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Best City: Right for the Company, Right for You? Relocation Advice from the Company Perspective

Aug 17, 2007
So the company has outgrown its current location or has other plans for its office--and you are faced with a move. Knowing the company's perspective on the relocation can help you manage the change more effectively.

Having made the decision to relocate, management must communicate the news to everyone. The general rule is to tell employees as much as you can as quickly as you can to limit the rumor mill. Often, people will assume the worst in the absence of information, that they haven't heard anything because the news is bad.

If details are missing from the story, it's often because there are unplanned factors to consider or other things delaying the communication. However, once everyone has been notified, if you will be moving with the company, it will be helpful to take the following perspectives into consideration.

The company will most likely focus on these things:

1. Fast relocation

All the time that there is uncertainty--be that with employees, suppliers or other stakeholders--can be unhelpful and de-motivating. The faster the relocation the better, as it puts the shortest possible fixed dates around the most stressful period before things will improve. If you have a question, ask it--it's possible the company didn't anticipate it and the answer will be helpful to others as well.

2. Ensure employee satisfaction with the new area

Having employees find the best place to live in a new area can be a big challenge since they won't know the area, won't know what the price of houses similar to their own is, what the schools are like, what the area is like in comparison to their present area. Fortunately, there are many web sites where you can easily get useful information on the new area. These range from US government sites, like the Census bureau, to relocation sites that help you find the best place to live.

3. Employees focusing on their new job and not problems to distract them at home

The Human Resources department knows that the business's key competitive asset is their employees. If they have problems at home, they won't be productive at work until their home life is settled. If you are experiencing challenges, ask HR for advice or assistance.

4. Limit disruption to the business as much as possible

If employees still have to deal with moving their family, making sure that the children are in a good school, making sure that the family is happy in their new home and neighborhood--they are likely to be distracted. So the faster everyone is in place, motivated and happy in the new area, the faster the disruption to the business will be over.

Much of the ground work can be carried out before the move by researching the new area using specialized web sites, such as Best Places, MyDreamLocale, or Neighborhood Scout, that provide useful information rather than just regurgitated statistics and offer useful insight into the communities in the new area.

5. Limit cost to the business

a. The cost of losing experienced staff, including productivity of new people v. those who chose not to move
b. Recruitment, hiring and training new employees
c. Employee relocation costs (Real estate commissions, Mortgage fees, Title insurance, Other closing costs, and Travel expenses during relocation)

Ask your employer what is included in the relocation package. Some companies provide a lump-sum amount which you can allocate as needed. Some companies specify which expenses they will reimburse and what limits they may impose on the reimbursement.

6. Ramping up productivity in the new location as quickly as possible

In any relocation, the move will mean that some employees come with the company, some will not. New employees will take time to get up to the job performance that was achieved at the prior location. The company will want to achieve this transition quickly. Offer to assist new employees with improving their productivity--it will make you look good, and the faster everyone is up to speed, the less pressure there will be on you to take up the slack.

The positive aspect of new employees joining the company is that they will accept the job and the company how it is today. This may be an opportunity for the company to introduce different ideas and practices. For example, the company may be willing to allow staff flexible working hours or the ability to carry some work out from home.

Happy, well motivated employees, who have made the move to the new area easily, found the right house in the right area for them with good schools for the children will all present the company with enthusiastic and rejuvenated workers who will re-pay the company for the costs of relocation and moving to the new area.

Knowing the company's perspective can help you successfully negotiate the challenges of a job-related relocation.
About the Author
Glen Franklin is a partner in Community Insight LLC, which operates www.MyDreamLocale.com. MyDreamLocale.com helps you find the best place to live and provides real estate, school, demographic data, cost of living comparisons, by city, town, neighborhood or zip code for relocation/moving.
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