To relocate or not to relocate? Strategies for smooth employee relocation
Interviews / Opinions

To relocate or not to relocate? Strategies for smooth employee relocation

, Former Content Marketing Manager

Remote and work-from-home working models remain popular. Yet many companies are bringing people back to the office.


They’re finding it improves everything from culture to productivity to employee retention.

Companies thinking about returning employees to the office face a tough choice. Should they hire new people from the local area? Or consider relocating talented employees from different regions?

Employee relocation can be tricky. Challenges like disruptions in work and higher costs can make employers hesitate. But there are significant benefits to bringing in the right people for the job.

The secret to making job relocation work is to understand the challenges. And then to find strategies that will help you overcome them.

The benefits of employee relocation

Relocation can be a great way to fill skill gaps, grow your business, and compete in the global market. Here are some of the top reasons to create an employee relocation policy.

Accessing global talent

Relocating employees allows you to tap into a broader talent pool. It brings in individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Harnessing the skills and knowledge of global talent can help you gain a competitive edge in the market.

Filling skills gaps

Certain specialized roles or industries may not be immediately available in your local talent. Relocating employees can help bridge these skills gaps. It ensures you have the expertise you need to drive innovation and meet project demands.

Building a stronger company culture

Don’t underestimate the impact of employee relocation on company culture. Often, a strong culture is best built in the office. It’s a place where employees can interact with each other and build relationships.

Improving diversity

In a review of what today’s employees want, a clear commitment to diversity and inclusion comes out very near the top of the list.

Relocating employees from different regions can enhance cultural diversity. This diversity fosters creativity, encourages collaboration, and brings fresh ideas to the table. It also helps you better understand and serve diverse customer bases.

Increased knowledge transfer

Relocating employees can promote the transfer of knowledge and best practices from one location to another. Sharing expertise and insights gained in different markets can improve your operational efficiency. It will also foster a culture of learning.

To relocate or not to relocate? Strategies for smooth employee relocation

The challenges of employee relocation

While there are plenty of upsides, relocation also poses some challenges. You may face the following challenges in employee relocation:

  • Increased expenses: Job relocation can be costly. You need to consider expenses such as relocation packages, housing, transportation, visa, or work permit fees. Also, think about potential tax implications. These extra costs can strain budgets and impact your company’s financial health.
  • Complicated hiring processes: Hiring employees from a distance presents unique challenges. You may need to rely on remote interviews, assessments, and reference checks. Plus, coordinating across time zones and ensuring effective communication can be time-consuming and complex.
  • Adapting to new cultures: Employees relocating to a new region may find it hard to adapt to the local culture and language. This adjustment period can hurt productivity and employee satisfaction.
  • Managing expectations: Relocating employees often comes with different benefit packages and work arrangements. Managing employee relocation includes explaining and implementing these diverse employment terms. And ensuring fairness and consistency across the workforce.
  • Employee retention: Relocation can be a disruptive experience for employees and their families. Some may face difficulties adjusting to the new environment. And this can lead to decreased job satisfaction and increased turnover.
  • Legal and compliance considerations: Relocation often involves compliance. With immigration laws, tax regulations, or employment legislation in different jurisdictions. Understanding and adhering to these legal requirements can be complex.

Overcoming the challenges: Best practices for employee relocation

Managing employee relocation might seem overwhelming at this point. But with a little planning and the right strategies, you can clear these hurdles. You’ll ensure a smooth transition into the new work environment and reap all the benefits of employee relocation.

Here are some strategies to consider:

1. Reduce expenses with the right partnerships and tools

To reduce the financial burden of relocation for work, consider cost-saving measures and incentives. For example, partner with relocation service providers. They can help negotiate competitive rates for housing, transportation, and other relocation services.

You should also establish a clear relocation policy. Make sure it outlines eligible expenses and reimbursement guidelines. This will provide transparency to help incoming employees manage costs effectively. And it will help you establish and maintain internal budgets.

For example, consider DPR Construction. The construction company was getting overwhelmed handling employee relocations one at a time. They switched to using a relocation software service to help them track and manage all their relocations.

The solution allowed them to establish standard guidelines, which cut down on costs caused by one-off decisions. It also saved on costs to HR employees’ time by streamlining the process.

2. Harness video (and open communication) to simplify hiring

Hiring employees who need relocation often means a remote recruiting process. To streamline it, focus on using technology and improving communication channels.

Video interviews and online assessments can bridge the distance. All while still allowing for a thorough evaluation of candidates.

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Schedule interviews that accommodate different time zones. And provide clear instructions for remote assessments. Both will improve efficiency and ensure a fair selection process.

Keep up regular communication with candidates throughout the hiring process. Don’t leave them wondering about next steps and second-guessing their decision. Involve local HR reps or recruitment agencies to help you help navigate local hiring requirements. And to ensure compliance with regulations.

3. Embrace cultural differences

To support employees in adapting to new cultures, provide cultural orientation programs. These might include language training and cultural sensitivity workshops. Or guidance on local customs and practices.

It can also be helpful to assign mentors or buddies to assist in the transition. Helping employees interact with colleagues from diverse backgrounds can foster understanding. It’ll also promote inclusivity.

Encourage social activities and networking events. These will help build connections and support systems in an employee’s new location.

4. Be transparent and organized about goals and processes

To manage expectations, establish clear and transparent communication channels with relocating employees.

Provide information about the benefits package. Share details about work arrangements. And highlight any differences they may encounter in their new location.

Regularly engage in open conversations and address any concerns or questions. These conversations can help build trust and ensure employees have a clear understanding of what to expect.

Give new and relocating employees access to resources such as relocation handbooks, FAQs, and dedicated HR support.

Clarifying expectations up front will empower employees to navigate the changes confidently.

5. Prioritize well-being for relocated employees

Increase employee retention during relocation by focusing on employee well-being and engagement.

This might include offering comprehensive support programs. (Things like spousal and family assistance can help ease the transition.)

Provide access to community networks, social activities, and support groups. Help employees build connections and feel a sense of belonging in their new location.

Regular check-ins, performance discussions, and training and career development opportunities are also important. They show employees your commitment to their long-term success and growth.

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6. Consult legal experts

Compliance with local laws helps you avoid legal complications and financial penalties. You may need help to navigate the legal and compliance challenges of relocating. Consider working with legal experts and HR professionals with expertise in international employment laws and regulations.

These professionals can provide country-specific guidance. They’ll be able to help with things like visa requirements, work permits, tax obligations, and employment contracts.

Establish strong partnerships with immigration consultants and local legal counsel. They’ll help you ensure you have all the necessary documentation. And that you follow the correct procedures.

Customize your employee relocation strategy

As you think about whether to relocate employees, weigh the challenges and benefits above. And then, make an informed decision that aligns with your business objectives.

When you approach your hiring methods with the right strategies, you’ll make sure all your people feel (and are) included, equal, and valued.

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Christina Pavlou - Former Content Marketing Manager

Christina, ex-Content Marketing Manager at Epignosis, focuses on L&D, diversity, and enhancing workplace well-being. Learn how to improve your work environment. More by Christina!

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