If a new recruit is required to relocate, it can be a daunting process—don’t lose him or her right off the bat! In today’s Advisor, Jeff Ellman, cofounder and president of relocation management software provider UrbanBound, offers tips for employers on retaining relocated employees—and ensuring that recruitment efforts aren’t in vain.
High employee turnover rates can wreak havoc on your business. But reducing turnover is easier said than done, especially when it comes to relocated employees. Although turnover rates are exceptionally high for relocated new hires, retention is also a concern for employees who are being asked to relocate.
But what if the relocation process could be leveraged to reduce turnover rates? With the right approach, you can transform the relocation process into a resource that improves retention and creates a more satisfied workforce.
How Relocation Impacts Employee Turnover
A corporate relocation is a major life event. Whether the employee is a new hire or a proven team member, a job-based relocation involves a variety of challenges—all of which can impact the employee’s long-term relationship with your company.
- Housing logistics. Relocated employees face dozens of housing-related hurdles, from selling their homes, to selecting a moving company, to finding a place to live in their new city.
- Getting acquainted. Just learning how to get around a new city can be a formidable task. It takes time for relocated employees to identify transportation options, restaurants, grocery stores, and other services that local employees take for granted.
- Family transition. A job-related relocation is stressful for the entire family. Spouses, kids, and other family members may be required to find new jobs, new schools, and new friends.
- Job concerns. On top of everything else, relocated employees have to manage the anxiety and uncertainty that comes with starting a new job. In some cases, dissatisfaction with the job itself—not the relocation—pushes employees out the door.
Negative experiences or dissatisfaction in any one of these areas increases your risk of losing a talented employee. As a result, it’s in your company’s best interest to manage the relocation process in a way that helps employees and their families quickly adapt to their new location.
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Improving Retention Rates for Relocated Employees
Negative relocation experiences increase turnover rates. To improve workforce retention rates, proactively support relocated employees with tools and resources that make the transition as painless as possible.
- Educate employees about their new locations.
When you ask employees to relocate, you’re asking them to leave behind places and routines that they know and love. For many people, the process of being thrust into unfamiliar surroundings can be terrifying.
By providing relocated employees with hyperlocal information about their new city, you can eliminate much of the anxiety that is associated with a work-related move. Plan on providing employees with general information about their new cities as well as details about the best neighborhoods, parking, public transit, restaurants, and other topics.
- Maintain clear lines of communication.
During the transition, employees expect to receive routine communications from their employer. Rather than leaving them in the dark, touch base with relocating employees a few times a week. With a regular communication schedule, you can make sure that the employee’s needs are being met and initiate the individual’s transition into the workplace.
Many employers are using automated communications to stay in touch with employees during the transition period. The distribution of strategic e-mails or other forms of communication on a set schedule reduces the burden on HR staff. But more importantly, it reduces turnover by making the move less intimidating to employees.
- Provide step-by-step assistance.
City-specific information and regular communication are valuable, but they aren’t enough to ensure that employees have a successful relocation experience. Relocation isn’t a simple process. To improve the satisfaction levels of relocated employees, you’ll need to assist them every step of the way.
After you have clearly communicated your company’s relocation policy (including reimbursement amounts and processes), provide employees with the tools they need to plan and execute their move. Web-based relocation technologies offer checklists, calculators, and other step-by-step planning resources that streamline the process for both the employee and the HR team.
We can all agree that moving can be a challenging experience, but relocating for work doesn’t have to be. A carefully crafted relocation strategy helps your business capitalize on the excitement and optimism of a work-related move—reducing turnover by significantly increasing the satisfaction and happiness of relocated employees.
From helping new recruits through a relocation transition to engaging your top performers to keeping up with the latest in compliance, HR never sleeps. You need a go-to resource, and our editors recommend the “everything-HR-in-one” website, HR.BLR.com®. As an example of what you will find, here are some policy recommendations concerning e-mail, excerpted from a sample policy on the website:
- Privacy. The director of information services can override any individual password and, therefore, has access to all e-mail messages in order to ensure compliance with company policy. This means that employees do not have an expectation of privacy in their company e-mail or any other information stored or accessed on company computers.
- E-mail review. All e-mail is subject to review by management. Your use of the e-mail system grants consent to the review of any of the messages to or from you in the system in printed form or in any other medium.
- Solicitation. In line with our general policy, e-mail must not be used to solicit for outside business ventures, personal parties, social meetings, charities, membership in any organization, political causes, religious causes, or other matters not connected to the company’s business.
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