You’ve arranged the airplane tickets, rental home and new car for your mobile employees. But your job as a mobility manager isn’t done quite yet. It turns out that employees actually want a whole lot more out of the relocation process than an itinerary stating their flight time and new address.
That’s the latest discovery from our recent research paper that offers revealing insight from the perspectives of all of the key stakeholders in any relocation–from the employees being moved to the corporate managers and business unit leaders who are moving them. It’s a project that makes sense; after all, the more we know exactly what our clients and their mobile employees want out of a move, the better we can ensure the entire process is a sweeping success for all parties involved.
And while both companies/clients and mobile employees have a lot riding on a relocation, research shows that mobile employees are often the most vocal stakeholders. After all, they’re the ones packing up their bags, families and lives. And if they’re not happy with the process, their companies will be left grappling with frenetic employees obsessing over the relocation as opposed to focusing on their new role. And that’s a perfect recipe for soaring stress and plummeting productivity.
So we dove into our research, interviewing and studying mobile employees to pinpoint what’s at the forefront of their racing minds during a relocation. Here are the findings:
• Topic number one on mobile employees’ minds? Money. Employees consistently reported that working with a tight reimbursement allowance multiplied their stress levels. After all, relocating is worrisome enough, never mind relocating while literally counting pennies. And get this – handing employees a pile of cash for relocation doesn’t exactly solve their problems. Many employees felt it was confusing to budgeting and manage a lump sum, which is natural, since their strengths are what they’re doing day in and out at the office – not being moving experts.
• On the flip side, employees working with “fair” mobility benefits felt they could focus on their new opportunity better. And the more energy and time mobile employees devote to their new position, the more productive and valuable they’ll be to their company.
• So what tops the list of in-demand mobility benefits? It boils down to three words – guaranteed home sale. Swinging a monthly mortgage is often the biggest financial obligation we face. Now imagine swinging two monthly mortgages – one for your old home sitting on the market and the second for your place in your new city, state, or country. And the more months your old house sits on the market, the more financial headaches add up. So a relocation package that offers a guaranteed home sale is a monster draw for mobile employees.
OK, so fair financial benefits and a guaranteed home sale are two big wants. But what else makes mobile employees’ wish list?
• For starters, mobile employees don’t just want mobility managers to share the highlights about their new destination. They want the nitty gritty, particularly about local schools and housing. For example, what are the school options? Is the house in a cul de sac or a city skyscraper? What’s the neighborhood crime rate? What are the demographics? Information eliminates uncertainty. And the more information mobile employees have, the more certain they’ll feel about their new home and decision.
• What else? An advocate! Mobile employees want to know someone is helping them traverse the relocation process not only before they make the move – but after they actually settle in. So many last minute things pop up after relocating, especially in a brand new state or country. That’s why mobile employees value an available and understanding mobility manager to turn to with questions ranging from “Where do I grocery shop?” to “How do I sign up for cable in a foreign country?”
• Another factor mobile employees are after: flexibility. For example, if a mobile employee wants to delay the move by a month so their child can finish the school year in their current school, then a little wiggle room will go a long way in making employees feel valued and heard.
• Finally, mobile employees have one big question they want answered: How will the move impact their career? Is this a one-year assignment for the mobile employee to test their leadership chops or is the relocation a definite springboard up the career ladder? Relocating calls for an enormous amount of energy, effort and expenses. So it is crucial for companies and mobile employees to be on the same page about the relocation expectations from day one. And the more mobile employees know just how much the relocation will boost their career, odds are they’ll be even more invested and committed to their new role.
To receive a copy of our complete guide to mobility stakeholder viewpoints, email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our guest blogger, Mera McKenna, is a freelance writer based on Boston’s south shore.