A list of the common challenges when relocating members of your workforce.

Moving (or relocation) is widely accepted to be a very stressful experience and that fact doesn’t change when a move relates to a company, its operations and employees.

Unsurprisingly, it’s not as simple as telling employees to attend work in a new location from next week! There are numerous complexities to take into account and below you’ll find a list of some of the most common challenges when relocating members of your workforce:

Resistance to Change

Humans are typically creatures of habit and they will tend to fall into routines and rhythms, maintaining them until an external force prompts a change in behaviour. When that external force arrives, it will be resisted for a variety of reasons, but chief among them will tend to be:

Loss of control

The feeling of losing control might be limited to an employee’s role but can also extend beyond the workplace, with relocation potentially having a direct impact on commute times and, subsequently, time available to spend on personal activities or with friends and loved ones.

Perceived feelings of loss of control can be negated by offering choice to the affected employee(s). Simple gestures, such as introducing flexible working, can help an individual feel as though they are still in control.

Increased work

Change inevitably means work for everyone involved. Procedures and protocols that worked in one location won’t necessarily transpose to another without adaptation and modification.

Again, involving a workforce in finding solutions to these issues can mean that the solution is the best available (based on collective knowledge) and that those who have to implement it are accountable to themselves and not resentful of having a process imposed on them.

Relocation Expenses

Many companies will offer to cover (reasonable) relocation expenses (such as the costs associated with finding a place to live and the transport of furniture and personal belongings) when an employee has to personally relocate.

This does, of course, mean an additional expense for the business. However, cost control measures can be implemented, such as the employment of relocation services such as ARC Relocation. Companies like this offer services such as:

  • Destination Services
  • Settling-In Services
  • Mortgage Services

Where there is no choice but for an employee to handle their own expenses directly (as opposed to outsourcing tasks to external companies), then the implementation of rules to manage travel and relocation costs can help to prevent relocation expenses from spiralling out of control.

Employee Compliance

It’s quite possible that some employees may “dig in their heels” and simply refuse to relocate and unless the employee’s contract includes a mobility clause, a company may find that they have to negotiate in order to achieve relocation.

Negotiation tools might include incentives, such as promotion, pay increases or covering some (or all) of the moving costs. However, in the event of negotiations breaking down (and where no mobility clause is enforceable), employers may wish to consider offering redundancy and recruiting new employees in the new location.