With such a major investment at stake, candidate assessment has become de rigueur for international assignments. But relatively few companies apply such a rigorous assessment to a potential domestic relocation. While the cost of most domestic relocations pales in comparison to a typical global assignment, it is still substantial. And a failed domestic assignment can have the same repercussions for the company: a loss of investment and talented employees.
Companies are wise to apply the same scrutiny to a domestic relocation as they do to a global assignment. Once one or more technically competent candidates are identified, they can undergo the same type of assessment as a potential global assignee. This is typically done with the help of a domestic candidate assessment, or a series of tests that give you an idea of how the individual handles changes in their surroundings and what kind of support they will need to adjust in their new location.
Types of Assessments
Finding the right candidate for employee relocation means looking a little deeper at how the individual thinks and functions. For instance, motivation assessments can show you what keeps the candidate going, and whether there will be enough rewards in their new environment to keep them performing well. Behavior and personality assessments can be used to determine whether or not a candidate can cope with cultural shifts in the workplace and how he or she will handle the stress of the move in the early stages of their relocation. All of this data is more telling than simple performance indicators from previous jobs because it gives you a view of the candidate’s mental preparation for a relocation.
Benefits of Assessments
It is important to consider that willingness to relocate doesn’t necessarily mean the candidate is a good candidate for a domestic relocation. This is particularly true with employees who have had little or no experience with living in other places and who may have an idealized view of starting over somewhere else. Whatever their technical qualifications might be, unhappy employees will not be able to deliver 100 percent in the new location. Their unhappiness with the new location will ultimately spill over into their work performance.
Unhappy employees also tend to request more policy exceptions and special consideration. They might drag their feet on selling the departure home and request repeated temporary housing extensions and frequent trips back to the departure location. Even with this extra consideration and expense there is still a significant attrition rate for these employees. Conducting a battery of employee relocation assessments can improve your retention rate between 60-90%.
Other Important Data Points
If the potential transferee has a family, they are an integral part of the success of the move. When conducting a domestic relocation assessment ask your candidates if they have any concerns about their family making the move. You may be able to provide additional support to a spouse in finding a new job, or help make arrangements for children that will ease the stress of the move. Knowing about any concerns in advance will give you the opportunity to arrive at a solution that keeps the family happy and the relocation on track.
Employee relocation is always a delicate matter. Domestic moves might seem less threatening, but any move is disruptive for employees and their families. By assessing candidates’ personality, motivations, stress management skills and personal needs, you can identify the people who will have the highest chances of success in the new location.