• Planning a seamless business relocation

    Business relocation is something that requires careful and diligent planning from the word go. This will come in handy in ensuring that the business operations run seamlessly before, during, and after the final move to the new workplace. A business relocation plan should be the first thing you establish if you want everything to go accordingly. It will ensure that there’s smooth coordination for everyone involved. After all, ensuring minimum downtime is among the essential objectives at such a crucial moment.

    office and chair

    What does relocate mean?

    Relocation refers to the exercise of moving a business from one location to the other. Changing business locations from one place to the other isn’t something that can be done overnight. Hence the need for a business relocation plan. Some of the reasons most businesses decide to relocate include the following:

    • Searching for a suitable workforce.
    • Looking for new target markets.
    • Ned to upgrade work facilities.
    • Need to lower costs/ increase cashflow.
    • Better life quality.

    HR’s role in business relocation

    Retaining and attracting talent is one of the greatest concerns during any corporate relocation. As much as employees are a large cost to the organisation, they’re a crucial resource. After all, they bring creativity, productivity and essentially help generate income for the business. To ensure that your talent isn’t affected you need a good talent management program. HR must work diligently to ensure that the employee relocation program is effectively managed.

    Some of the HR responsibilities when relocating employees include the following:

    • Setting and managing policies by working closely with internal business partners.
    • Identifying team members best suited for relocation.
    • Identifying and mitigating legal issues.
    • Selecting and managing external service providers and vendors.

    The program must be carefully evaluated to ensure that it delivers/achieves its strategic value. HR must consider the financial, operational, and strategic aspects of the program.

    Developing and designing relocation policies

    Relocation policies outline clear rules that ensure all team members are treated fairly and equally. Written policies are essential in ensuring that managers don’t give preferential treatment to their favourite employees. The policies also help the team members make informed decisions during the relocation because they’ll know what’s included and what’s expected of them.

    There are several circumstances an employer can change an employee’s location like business efficacy, and search for better markets among others. Relocation policies have different coverage hence the employers can adopt those that best suit their situation. The different coverage levels include the following:

    • New recruits
    • Expeienced employees
    • High-level employees and executives

    It’s upon the employer to consider whether relocating the said employee will be of more financial gain compared to the cost of relocation. It’s HR’s responsibility to ensure that the policies allow for employees to be relocated where they’re needed.

    London offices

    Essential elements of an effective relocation program

    Business relocations are no easy task. An effective relocation program is essential when planning for a smooth office move. When coming up with an effective relocation program, some of the essential elements an organisation should consider include the following:

    • Bonus pay and adjustments
    • Assistance in buying and selling homes
    • Relocation expenses
    • Payback clauses
    • Family support
    • Clear communication
    • Goup moves
    • Temporary relocations
    • Legal issues
    • Willingness to relocate

    Bonuses and pay adjustments

    Offering bonuses and pay adjustments is an ideal way to convince employees to relocate. The state of the job market will determine the incentives needed for employees to make the decision to relocate.

    The organisation needs to consider the cost of living adjustment and relocation bonuses to lure employees. Tax rates are essential in determining the type of incentives a business will use to lure the employees.

    Assistance with buying and selling homes

    An effective relocation program should entail policies that help find a suitable buyer for an employees home. The organisation should be able to arrange for a good buyer in case the house doesn’t sell within the stipulated timeline.

    The policies can also include offering necessary financial and legal help to employees when it comes to canceling leases or acquiring mortgage prequalification. Having such an impact can significantly impact an employee’s decision to relocate to a different location.

    Offering family support

    Moving to a new location can be quite hectic. therefore, the employer shouldn’t overlook the stress that comes with the whole relocation process, especially for team members with families. As much as the employee might be excited to move to a new work environment, you’ll find that they have responsibilities to fulfill that must be carefully considered.

    If the employee is moving with their spouse, you might find that the partner also needs to find a new job. Hence, the policies set should effectively tackle such issues. If there are children involved, you also need to consider that they will also be equally affected especially when it comes to finding new schools. Remember if the staff member is affected or stressed, it might have a negative impact on their productivity making employee support necessary.

    Payback clauses

    During a move, an organisation might face the risk of losing the team member shortly after investing in the whole exercise. To avoid incurring this loss, a company can include a reimbursement clause in the event that the employee leaves within a certain period after the relocation.

    In the clause, they can agree that the staff member compensates either all or part of the cost incurred by the employer during the move. It is essential to note that some organisations tend to avoid this clause because they think it might discourage the employee from relocating.

    Relocation expenses

    Some organisations tend to offer reimbursement for expenses incurred during the move. Others might opt to provide lump sums to the relocating team members so that it caters to the move expenses. With lump sums, HR doesn’t have the responsibility of keeping track of the staff member’s expenditure receipt.

    Depending on the expenses covered by the lump sums, the employee might decide to keep the remaining amount after settling all the costs incurred.

    Communication

    Having clear and effective communication is an essential aspect. It’s advisable to communicate to employees once you have a relocations program policy in place. Apart from showing the employees how valued they are, communicating also enlightens them on what they’re entitled to.

    Poor communication is something you want to avoid because of the adverse effects it can have on the employees’ productivity levels and the business in general. An ideal place to start is by having a formal letter of agreement to relocate highlighting every detail and policy of the move.

    Apart from employees, it’s essential to inform any other parties involved of the planned relocation. This can be done by making a business relocation announcement. In light of having clear communication, the employer can assess how the move went by having a debriefing process after the move.

    Group moves

    There are certain dynamics of a group move that HR must handle. Considering it’s a move that calls for the entire business relocation, HR should be able to explain why the company is moving and also counter any gossip or speculation concerning the move among team members.

    As much as the business needs to continue with minimum downtime, a group move can strain the organisation’s resources for quite some time and also have the team embers preoccupied for quite some time. This is especially since the staff members have to relocate with their families too.

    It’s essential to ensure that you pack for moving at the right time to avoid forgetting things or misplacing important data due to some last-minute rush.

    Temporary relocations

    Temporary business relocations are more financially advantageous for most businesses compared to a group move. Most businesses find it cost-effective since it’s an ideal way to reduce costs while enhancing productivity. Also, it’s rare to have a family move in the case of temporary relocation.

    signing a legal paper

    Legal Issues

    When relocating to a new location, there are several legal issues that need to be considered. It’s not just about moving things from one place to the other, the employer should also consider contracts, protecting personal information and taxes among other things.

    Relocation agreements

    It’s advisable to have a relocation agreement between the employer and employee as it sets out the limits and details of the relocation policy. The written agreement should clearly state what’s expected of both parties. It also protects the employers against any oral or implied contracts by managers.

    Personal information

    It’s upon HR to ensure that employees’ personal data is kept safe throughout the move. Thus making it necessary to hire a competent and reliable mover. One that will ensure every equipment and data is safely moved to the new location.

    Tax

    Taxes need special consideration during a move. This is because it varies depending on whether you’re planning to have either a temporary or permanent move.

    Willingness to relocate

    The willingness of a staff member to move to a new relocation is essential. Some employees tend to hesitate due to the risk of not being able to sell their homes or taking a loss. Others might also hesitate if they’re in search of more lucrative job opportunities. However, the types of incentives employers have to offer might influence their team member’s willingness to relocate.

    We can all agree that planning an office relocation is not as easy as it sounds especially if it involves moving employees and their families to a new location. There are so many factors that influence a firm’s relocation and a lot of diligence is necessary to ensure that everything goes according to plan. But most importantly, working with an experienced and reliable mover is one way to ensure that you have a seamless business relocation.