The loss of workplace productivity during an employee’s corporate relocation, although difficult to measure, is both real and significant, especially given the growth in global mobility. The relocation process by definition creates substantial distraction and dissonance, reducing the employee’s focus and engagement, and ultimately, productivity. There are, however, several things that can be done from the company’s perspective that can assist in lessening the reduction of productivity problem when working with employee relocation.
Allow Sufficient Time to Consider the Employee Relocation
It can be difficult for employers when there is an urgent need to fill a key role. Once that role has been filled, if the individual has to relocate, more time will go by before the employee is settled and back to full productivity. Keeping in mind that companies do have a business to run, it is still imperative that enough time is allotted to consider the needs of ALL family members when planning a domestic or international relocation. Insufficient time to accept/decline the relocation and then make the physical move can increase stress levels for the employee and in turn, reduce productivity during work time hours.
Involve the Spouse/Partner and Family
When the employee will be moving with his/her family, in order to position the relocation for success it is essential to include, at a minimum, the spouse/partner in the decision making process as well as the day to day dialogue after the move gets underway. With some exceptions, families will be moving as a unit and to provide important information to only one member and expecting this individual to transfer all applicable details to other family members with complete accuracy is adding unnecessary stress to everyone involved. It is up to the in-house corporate mobility contact as well as the relocation management company (RMC), if utilized, to determine the best way to communicate with and disseminate information to all applicable family members. Allowing the family to hear the employee relocation information first-hand and ask any questions will help reduce excess workday calls and emails, diminish the need to repeat information and ultimately keep the employee’s productivity on track during a corporate relocation.
Utilize Calendars and Timelines
At the point at which an employee accepts a relocation, it should be with a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved – especially his/her own responsibilities. Technological advances have provided us with the capability to access electronic calendars from even remote locations and utilizing these tools to their full capacity throughout the course of a move is essential. RMC providers and in-house global mobility advisors can assist in managing stress for both themselves and the relocating employee by continually updating the employee’s calendar and sending reminder notices that require an accept/decline response. This keeps important details at the top of everyone’s mind and reduces productivity lost by having to meet last minute deadlines.
Begin Destination Services as Soon as Practical
If destination services are part of the employee relocation package, it is worthwhile to begin them as soon as it is possible. Doing so can increase excitement about the move, reduce family anxiety by allowing them to begin orienting themselves to the new location, and set the relocation on an efficient pace. Many companies are now attempting to reduce lost productivity that occurs during the home finding trip by splitting the traditional five-to-seven day home finding trip into two trips of three days/two nights each. This allows for weekend travel and less time spent out of the office during the week.
Consider Flexible Working Arrangements
By allowing the relocating employee to work remotely when necessary during the move, productivity is often maintained or even gained due to the potential of working both during and outside of normal business hours. There are often move-related activities that must be attended to at home both on the departure and destination ends of a relocation, thus by allowing flexible working arrangements, the anxiety of falling behind in one’s workload can be reduced dramatically.
Additional Support Services that can Maintain or Boost Productivity During a Corporate Relocation:
- Spouse/Partner Assistance – In light of the possibility that the spouse/partner may have to give up his or her job in order to relocate, companies can acknowledge this significant source of stress by providing job finding assistance, career counseling, assistance with going back to school or support with getting involved with local charitable or volunteer organizations.
- Cross Cultural and Language Training – When global assignments fail, the reasons can often be traced back to unhappiness and failure to adapt on the part of the assignee’s family. If there are continuous breakdowns in communication and understanding, it can lead to alienation, depression, and a desire to return to the familiar. By providing cross cultural and language training (if applicable) to the entire family, there is a greater chance that both the employee and family will adapt to the new environment, and that the employee will become engaged and productive in his/her new role.
If you would like to learn more about how to maintain productivity during a relocation, download the eBook from TRC Global Mobilty.
About TRC Global Mobility
TRC Global Mobility is a U.S.-based, 100% employee-owned employee relocation company focused exclusively on US, international and government relocation services. We help our clients to use talent mobility to achieve their strategic business objectives. By ensuring our clients have the right talent in the right place at the right time, TRC empowers them to realize their full, global potential. Contact Us if you’re ready to take your relocation policy and talent mobility to the next level!