Employee turnover is a major cost for corporations. The average turnover rate in the United States is 24% per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While there are multiple reasons for employee turnover, one thing's for certain; turnover is more likely for relocated employees than ones fully embedded in the community. This fact makes retaining employees, during the relocation process, critical as a cost saving factor in the corporate plan. In addition, employees who are relocated are often strategically key to the organization. Therefore retaining these strategically critical employees during the relocation process takes on an entirely new level of importance.
The prime factor in retaining any employee is the employee's happiness with their job and the organization. Obviously this goes for regular and relocated employees. Listen to your employees, are they happy at work and at home? When deciding who to relocate, things become much easier when relocating employees who are happy at their jobs and happy with the organization. Today's employees expect a good work/life balance: management who collaborates and coaches instead of demands; a focus on results instead of rule-based rout work; a sense of personal meaning; and last--but far from least-- has access to the best tools and technology to work with. An employee who is satisfied in these maxims is far less likely to become an employee turnover statistic.
The old way of retaining employees after the relocation process was with the threat of having to pay back the relocation package costs should the employee leave the organization after being moved. While this tactic does have merit, it is far from ideal. The best practice to prevent employee turnover during the relocation process is to be proactive in the employee's happiness rather than managing with threats of having to pay back the relocation package.
Best practices to prevent post-relocation employee turnover include the following easy to implement tactics:
Encourage the employee and his/her family to take a brief paid vacation to the new location. These "scouting" trips can pay off in spades by properly introducing the employee and family to their new home. Send the employee to local networking events, introduce the new co-workers, try to find out what the employee likes to do outside of work and match this interest up with a local co-worker with a similar interest. Don't forget the family, as you are not just moving the employee. Focus on work opportunities for the spouse and school choices for the children during these scouting trips.
Alleviate home sale fears. In today’s real estate environment, most employees have a fear of a large loss on their home should they be relocated. Home sale assistance and guarantees help temper this concern. Although, to the organization buying the home, if it doesn’t sell timely, can be very costly to the company. This is particularly true in declining real estate environments. Suggesting a property management company to the employee to lease the property in extreme circumstances can be one solution to alleviate home sale fears and does not burden the company with a depreciating asset.
Communicate frequently during and after the relocation process. The first few days after the move have been proven to be critical in employee retention. Provide a contact person or team for the relocated employee that can be accessed at all reasonable times. This communication can nip potential issues in the bud before they become major issues resulting in employee turnover.
Following these 3 tactics can keep your employees happy and productive both during and after the relocation process.