Employee relocation generates numerous concerns on the part of transferees. Employers who proactively address these concerns in their relocation policy minimize or eliminate most of them.
Among the seemingly infinite list of questions and concerns are:
This brief listing is in no particular order of importance, as different personalities and situations result in different priorities.
- Quality of life
- Spouse employment opportunities
- Availability of quality elder care
- Proximity to quality schools and universities
- The housing market
- Availability of recreation facilities, youth and adult sports programs and community activities
- The departure location housing market
- The cost of moving to a distant, unfamiliar area, regardless of the quality of the relocation policy
This is not an all-encompassing listing. Important concerns of employee “A” may not even make the list of employee “B.” The noted concerns, however, tend to make most pre-relocation item lists of the majority of transferees. Relocation programs should address these issues and reaffirm the benefits of transferring with these concerns in mind. Below are a few details associated with the concerns mentioned:
Spouse Employment Opportunities
If your transferee's spouse is a productive member of the workforce in their current location, employers should, if possible, share the job opportunities that should be available in the new location. If the employment prospects are dim, the employer can do more research or contact peers in the new area to procure some potential sources of jobs for transferees' spouses.
For example, if the transferee's spouse is a registered nurse, employers can get information regarding job prospects from hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other medical facilities in the new location. While the employer cannot guarantee employment for the spouse, addressing this concern within the policy parameters earns employee trust and gratitude.
Quality Care for Seniors
As the national workforce ages, their parents age too. Even aging parents who do not need nursing homes may want community services and activities tailored to their interests. The availability of quality care or senior activities can determine a “yes” or “no” answer to a company invitation to relocate.
Transferees with children of any school age are often troubled by the uncertainty of quality schools or colleges in the new area. Relocation programs that address these concerns and respond with useful inside information will put the transferee's mind at ease. All the information an employer provides a potential transferee serves to minimize these valid concerns.
This is a two-headed monster that must be defeated. Potential transferees may love their home, neighborhood, friends and area. Further, the uncertainty surrounding new locations, particularly during pre-relocation decisions, involves real estate prices, population diversity, mortgage availability and climate.
Offering to help with the sale of the current home and assistance with finding a new home can turn transferee frowns to smiles.
Even the best relocation programs involve some out-of-pocket cost for transferees. Giving examples of the reimbursement levels for prospective costs covered by the employer and potential costs to the relocating employee often calms the pre-relocation cost fears.
Employers must be aware of these concerns, designing appropriate answers to transferee questions and offering solutions to problem areas. Relocation policies that accomplish this goal result in more satisfied, productive transferees.