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An HR Professional’s Guide to Handling Office Relocations

December 13, 2018 | Employee Relocation

The phrase “location, location, location” has become a cliché among business owners, but the principle behind this real estate theory still remains true. When a business owner chooses a new commercial retail or office space to advance the business, the company faces numerous challenges during the process of office relocations.

Many of these difficulties arise purely from the physical transition between locations, such as scheduling business closure dates and notifying customers of the address change. For Human Resources professionals, however, the challenges of a corporate move come from the logistics of transferring employees to a new workspace.

How the HR department handles an employee relocation can be critical in the immediate and long-term success in worker retention, productivity, and satisfaction. In this blog, we discuss how HR professionals can optimize the corporate move process and its results.

Consult With a Professional Move Manager

While many of the responsibilities dealt with during corporate relocations do not fall on the HR department, this division of logistical concerns doesn’t mean the HR department won’t need to work with your chosen moving company. In fact, it’s critical that you coordinate with a move manager or concierge about employee-specific concerns.

For example, a move manager may work with the HR department to decide how best to move personal employee belongings to the new location.

Delegate Work Tasks to Members of Your HR Team

A business transition will likely keep you busy for a long period of time before the actual moving day. Because the HR department must evaluate talent retention options and individual employee needs, your workload may increase significantly.

Once you have a basic timeline for the relocation, formulate a plan for the transition and determine how best to delegate tasks to members of your HR team. In our next section, we will outline some of the primary tasks you should include in this division of labor.

Evaluate Your Policies and Relocation Strategies

Consider your relocation as an opportunity to optimize your company workforce and HR policies. As you assemble your team and begin planning, think about what steps your department could implement to improve the way the company functions during the transition and afterward.

Your team should discuss:

  • How you will best communicate about the relocation in a positive, clear way
  • The incentives offered to employees who have not decided if they will remain with the company
  • What, if any, employee training you will provide or mandate, such as foreign language courses for an office abroad
  • What, if any, procedures or policies regarding employee productivity, conduct, or hiring will change after the transition
  • Which employees will receive new job packages, keep their current positions, or be let go

One of the tasks you must delegate to one or more team members is the development of job-offer, incentive, and severance packages. Decide early on if your company will offer benefits such as employer-paid moving expenses, pay raises, site tours, real estate consultations, and legal assistance for breaking current mortgage or lease agreements.

Get Your Employees Involved in the Transition

As an HR professional, you know the value of employee involvement in the success of a company brand and long-term progress. This principle applies more than ever during an employee relocation, when many individuals in your workforce will face difficult family, housing, and income decisions.

In addition to your employee packages, brainstorm ways to work with your employees instead of directing the entire move without their participation. These strategies may include:

  • Contests to choose design elements of the new office
  • A committee to discuss how to best optimize flow in the new floorplan
  • Open opportunities for employees to provide feedback about their concerns

You may also decide to provide specialized opportunities to help employees feel more confident about their role in the transition. For example, you could arrange for flexible work hours to allow employees leaving the company to seek other opportunities and designated networking hours to help employees with new positions bond with coworkers.

As possible, prioritize individual discussions when you present employee packages.

Take Time to Follow Up After the Relocation

In addition to the steps you take during the initial relocation, plan follow-up steps during the adjustment period once everyone is in the office. Encourage employees to provide feedback about the success of the transition.

If feasible, schedule brief meetings to address employee concerns, especially with individuals who accepted positions in different departments or adopted new job titles.

Use the best practices outlined in this guide to ensure that the human element of your company’s corporate move is handled smoothly and successfully. In addition to these fundamentals, implement the recommendations made by your move manager to account for the challenges of your specific employee relocation.

For comprehensive moving services and expert move management to help your employees transition, trust the professionals at Bekins Van Lines.

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