Best Practices in HR

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Sara Boehm
  February 15, 2018

Ensuring The Success of Relocated Employees

Investing in your employees is critical to supporting their productivity, loyalty and long-term employment. In its training course on Employee Engagement, The Dale Carnegie Leadership Program states, “The one thing that creates sustainable competitive advantage – and therefore ROI, company value and long-term strength – is the workforce, the people who are the company. And when it comes to people, research has shown, time and again, that employees who are engaged, significantly outperform work groups that are not engaged.” While this is essential throughout an employee’s career with your company, it is especially important when an employee is beginning a new role.

It is popularly accepted that the first 100 days are incredibly important when beginning a new job. But did you know that setting employees up for success begins before they even walk through your door? In today’s tight talent market, hiring often requires relocating the right people to wherever their skills/expertise are needed most. While this provides opportunity for both an employee and the parent company, it also brings with it disruption: upheaval to the employee’s life as well as to his or her family.

Even when done voluntarily and enthusiastically, moving can often be emotionally stressful (along with physically and financially straining!). Most organizations recognize the immediate stress and provide financial and logistical help during this time. Lightening the financial and logistical load frees an employee’s mind to focus more fully on his/her new role. However, the emotional aspects of the move can be just as taxing and even longer lasting. Companies must acknowledge how crucial employee emotional and mental wellbeing can be both on the business’s bottom line and also on employee retention. These less tangible stressors can have the most impact on an employee’s long-term success and therefore are vital for a company to address and support.

This is even more true for employees who relocate with their families, as each member shoulders their own emotional and mental stressors that ultimately impact the family unit as a whole. When a member of the family suffers, so will the employee. According to the 2015 Worldwide ERC US Transfer Volume and Cost Survey, the top source of stress and reluctance to relocate is “family resistance to the move.” Employees notice and care when you take a genuine interest in them and in their family’s happiness and success.

The ultimate goal for any relocation is to ensure that employees are able to handle the transition into their new role without the turmoil that can accompany a job relocation in a new city. Unhappiness and stress can lead to increased disengagement, distraction, and result in subpar work; with disengagement, both employee morale and retention suffer.

From providing resources and advice regarding the emotional aspects of adjustment, to offering geographical introduction tours and newcomer groups, to having mental wellness experts available, your company can transform its relocation package, setting itself apart by truly supporting its employees throughout the tangible and intangible transitions. This investment pays off immensely both in the short and long run. By supporting and alleviating not just the logistical and financial elements, but also the highly impactful emotional stressors of moving, you will be employing a truly comprehensive program to set employees up for ultimate success within your organization, and also setting the stage for a culture that is responsive and welcoming.

Providing access to emotional and mental guidance and resources for employees means more than having therapists available for a quick call, it means equipping each relocated employee with the information he or she needs to help themselves and their families adapt to change. This should yield an improvement in their mental health and a reduction in their overall stress. Their families will see an improvement in wellbeing and happiness as well. Companies benefit by an increase in productivity, employee loyalty, and overall company ROI. Investing in the support of all aspects of an employee’s relocation is truly one of the most resourceful financial decisions a company can make.

(For more information on resources and kits to equip relocating employees with advice and guidance on adjusting to the emotional aspects of relocation for themselves and their families, check out Essential Engagement Services.)