Six Tips To Smooth the Employee Relocation Process

In today’s hot economy, many companies
find it challenging to attract the talent they need to fill certain specific
roles. Often that can mean calling on potential employees from other cities who
relocate for a new position. In fact, one study
found that more
than half of those surveyed said they had moved for a job in the past, with 80
percent saying they had considered it. They cited factors such as better career
opportunities, desire for a change or fresh start or a lower cost of living as
some of their reasons.

If you have employees relocating to your company—whether they
are coming from a different branch or a different firm altogether—there are
steps you can take to help them feel welcome.

Find out who they are—and what they need.

The needs of a young single will be vastly different from a
married couple with kids. One strategy is to create a questionnaire to find out
what the new employee wants or needs in terms of a living situation, whether
it’s the best school district in your area, or proximity to shopping and other
cultural amenities. Finding out their interests can help you point them in the
right direction to hunt for housing, and also can help you pair them with a
similar employee, if possible, to help show them around the city.

Be a city ambassador.

Is your region known for outdoor adventures or nightlife? Are
there art walks during the summer or fall festivals that everyone attends? Put
together a little packet of interesting information on your town so the new employee
is able to find the best pizza place or be in the know about the exhibits
coming to the local art museum.

Connect them with local specialists.

Whether your new employee will be buying
or renting
, you’ll want to connect them with a local real estate agent
who knows the lay of the land. If you have frequent relocations, consider
finding a firm that will informally “partner” with you to help your new people
find the right neighborhood and situation for them; many real estate firms have
agents who specialize in relocations or are experts in specific neighborhoods.

You also can help connect them with local services from cable
TV and utilities to the nearest DMV to make their move as smooth as possible.
You might consider putting together a separate packet that helps them locate
all these essential services. And don’t forget their family members—including
their furry ones. Having the whole family on board for the move is going to
make it smoother for the employee, which is good for the entire company.

Establish and clearly communicate your policies.

Some companies that regularly help employees relocate might
have a robust roster of services, from moving to temporary housing available
for their team, while others who relocate employees less frequently might let
workers handle the details (and expenses) themselves. Make sure you clearly
communicate to the new employees exactly what is covered so there are no
misunderstandings down the line.

Give a special onboarding.

While every new employee feels a certain amount of “culture shock”
and needs to be acclimated, the feeling can be more acute in one who is new to
the area, in addition to your company. That’s why your regular onboarding
should also include plenty of interpersonal information—to make them feel
welcome in a place where they might not know a soul. Make sure that their
manager works with the team to go out of their way to welcome them, and pair
them with someone who has agreed to be their “go-to” person, ideally someone who
is a good match based on some of the demographic information you collected
earlier. 

Pay extra attention to local benefits information.

Some of the programs you offer might be the same no matter
where an employee is, but many might have some local flavor; for example, if
you offer gym memberships or public transportation reimbursement. Also plan to
take extra time to discuss the company’s medical benefits, since a new-to-town
employee might have specific questions about which hospitals are closest or
where to find an orthodontist. This is also a great time to talk with them
about what they need to know about disability insurance, specifically Social Security Disability
Insurance (SSDI) or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits
, if applicable.

An employee who has relocated to your company can add a
special layer with fresh ideas and perspective. The goal is to make them feel
welcome so that your town feels like “home” in no time.