, but you will need to make the package appealing to their particular needs. It’s also important to come up with a relocation program that meets the needs of both the employer and the employee.
For example, you’ll want to offer a specific package to singles, another to families, and another specifically for couples without children. Families will usually have more belongings to move, while singles won’t benefit from spouse support, so take all these things into account when proposing a corporate relocation package.
4. Include Home-Finding Support in the Relocation Package
Your offer has been accepted and the employee has just arrived at their destination. Congratulations! You’ve made it past the first hurdle. But what happens after your employees relocate?
In a new country where they might not speak the language or know the local property market, your employees may find it difficult to find a home. If things get tough or they end up living in a hotel for months on end, their enthusiasm for the relocation and their new job might sink below sea level sooner than you might have thought.
To avoid this, your relocation package should always include destination services. Home finding support is a key aspect of that, augmented by support to set up essential services for daily living and potentially extending it to lifestyle and wellbeing packages.
Destination Services may not be the best term to describe how reassuring and welcoming it is for your employees to be welcomed by a relocation expert in their new home country. Someone who will find a home for them, who will help them overcome the language barriers, who will provide a settling-in crash course is a life-saver!
A relocation consultant is actually your employee’s first friend in a completely new city or country. When you’ve just relocated, when you’ve just landed in a new town or foreign country whose language you don’t speak, when your mind is torn between so many things to do, you won’t easily forget the invaluable support of your very own relocation expert.
As discussed above, you’ll want to detail the destination services that your company offers, and these might not be the same for all employees. Go beyond a few dry bullet points and paint a comprehensive picture of how your employee will be supported and cared for as soon as they arrive.
5. Understand They Need Time to Settle in
Although it might look like a blast, corporate relocation is not just a fun trip. Sometimes it’s an uprooting. More importantly, it’s always something that takes time – it’s a process, not a one-day event. In some cases, it takes expats up to two years to feel at home in a new country.
You may think your newly arrived employees are ready to start work the second day they arrive. But they’ve just landed in a new city or country – maybe a country they might not be familiar with, perhaps even a country where they feel quite lost. The first few days and even months after arrival, they might well undergo a mild (or maybe not so mild) form of culture shock.
Be prepared to understand this and allow for some settling in time. Let your new-hires become familiar with their new environment. Let them get over the cultural jet lag. Let them better come to terms with the huge step they’ve just taken.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Outsource to Experts
You might think it’s best to have control over your employees’ corporate relocation process. In fact, you probably really want to help. After all, you’re an HR manager and you love people.
But do you really want to know all the minute details of their relocation journey? Do you want to receive dozens, perhaps even hundreds of e-mails detailing Hannah’s housing short-list or Marco’s moving expenses?
When it comes to relocation, don’t be afraid to outsource to expert relocation companies. This way, you can focus on the big picture and leave the doing (and all the details) to the experts. This is especially important if you are not actually in the same location as your employee is moving to, as it will be even harder for you to provide the support your employee really needs.
One of the main benefits of outsourcing to expert relocation providers is that your employee will most likely have a better relocation experience. Relocation professionals have all the processes optimised, the contacts and solutions are at their fingertips, and they’re also usually really experienced in serving employees undergoing the potentially very extreme stress of a long-distance relocation.
It takes a special kind of person to support people going through that transition while still delivering an efficient, effective service. And those are exactly the kind of people who work as relocation specialists.
7. Compliance is King
This is the ‘fun’ part of every relocation: making sure that you and your employees are legally compliant in all regards.
Depending on where the employee is moving from, you’ll have to keep a sharp eye on the various legal conditions that have to be met before, during and after moving.
These are the main aspects you need to thoroughly check when it comes to compliance:
- Anything relating to immigration law if employees are relocating from abroad, ranging from visas to residency permits, from first issue through to the renewal of these
- Accident insurance (occupational and private)
- Healthcare benefits
- Insurance coverage
- Social security contributions
- For international assignees, taxation and social security obligations in the home country
- Duty of Care responsibilities
For international employees and assignees, you’ll need to keep track when visas and work permits will need to be renewed, as well as any international obligations linked to tax and social security. Which brings us back to point 6 – it can get complicated – outsource when and if you can.
8. Honesty is the Best Policy
Above any other rule that we’ve provided for you in this guide, our strongest recommendation is to always be 100% honest and transparent with your employees who are relocating.
Tell them upfront which relocation costs you will be able to cover and which won’t get covered. It’s only fair. You want to start things off the right way, with clear, fair terms and a positive relationship from the get-go.
Ready to find out more about how to successfully relocate your employees?
At Packimpex, we have been in the relocation business for more than 40 years. Each year, we handle more than 4500 relocations for corporate employees, families or individuals.
It’s safe to say that we know the ins and outs of the industry and that we know what it takes to make every corporate relocation program a success. More than with a team of dedicated and skilled professionals,
Packimpex can help you with:
- Personalised instant quotes within minutes to get your relocation process going as soon as possible.
- Support every step of the way – for you and your new employees through dedicated Relocation managers.
- One-stop-shop for all things relocation. You don’t have to search for corporate housing, move management, immigration services advice, destination services, or even furniture for new apartments – we can help you with all of these and so much more. All so you can focus on what really matters: finding and hiring the best talent in the world.
- Your relocation program, your call. You can choose to have as much or as little control over the relocation process as you want and as your time permits. Relox is our 100% web-based relocation management solution that can help you keep an eye on the entire relocation process for individuals or groups. You will always be in control and in the know without spending too much time managing the process yourself.
Get in touch with our experts for a free and unbinding 30 minutes consultation call.