Relocating staff: The questions you need to ask

Moving staff can be an expensive and trying process. Here are the questions you need to ask to make sure it all runs smoothly.

Relocating staff: The questions you need to ask
Relocation on both an interstate and international level has been a staple in the corporate world for years. Whether temporary or indefinite, relocating an employee can be an arduous task – complicated by the increase in double income households in today’s economic climate.

As such, HR needs to ask a number of questions of their potentially relocating employees beforehand to ensure they do not waste resources on a move destined to fail. Kellie Warta, head of HR at Hilti, has had a great deal of experience with relocating staff. She gave HC a few questions HR pros need to ask:

Are they comfortable with the area?
Relocation involves resetting many aspects of one’s life. While it may be a step forward career-wise, it is often a step back socially. Warta indicated that HR should allow their staff to visit the area first to make sure they would be comfortable living there, establishing new friendships, etc. HR should encourage the employee to do research on the area to make sure their wants and needs will be met there.

Does policy need to be changed?
HR needs to remember that not all locations will mesh with the established policies in terms of allowances, accommodation, etc. Doing extensive research and using tools such as ECA International’s  Accommodation calculator is an important step when looking to relocate staff to a new area.

How will this impact their family?
Perhaps the most important aspect to consider is the impact a move will have on an employee’s family. HR needs to have the discussion with the employee about their partner and if they will also be able to find work. Sanjay Sathe of RiseSmart suggested that organisations engage outplacement services for the employee’s partner to help squash this trepidation.

However, the question of if the family will be okay is one that, really, an employee must ask themselves: will their partner be comfortable in the new location? Will the children be alright? If they aren’t moving with them, will the family survive the pressures of one parent living away from home? HR must ensure employees are asking these questions of themselves before saying yes to a relocation.

Do you agree with these three questions? Can you think of any others? Let us know in the comments.

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