With so many cities offering exciting and innovative options for small businesses that operate within their borders, some companies choose to create new branches in different communities, or relocate their entire headquarters.
When this happens, or when companies hire employees who come from another state or country, there is often a complex process of employee relocation. Finding new housing, understanding what is tax deductible, and making the right plans to move forward can all be a struggle for employees.
The good news is, employers can help make the process simpler and can help make sure that employees start off their new positions on the right foot. Let’s look at how.
Show Employees The Area
If you are expecting employees to move to an area, it’s very beneficial to allow them time to acclimatize so that they can research before the move occurs. This might include paying for a long weekend or a business trip to the area, where the employee can begin researching neighborhoods, amenities and transportation needs.
If you are relocating many employees, putting together a portfolio of the new area may help employees learn more about what they’re going to be facing. Including information on schools, elderly care facilities, and local amenities can help them start their planning process long before moving day.
Don’t Make the Policies Difficult To Understand
Will the company pay for moving expenses up front? Will employees need to submit receipts for reimbursement? Is that true for some things but not for others? Is there a limit to what will be paid? Will temporary housing be paid in the new location while employees search for a permanent home?
Laying all of these policies out ahead of time helps both companies and employees avoid confusion. It’s very frustrating as an employee to find out that if you’d just described something differently, it could have been paid for or reimbursed, and it’s very frustrating as an employer to have to answer the same questions over and over again. Prepare a simple explanation of what the company policies are, and stick to it. Update it as necessary. It’s very helpful if you can also include information about which expenses are tax deductible and which ones are not.
Help Find Professional and Reputable Moving Companies
One of the biggest stressors of a large move is getting your stuff from one place to another. One huge way that businesses can help their employees move is to do the legwork on finding good, reputable moving companies that will take them from one place to another.
Whether you can find a company that does both corporate and residential moves, or you have different recommendations for personal and business items, giving your employees a few potential names to get things scheduled is a big help.
Help With Immigration Procedures
If your employees are moving into or out of a country, the process of completing immigration paperwork can be challenging. One huge benefit companies can offer to new employees is having an expert on staff who can help them navigate all of the different challenges that arise.
Since immigration law is incredibly complex and any small error can set the process back months, it’s important to handle it as correctly as possible.
By offering employees a specialized resource within the company, or an expert they can consult on the company’s bill, employers show that they want this experience to go smoothly.
Be Clear About Expectations
Will your employees have one week to move before they report to work in the new location? Do you need them there every weekday? Are they going to need to use PTO if they need more time than is standard?
Knowing these answers ahead of time is a big boon to busy companies and harried employees. Deciding on policies and having them written down helps to insure that implementation is fair for all employees, and can also help team leaders give timely answers. Also, if employees know that they need to leave work at the old location on Friday and arrive at the new location on Monday, they will plan differently than if they think they’re getting a week off to take care of moving details.
It is always easier to manage expectations when the details are clearly laid out, and little to nothing is left as “we just thought you’d understand.”
Moving a company from one location to another can be a source of stress that breaks down intra-company trust, or it can be a bonding experience that employees enjoy and look back on with a smile. How the company handles the details will play a large part in determining what employees think about the experience down the road.
James Hawkins is a BusinessTown.com contributor