7 Tips On How To Discuss Relocation With Your Employees
Relocation to another country or site within the UK for work is a huge undertaking for an employee, with a far-reaching impact on their family. While a work-related relocation can be an exciting new opportunity for all involved, it can also be stressful and challenging. Having open and honest discussions from the start helps ease the transition, and also helps the employee settle into their new role and location within a shorter timeframe. Follow these tips when first speaking to staff about an upcoming relocation.
1. Prepare In Advance
Before meeting with your employee to discuss the upcoming relocation, gather all the key details together about the move itself and the process involved, as well as the new role and location. Have the timeline for the transition, benefits package, and potential challenges on hand so that a full relocation strategy can be devised. Take time to anticipate questions or concerns the employee may raise so you can address them directly and honestly. Formalise all the action points from your preparation meeting into a letter or document that can be emailed to the employee to use as a checklist.
2. Choose The Right Time And Place
Select a suitable time when you can have an uninterrupted and confidential discussion with the employee, that doesn’t impinge on their work. Avoid rushing the conversation or having it in a public setting where you may be overheard, in order for the employee to have the confidence to speak openly and uninhibitedly about their concerns regarding the relocation. Choose a private office or meeting room to ensure confidentiality. This creates a comfortable environment for a transparent and open-ended dialogue.
3. Be Transparent And Honest
There is a lot involved in staff relocation, both from the perspective of your business and from the employee themself. Clearly explain the business factors leading to the relocation offer and how it aligns with company goals, as well as the career and lifestyle benefits available to the employee. Be upfront about the reasons behind the move, avoiding sugar-coating the decision or making false assurances. If a relocation goes well, it can cement long-term staff loyalty and satisfaction, whereas it can easily sour the relationship between the employee and your business if they feel that you are not honest and frank about the details of the relocation, or that they were deceived in some way.
4. Listen Actively
It’s important to recognise that many, if not most, employees, would rather leave your business than relocate from where they currently live, so give the employee full scope to share their initial thoughts, concerns, and questions, as well as any further concerns that arise during the process. Practise active listening without interruptions or a predetermined agenda, paying attention to both what is said and how it is said. Being heard will help staff feel involved and empowered during the process, increasing the chance of a positive outcome.
5. Address Concerns
Be prepared to respond to any specific concerns raised during the discussion, being sensitive to the fact that ‘small details’ from your business perspective may be deal breakers from the perspective of the employee. Provide full and frank details on the new location, job responsibilities, salary adjustments, cost of living, and any relocation assistance available. Having this key information ready shows staff you want to support them through the transition, reducing their stress levels.
6. Explore Options
Discuss possible alternatives and flexibility that may ease the relocation process, such as remote work or flexible hours during the transition to avoid burnout, or temporary relocation so that the employee gets used to their new working environment and colleagues. Tailor solutions to each employee's situation, showing that you care about making the move successful for both the individual and the company.
7. Have Resources Available
Provide employees with contacts for any additional questions that arise after your initial discussion. Offer assistance from HR or a dedicated relocation specialist to help with specifics, making it clear that you are committed to a successful outcome and are prepared to offer all the personal and financial support possible to make the relocation easy and straightforward for the employee and their family.
Being proactive, transparent, and supportive during discussions about an employee relocation lays a strong foundation for a successful move and a positive long-term working relationship. Do not hesitate to bring in outside expertise if you are unsure about how to approach the process, or if the employee has questions about the move itself that you are not comfortable answering. Galleon International specialises in domestic and international relocation. Our team of experts can provide you with the relocation support for employees that you need to ensure a successful process, so please contact us today to find out more.
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