According to research from the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 22 million Americans relocated in 2017. It is likely many of them leveraged some form of relocation technology to manage their respective moves. After all, mobile users downloaded more than 175 billion mobile applications globally in 2017 to help manage their everyday activities, according to App Annie. This collective zeal for technological convenience has affected how people manage their relocation activities.
While relocation apps and portals ease and expedite some parts of the relocation process, they are not all-encompassing: There are variables that even the most advanced technology cannot address, including the emotional upheaval that occurs when relocation becomes reality.
For this reason, it is important for businesses that manage employee relocation and assignment activities to partner with mobility management providers that take a measured approach wherein technology and personal interaction are both available when needed. This sort of balance increases employee comfort and allows the company to deal more effectively with the unexpected hiccups that inevitably unfold during corporate-sponsored moves.
The Danger of Standalone Technology
Mobile applications and other technology solutions have transformed how people perform common tasks. Often, these tools streamline once time-consuming activities through automated features. Additionally, these features can make it easier for multiple business units involved with employee relocations to keep track of progress and monitor costs. A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study showed that 60 percent of corporate leaders believed online resources would drastically improve existing company relocation strategies. Improving relocation strategies, however, is far different from improving the total relocation experience, including dealing with relocating employees, external vendors and mobility management providers. This is where technology alone can fall short of a balanced approach.
In addition to moving information between the appropriate parties and tracking expenses, businesses must be prepared to address complications that software simply cannot. For example, a technology-only solution will not help relieve the anxiety a relocating employee might feel when faced with managing all of the tasks associated with moving the family and household to a new city. In these moments, human support is critical. Relocation technology solutions, while helpful, offer little aid in such situations. To effectively manage these scenarios, a company must rely on experience, knowledge and empathy. Just one negative relocation experience can make talent less likely to accept an assignment or transfer offer, whether they were directly involved or if they heard about it “through the grapevine.”