5 Essential Steps to Survive the Relocation Busy Season
ESSENTIAL STEPSto SURVIVEthe RELOCATION BUSY SEASONWritten by Paige Holden, CRP, GMS and Roxanne Korostowski, CRP A publication of Relocation at the speed of life.
Table of ContentsEssential Steps to Survivethe Relocation Busy SeasonIntroduction 3Chapter 1. Understand Your Transferee Base 4-9Chapter 2. Bring the Team Together 10-12 Chapter 3. Manage the Expectations of Transferees 13-15Chapter 4. Must Do’s for Communicating the Policy 16-17Chapter 5. Prepare to Troubleshoot Along the Way 18-20Conclusion 21
Introduction April is here and we know what that means! Taxes are due, spring flowers are blooming and you’ve just realized that 100 of your employees all need to be moved during the summer months. Panicked? Don’t be. You are not alone. About 80 percent of all relocations occur during the summer. No matter how much we wish moving and relocation would be consistent throughout the year, or how sensible we know it is to move during off-peak seasons, the crush is inevitable for a variety of reasons: families don’t want to move their kids during the school year, summer months are often slower for other industries, the housing market may be more lively, etc. So, we need to accept it. And know what is coming. With this kind of volume, houses flood the market, moving companies hit capacity and schools need to be found quickly. Problems are inevitable but they don’t have to be catastrophic if you prepare for the rush ahead of time. Whether you are new to relocation or you are an industry veteran, this ebook will serve as a guide on how to get organized, manage expectations and trouble shoot problems. Think of it as a first aid kit for surviving the relocation busy season!SHARE Essential Steps to Survive the Relocation Busy Season 3this!
When busy You cannot properly execute any relocation without knowing who you are moving. When busy season hits, you are no longer dealing with one or two transferees.season hits, Instead, you are dealing with whole groups of people, so the challenge is figuring out how to satisfy the majority. you are Transferees can be segmented in all sorts of ways (homeowner, non homeowner, single, family, etc.) but it’s really important to remember that transferees will talk to one no longer another about the benefits they are receiving. If you split your base between single and family, for example, there may be backlash from singles who feel discriminated against dealing because they did not receive the same level of benefits as someone with a family. with one To diffuse the “it’s not fair” chatter as much as possible, the most efficient way to segment your transferee base is by level within the company. The three most common or two groups we see are college recruits/entry level new hires, middle managers/skilled employees and senior executive/C-suite. To gain a better understanding of your base,transferees. here is a breakdown of what you need to know for each level: SHARE Essential Steps to Survive the Relocation Busy Season 5 this!
College Recruits: It is graduation season and that means a lot of companieswill be looking to hire and relocate new talent. If you are planning to move recentgrads, there are a few questions you will need to answer sooner than later(if you don’t know already).Questions to consider:• here are your grads coming from? Will they all be from W the same school? Same region?• re you hiring any grads that are studying on international visa? This may require A immigration assistance, which would need to be processed in advance (3-4 months).• hat are their current living accommodations? Some grads may be living at home, W while others will be leaving an apartment. This could impact your housing benefits.• an you get an idea of how much “stuff” will have to be moved? Summer season is C the busiest time of year for moving companies, and small shipments are the hardest to move. Knowing this in advance will help you manage expectations for your transferee.The challenge: There are two major challenges to be prepared for when moving this group: lack of moving knowledge,which can lead to waste and angst and small shipments which are difficult to move in the summer.The takeaway: It’s important to make sure that the entry-level policy is not too rich, but still competitive with othercompanies fighting for the same talent. A comprehensive look at what will be most beneficial for your specific basewill help you define the most meaningful benefits for this group. Education about moving will be critical. SHARE Essential Steps to Survive the Relocation Busy Season 6 this!
????? Middle Managers/Skilled Employees: You may be practiced at moving this group as they are likely to be transferred at any point during the year. That said, summer season volume will highlight the many challenges that this diverse group of employees will face: Questions to consider: • s the group at a salary range where they are likely own a home? This will impact I housing benefits. • re most of your transferees, new hires, lateral moves or promotions? This will affect A willingness to move, flexibility and overall attitude. • o they have a family? Family concerns are the greatest barrier to a successful D relocation. Spousal assistance, school finding and elder care assistance may be helpful. • re your transferees financially able to move? With many homes underwater, it’s A important to understand if it is feasible for your transferees to move at all and, if it’s not feasible, if and how you will help them. The challenge: This group is the most challenging group to assess because there are so many variables. HR should be prepared for financial issues, family concerns, resistance to lateral moves and real estate challenges that may be difficult to solve within policy budget parameters. The takeaway: The more you know about these transferees, the better off you will be down the road. In person meetings and pre-decision assessments will shed valuable insight on the specific challenges each transferee will face. Benefits will need to be far more comprehensive than those offered for college grads. SHARE Essential Steps to Survive the Relocation Busy Season 7 this!
Senior Executives/C-Suite: These folks are used to getting what they want, when they want it, and most companies will pay for it. Like all other transferees, they will want to move in the middle These folks of the summer when it is most convenient for their families. are used to Questions to consider:getting what • hat if they own a $1M+ property? Can your company afford to offer them a Home Sale Program that rich? W they want, • re you recruiting at this level or moving a current executive? Executive recruits are in high demand and the A when they relocation package is a big part of the overall compensation package, which has to be competitive. want it. • Do they have a family? Working spouse? Elder parent? Child? • re they financially able to move? Despite being some of the highest paid transferees, this group may still be A facing a negative equity situation or have other financial tie-ups that can impact the relocation. The challenge: This group has very different challenges just because of who they are. Their relocation packages are a big part of the negotiation process and are typically very lucrative. They are used to and expect to have everything done for them—even personal items that pertain to their home sale. They do not like delays and they rarely hear the word no. The takeaway: The good news is that, unlike the middle management group, the relocation package is usually rich enough to offset specific challenges, including housing. Relocation managers will still need to explain the package and be diligent in managing expectations, even if it is intimidating to do so. SHARE Essential Steps to Survive the Relocation Busy Season 8 this!
O ce you have a general understanding n of the groups you are moving, you can identify and prepare for the potential challenges that may occur at the height of the busy season. This brings us to step 2!SHARE Essential Steps to Survive the Relocation Busy Season 9this!
Once you understand your transferee base, it’s time to bring your team together to map out a game plan. We cannot stress enough how important it is that everyone, from HR and recruitment to the third party relocation company, is on the same page regarding the transferees that will be moving, the policies being This is a used and any anticipated challenges. Here is what should be discussed: The transferee base and determine potential challenges. It’s important to fill yourgood time to relocation partners and service providers in on who will be moving so that they can better understand what will be needed and give you and your team much needed support. Fordust off your example, if your third-party relocation company know there will be a lot of college recruits this summer, they can start working with their network in advance to start identifying relocation housing communities and gather information about the area. Review your relocation policies. This is a good time to dust off your relocation policies policies and and give them another look. Are they still competitive? Do they meet the needs of the employees that you are transferring? Your relocation provider will inform you of any new give them best practices, industry trends, benefits, etc., in order to make sure you are using every tool possible to meet the needs of your employees or to compete for top talent.another look. Be an editor. Carefully re-read your relocation policies. If you and your relocation team find holes in the current policy, now is the time to fix them. At the very least, be sure to review the policy for clarity. Nothing should be left up to interpretation. SHARE Essential Steps to Survive the Relocation Busy Season 11 this!
Establish a timeline. Let your relocation Evaluate your reporting needs. What informationservice provider know when most of the moves do you need for reporting back to management? Iswill occur. This will help them organize their your relocation provider capturing all of the data youinternal teams and alert their suppliers so that want during the initiation process? Are there anythey can do the same. This is also a great time unique reporting requirements for a certain group ofto discuss a realistic timeline for dealing with transferees? If you let your relocation services partnereach individual move. For example, if you are know in advance your potential reporting needs, then theyrelocating a lot of homeowners, this is a can ensure that the information is captured and begingreat opportunity to understand how the developing any ad hoc reporting before the relocationscurrent housing market trends might impact start. Once busy season gets underway, it is more difficultthe transferees’ ability to sell, and how that to go back and find the right information.might impact the transferee personally If possible, it’s great to have these meetings face-to-face.(and the business). If that’s not possible, be sure leave enough time to finish the discussion so that the appropriate measures can be taken sooner than later. For those who want to be super- efficient, it is never a bad idea to loop in any department managers, executives and/or recruiters that will be impacted by relocations. This will ensure that everyone understands what is being offered to whom and why, which can minimize exception requests later on. SHARE Essential Steps to Survive the Relocation Busy Season 12 this!
Prior to initiating the relocation process, it’s important that the transferee understands the challengesinvolved in relocating because these challenges will be heightened during busy season. Here are someissues that you should discuss with each transferee:Home selling competition. Spring into Summer is peak season for the real estate market. On the one hand, this isgood because there may be more candidates interested in buying the transferee’s home. On the other hand, the amountof competition can be daunting. In today’s market, it’s critical to manage transferees’ expectations about what they willbe able to sell their house for and what, if anything, the company will provide in case there is a loss on sale.Household goods moving in peak season. Unfortunately, moving companies are not FedEx. While relocation providerswork hard to ensure household goods vendors are timely, there are no guarantees during the summer that every moveis going to fit into the exact schedule that the employee wants. It’s really best to explain to transferees up-front that theirgoods will be delivered at some point during a spread of days and that late shipments do happen during the summer.This conversation is especially important for transferees that have smaller shipments or are working with a lump sum. Peak Season SHARE Essential Steps to Survive the Relocation Busy Season 14 this!
Settling-in. Settling-in is a challenge for most transferees, regardless of the time ofyear. However, it can be even more daunting for those coming from another country. It’scritical that they have a realistic expectation of the environment that they are moving toand the accommodations in which they will be living. Finding schools, gyms, religiousestablishments and grocery stores, not to mention setting up accounts and licenses, takesa good deal of time so they should be prepared to set aside a few days to get acclimated.Settling-in Services can be a great help towards making good use of their allotted time.Start dates. It’s a great idea to decide on their start date in the new location right awayand then help them work backwards to ensure that they use their time wisely. For example,if they need to start on September 1st, then they need to list their house early spring atthe latest.Present the location honestly. Are you moving transferees to a hardship area? Whatabout from a city to the country side? We cannot stress enough how important it is thatyou present the location honestly. It is better to know right away if the transferee feelsthey cannot adapt to the new location then to gloss over the issues and deal with a failedrelocation later. This is even more important when you are moving people internationally.Every transferee is going to be different, so you may need to adjust the conversation basedon their questions and needs. Pre-decision counseling with an expert is often very helpfulin this stage. At the very least, always be honest. If they feel that they cannot do the move,it is best that they self-select out of the relocation. Or, they may love what they hear anddecide they can’t wait to move! Either way, be sure to give them enough time to discussexpectations with loved ones so that they make the right decision for their families. SHARE Essential Steps to Survive the Relocation Busy Season 15 this!
Once the employee has decided to transfer, they must know how much support they will receive. It’s agood idea to engage your relocation services provider right away. Remember your new hire or employee isanxious to get started so each additional day of not hearing from anyone can seem like an eternity to them.Here are some more tips:• o be sure that the benefits are very clearly defined in D • o encourage them to ask the relocation provider D the relocation policy and that the transferee receives a questions as they come up hard copy as well as electronic access to their policy • o provide a benefits summary sheet in the meeting D• f possible, arrange for an in-person meeting to go I and also electronically over the policy to try and get a feel for any potential • o provide education materials if possible. For example, D exceptions that may be forthcoming a sheet on how to budget a lump sum may be very• o let the transferee know that the relocation provider D helpful for transferees who have not moved before and will be scheduling a convenient time to explain the policy do not know what things cost benefits in detail and answer questions SHARE Essential Steps to Survive the Relocation Busy Season 17 this!
Even the best companies hit snags during the busy season so it’s important to have a plan for dealing with problems and special requests. Feel free to ask your relocation services provider for guidance, best practices, alternatives and potential extended implications. Here’s a road map for dealing with problems: Be prepared. Problems happen to the best of us. It’s not fun for anyone when something goes awry, but it also shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you go into the busy In the season prepared for hiccups, you won’t be thrown when they happen. In the event that a problem occurs, stay calm. Be sure to get all sides of the story regarding the issueevent that so that you can explain what happened clearly and calmly to the transferee and work towards a resolution and not play a blame game. If everything goes smoothly, morea problem power to you. occurs, Decide which items are exception worthy. It’s prudent to have a good idea about what items might be considered critical enough to warrant an exception approval.stay calm. Remember, granting one exception sets a precedent for future similar exception requests. They should never be granted on a whim. SHARE Essential Steps to Survive the Relocation Busy Season 19 this!
Identify if the problem is real or perceived. Transferees are under a lot of stress when they moveand they may think something is a major problem, even if it’s a minor issue. It’s best to ask a lot ofquestions and speak with everyone in order to get to the bottom of the issue before rushing to judgment.For example, as soon as their household goods move is booked, the transferee may receive a “deliveryspread.” If this is the first time that they are moving, the transferee may react thinking that they have tobe available during that entire time period when in actuality the actual delivery date(s) will be confirmedas they get closer to the move.Determine how to fix the problem. If the problem is real, then call your relocation partner and figureout how to fix it. Is it possible to mitigate the issue through negotiation with a vendor or sub-vendor?Can you provoke a mea culpa from the offending party? If the problem is not fixable through negotiation,but it’s important enough to solve, then it may be time to move forward with an exception.Cover your bases. If an exception is requested, confer with your management team to discuss theimpact that granting the exception might have on your company as a whole (since it may becomeprecedent). We advise that you do this before discussing the exception with the hiring and/or departmentmanager or transferee so that you do not create any false pretence or make promises you cannot keep. SHARE Essential Steps to Survive the Relocation Busy Season 20 this!
Conclusion W anticipate that this summer is going to be busier e than the past few summers. Now is the time to get your ducks in a row so that you are prepared for the rush. Having a game plan, and a team at the ready, will help you stay calm throughout the busy season. We hope you found this eBook helpful and fun. When in doubt, always remember: “Smile, breath, and go slowly.”—Thich Nhat HanhSHARE Essential Steps to Survive the Relocation Busy Season 21this!