How to Successfully Relocate Employees


By Jill Heineck,  Focus Relocation, Guest Blogger

Relocation has become an important tool in advancing corporate strategies.  But people are not chess pieces.  Even the “right” move for someone can produce negative consequences.  The risks are even higher in companies that don’t already practice careful management of individuals’ careers from onboarding to retirement.

Even for veteran employees, a relocation resets the clock.  It’s onboarding and assimilation all over again, but with a difference.  New employees are usually given time to acclimate to a company.  Performance expectations start low, and increase only as the employee is trained.  Experienced employees moved to new locations are seldom accorded that latitude.  Because there’s usually a good reason for the move, they are expected to hit the ground performing at or near their peak.

According to a white paper from Focus Relocation, a relocation consulting firm and strategic partner of WOW! transformations, HR directors can help reduce the risks of failed relocations by going through several strategic steps:

  • Internal benchmarking: Talk to people recently moved within the company.  Find out what worked, what didn’t, what you need to do differently.
  • External benchmarking: How do your competitors handle relocations?  What are they doing to not only move people, but to retain them.  After all, relocation will be counted as a failure if an employee leaves the company because her relocation was handled badly.
  • Assess value: Be sure you know exactly how valuable a person is to the company.  A high-value employee will merit even more attention.
  • Have a policy on relocations: Not every employee should get the same level of treatment, but every employee considering the prospect of relocation deserves to know what responsibilities the company will assume along the way.
  • Consider what employees need to know after the move: This is especially important when moving to a foreign county where immigration and tax laws come into play.  Don’t make the employee solve all these problems without help.
  • Consider expert assistance: Numerous consulting firms specialize in helping companies navigate the relocation processes.  If their assistance results a successful move within the budget, the expense is probably worth it.

Relocation will become even more necessary in today’s highly competitive global economy.  Think through what you need to do to make relocations smart moves.


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