Guest Blog By Nitzan Yudan, CEO of Benivo
Nitzan is the CEO of Benivo - helping employers of choice make every relocating employee welcome with innovative technology. Clients include Google, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Vodafone, and Hertz.
Most companies limit comprehensive, end-to-end relocation support to senior employees. Entry and mid-level staff usually only receive selective support in a few narrowly defined areas. Outside of these areas, they have to help themselves.
Companies assume that comprehensive support is costly and therefore needs to be limited to senior staff. Luckily, this is not the case.
Our research shows that selective relocation support is a false economy - the financial impact and damage to the employer brand can be significant.
So let’s explore what companies can do to improve their entry and mid-level employees’ mobility experience without breaking the bank.
What our research tells us
Recently, Benivo conducted interviews with 30 IT engineers who relocated to Europe.
They all received selective support: Their employers (all large, well-known companies) took care of short-term accommodation, gave them a salary advance, and provided access to a network of experienced relocaters.
Despite this support, these employees spent up to 89 hours on relocation-related tasks, 69 of which during working hours. At a £80 hourly rate for Engineers, this represents a loss of billed working hours of up to £5.5k per employee. For companies who relocate up to 1,000 employees per year, the damage can run into the millions.
The employer brand impact was also considerable. 70% of the engineers were dissatisfied with their relocation experience. This impacted the employer brand significantly (33% drop in NPS score, a standard measure for employer brand perception)
How can you do comprehensive support on a budget?
1. Create a growing, evolving relocation playbook.
Most companies provide some form of guide on topics such as accommodation search, family matters, various settling-in admin etc.
What few companies do, however, is to create this as an evolving document that anyone can contribute to. Moving from the Encyclopaedia Britannica to the Wikipedia model.
We recommend Google Docs, but SharePoint or Dropbox work as well. Make sure as many people as possible get editing rights and that they are motivated to contribute.
2. Accommodation support
Finding a home is the biggest time drain. Here’s what can make a massive difference for relocating employees:
- Provide a neighbourhood guide - which areas are affordable and have good access to your office?
- Recommend agents you trust (e.g. Those you and colleagues have used personally)
- Inform about market quirks - E.g. In the UK agent fees are affordable compared to Germany. Assume zero prior knowledge. (You can copy existing online resources)
- Get paperwork done in advance. Almost every property market requires proof of employment. Don’t make the employee request this - issue it as a matter of course.
- Nudge the relocating employees towards doing viewings on evenings and weekends, if this is standard practice.
- List standard clauses in a rental contract to minimise questions and surprises.
3. Provide a forum for easy crowdsourcing of solutions
Create a Facebook group, invite past relocators, and ask them to contribute. Invite all the currently relocating employees and encourage them to ask questions there.
In the early days, ensure there is enough engagement. When someone asks a question that doesn’t get answered, step in and try to find the answer yourself. Or encourage others who might know.
On a regular basis, regularly distill the lessons learned in the group and add them into the playbook.
4. Provide a named point of contact
This should go without saying, but many companies fail to provide it.
The employee should have one person to speak to.
He/She doesn’t need to solve everything but at least point the relocating employee in the right direction.
There is a unifying theme in the above advice: Show that you care.
A relocation is a unique opportunity to grow your employer brand. The employee will remember it if you were there for them in a time of stress. As Maya Angelou said, people will forget what you said and what you did - but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Don’t make your employees feel unsupported in their time of need. You will lose money and goodwill, and they will remember.
If you want to learn more about the studies we conducted and the methodology used, contact me on LinkedIn
Thank you to the London Business School community who contributed to our research.
Download our eBook “The Art and Science of an Outstanding Welcome”