Need to Relocate? 6 Tips to Help the Transition Go Smoothly For Employees
Posted on March 7, 2013
When it’s time for a business to relocate, there’s a lot to consider. One thing that absolutely cannot be lost in the flurry of lease signings and movers’ fees is the effect the move will have on a company’s employees.
Whether the company is moving to the neighboring city or across the country, uprooting people’s lives comes with responsibilities. Company owners who request their employees relocate should prepare for the impacts the move will take on their workforce. Employees that feel cared for have an easier time adjusting, and perform much better at work. Here are a few ways to show employees that management understands and appreciates the sacrifices they’re making.
1. Help Pay for Moving Expenses
Moving is expensive, and employees appreciate (and may demand) some help in covering the moving costs. This might include reimbursement for: packing, transporting, and storing household goods, shipping a car and traveling to the destination. All of these items should be written into a company relocation policy. Determine what kind of moving services the company is willing to pay for. Will the company cover packers, movers and door-to-door service, or will it stop at offering packing containers? These policies make a big difference in the company’s estimated moving costs.
2. Offer House-Finding Resources
Whether employees are looking to rent or buy, it’s beneficial for the company to offer resources such as a rental or real estate agent, a temporary housing stipend, or even offer to pay for the cost of sales commission on their old and new homes. However, before making any ironclad offers, check whether or not any employees are underwater on their mortgages to avoid unreasonably large moving bills.
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Additionally, consider compiling a relocation packet to assist employees through the moving process. Include information such as the following:
• Cost of living expense breakdown
• Guide to the neighborhoods
• Transit and walkability information for each neighborhood
• School district information
• Safety/crime information
• Mortgage, tax, and other house-buying options/facts
Compiling this information can make the transition much easier for employees. A thorough relocation packet reduces work for employees and facilitates their search to find a great fit in the new city. It’s best to make this packet visual, as these details can easily become overwhelming. Many real estate sites have information like this right on their listing pages, such as this one from Zillow.com’s Houston area. Remember, happy employees make for a smoother transition. Any extra information that management can provide to employees should make them feel more comfortable with the move.
3. Provide an Adjustment Bonus
Many companies provide adjustment bonuses to their relocating employees to help ease the transition. This could cover anything from utilities to vehicle registration, mail transfers or a few free meals on the town. While there are a few standard provisions, don’t hesitate to throw in a few inexpensive but unexpected freebies, such as movie passes or cupcake coupons. Just a little extra gift should help employees feel cared for. Even better, hire a relocation consultant to welcome employees to their new home and smooth their transition.
4. Consider Cost of Living
If the company is going to be moving to a destination with a higher cost of living, increasing employee salaries is necessary. Management could also offer vouchers to certain services that will be increasing in cost, such as daycare or gym memberships. Management should not lower salaries if the company is moving to a place with a lower cost of living. Salary reductions may feel like punishment for employees and might discourage them from staying with the company. Instead, keep salaries where they are and use the lower cost of living as incentive.
5. Research Tax Liability
New places may come with new tax liabilities and increased burdens for employees. Management should team up with finance or accounting departments to prepare answers for employee questions on this topic, including details on the new tax burden and available tax credits to claim for relocating. While paying for tax liabilities may not be possible all at once, consider negotiating with employees to pay one portion during one tax year and another portion during the next to spread out the financial pinch.
6. Be Ready to Negotiate
The savvy employee will know to negotiate costs. Designate areas within the relocation clauses to negotiate, and always withhold a bonus to throw in as a surprise gift. Be prepared to pay or give extra to more senior employees, as well as those with essential and rare skills.
No business could exist without its employees. Though some percentage of the workforce is lost in relocation, most employees will stay if they feel like valued assets to the company. Therefore, offer incentives to entice employees to stay loyal to the company. It’s a good investment and the right thing to do.
Image Credit: Moving stock photo by Shutterstock