Benefits of Partnering with a Relocation Management Company on Your Group Move
Group moves are often a key component of a company’s strategic planning, but due to their complexity they can be overwhelming to both companies and employees. In addition to ensuring a successful relocation and managing the move itself, company stakeholders are tasked with keeping business disruption at a minimum and productivity strong. Without a sound plan and consistent communication, employee morale can be negatively impacted, ultimately compounding potential disruption.
With so much at stake, businesses need every advantage when planning a group move, but most organizations don’t have the in-house capacity. Working with a relocation management company (RMC) puts a wealth of expertise and resources at a company’s fingertips when planning a move of this magnitude.
Steps to Managing a Group Move
To ensure that a group move goes as smoothly as possible, several procedures need to be established:
- Assess which employees will or won’t be offered the opportunity to relocate.
- Determine which policies/benefits will be offered to support the relocation.
- Decide the desired acceptance rate of employees taking the move (e.g., is it 90% as skills are specialized and hard to find; or is it 20% as there is a pool of local talent available)? This answer may differ between companies and move scenarios.
While determining the above may seem straightforward, impacted employees need to be provided with just the right amount of time to make this decision; placing too much pressure too quickly or providing too much time to decide can lead to challenges. Once the employee has agreed to relocate, requiring a signed repayment (payback) agreement and letter of intent to move is advisable before the company commits to any investments.
Additional steps you may include to increase the chances of success:
- Create a well-thought-out exception management process to accommodate the needs of key personnel who may need support outside of policy to accept the relocation.
- Incorporate the concepts of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) into your overall approach and management of your group move, including package design, consideration of the employees that you are targeting for the group move, and any potential challenges in the departure and destination locations.
- Develop a feedback process to respond to employee questions.
- Establish controls to limit the number of people acting outside of the program.
- Keep your customers and suppliers informed to minimize concerns about business continuity, including a robust communication plan and change management process, as well as educating them on the considerations for COVID-19 in specific destination countries.
- Demonstrate that there was duty of care applied in assessing the socio-political situation at the destination location, including public health and basic infrastructure, standard of living and of housing, and availability of acceptable education, especially if moving with families.
Why Group Moves Fail
Based on our experience, there are several common reasons why group moves are unsuccessful, which can include a company’s failure to:
- Announce the move without adequate preparation or employee engagement
- Clearly define objectives
- Plan thoroughly and allow enough time
- Maintain control of the employee experience through adherence to policy
- Understand the unique needs and dynamics of employees
- Select suppliers that have experience with supporting group moves
- Solicit the endorsement and engagement of senior management
- Enlist the help of outside resources early enough
It’s critical to be able to tie the reason for the group move back to a sound business objective. Employees should be reassured with reasons why the new location was selected, goals that can be defined and defended, and they should be made aware of the benefits and amenities of the new location. Involving mobility managers and support resources early in the process goes a long way in accomplishing this and much more. When properly structured, group move programs reduce employee attrition, absenteeism, and administrative time.
How Relocation Management Companies Can Help
From administering employee surveys to determining employee perceptions and potential needs for the move, to conducting market studies of your departure and destination locations to gauge cost differences and to determine if a cost-of-living adjustment might be necessary, a relocation management company (RMC) works closely with a company’s management team to define the overall objectives of a move and its markers of success. The RMC can also assist with advising on communications plans, designing an effective policy, and managing the logistics of the move to ensure a smooth and successful implementation.
What Should You Look for in a Provider?
Find a provider whose employees and knowledge base will best meet your needs. Look for one with extensive experience and on-the-ground resources in the group move destination location. The RMC you partner with should have:
- Comprehensive and well-defined project plans
- Staff augmentation capabilities
- User friendly and robust technology tools to support employees
- Relocation policy design and implementation expertise
- Extensive group move experience, including:
- Working with employees and mobility teams that are under stress
- Group move policy counseling
- Process development and management
- Supplier selection and management experience
- Knowledge of the local real estate market
- Clear and comprehensive reporting processes (e.g., service utilization, satisfaction, and costs)
SIRVA’s extensive global footprint means that we have the capability, resources, and network to conduct group moves of all sizes, in varying locations (e.g., different countries, same country, same city), and for different reasons (e.g., projects, office consolidations, M&As). Companies around the world have enlisted our services and benefited immensely from our dedication to providing the very best service no matter how many employees our clients are relocating.
To provide a better idea how SIRVA addresses client concerns with workable solutions, following are highlights of three recent group moves we have supported.
Case Study 1
Our client, Capital Group, an American financial services company, requested to move 20 employees domestically from Beijing to Shanghai during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
|Client Concerns||SIRVA Solutions|
|Unfamiliarity with the new city||Due to travel restrictions and limitations from the pandemic:
|Local school enrollment for employees’ children||
|Uncertainty to rent or purchase property in Shanghai||Created an in-depth market survey report addressing key issues like housing and finances|
|Logistical issues of car transfers between cities (employees wanted to transfer their own cars from Beijing to Shanghai)||
SIRVA worked closely with the client to provide the following options to employees:
|Language barriers for non-Chinese employees||SIRVA’s Destination Services Team provided the option to have a local translator help assist with non-Mandarin speaking employees|
|Achieve 100% satisfaction rate||
We had consistent communications with the client with the ability to anticipate issues and resolve problems in a timely manner
Domestic moves are less complex without the need for visa and immigration processing, but they require no less planning and coordination. From our experience, we find that being equipped with the following certainly helps to achieve greater success:
- Experience and knowledge of local culture
- Familiarity with inter-city rules and regulations
- Being attuned to the needs of clients and employees
- Being creative and proactive
Case Study 2
Our client from the Oil & Gas industry requested to move around 70 employees internationally from Australia to a location defined as being challenging due to COVID-19.
|Client Solutions||SIRVA Solutions|
|Consistency in communications and engagement||
|Move all employees within set timeframe||
|Ensure all employees’ needs are met||
Group moves to certain locations pose a different set of challenges, requiring sophisticated handling and duty of care. The RMC needs to be able to:
- Pivot quickly with flexible and creative solutions
- Position duty of care initiatives as the center stage
- Draw on data analytics and industry insights to create sound action plans to swiftly support client needs
- Track relocation budget to ensure no overspending and that costs are monitored consistently
Case Study 3
Our client, an American technology company, requested to move approximately 100 employees internationally from Malaysia to China.
|Client Concerns||SIRVA Solution|
|Maintain good employee experience amidst COVID-19 conditions||
|Keep within budget||
|Ensured the group move was completed on schedule||
International moves involving a higher number of employees can be difficult to manage if the RMC does not have proper planning, foresight, and good communications. When handling high volume group moves, it is important for the RMC to:
- Be well-versed in visa and immigration policy and processes to secure the right permits and documents at each location in a timely manner
- Have strong expertise in household goods shipments for employees
- Have in-house destination service expertise and a strong supply chain network to deliver timely, high-quality support to every relocating employee
- Have excellent project management skills to facilitate on time and consistent service delivery for a large-scale move
SIRVA has proven capabilities of adeptly handling group moves of various sizes to different destinations. Cross-regional teamwork has enabled SIRVA to help its clients obtain outstanding results. Our expertise and knowledge enable us to frequently meet and exceed our client expectations. Group moves may seem daunting but working with the right RMC will make relocating your employees a hassle-free and much more enjoyable affair.
For more information, or to evaluate whether your current relocation program will support the objectives of your upcoming group move, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Echo Lei, Director, Global Account Management
- Maria Oras, Senior Manager, Global Account Management