Group Moves: Key Considerations and Best Practices
Group moves are a unique occurrence in global mobility. Whether for a headquarters move, a recent merger or acquisition, or due to a consolidation, moving a large population of key talent is a far different endeavor than moving one person at a time.
Recently, Cartus met with clients who have experienced a group move in their organizations to identify key learnings which may help peer companies. The following are some of the areas that need to be considered and how to address them:
- Open and transparent communication will help employees develop trust in the organization, especially if they do not initially want to relocate.
- Planning in advance of the group move announcement date will let you determine the cadence of communications and tools required once the impacted population becomes aware of the move. Advance planning also ensures your leadership team is viewed as consistent and in control of the project.
- Even with prior group move experience, it is important to recognize that the circumstances and employees will be unique each time. Survey your prospective assignee population to understand what they need, so a robust plan can be put into place to address concerns.
- Offer short, bite-sized videos covering different aspects of the move, e.g. household goods, timelines, etc. Short videos are easily digestible and allow people to access the information they want instead of having to watch a longer version covering all topics.
- Provide a website about living and working in the destination and focus heavily on education and housing, as these two areas typically raise the most questions for employees.
- If moving to a higher cost of living area, tackle this topic upfront and explain how the company will support its employees. Many employees will look to the internet and find misleading data, so it is critical to be ready to address this topic with clear and factual information.
Family and Inclusivity
When moving a group with spouses/partners and children it is important to address the entire family and their needs. In addition to a group move website, the following support may be highly valued by your employees and their family members:
- Often in a group move, many employees have working spouses, and their income is critical to the well-being of the family. Consider offering spouse career and networking assistance as workshops or webinars.
- Develop a Facebook page devoted solely to the spouses/partners where they can go to find out about topics such as how to obtain a driving license, where the best international markets are located, and how to select a doctor.
- For younger talent, consider using a platform like Yammer to help them find a suitable roommate.
- Host a networking event intended for families to meet each other. Enlist employees and family members who have already relocated to the area to share experiences and recommendations on how to settle into the new location.
Departure Location Awareness and Sensitivity
Large group moves have the potential to impact the departure area. It is important for your leadership team to meet with local officials and to carefully craft a message to share with the local community (often vis local press outlets). Use of a public relations firm or an internal marketing team is advised.
Departure concerns may include the following:
- Will the real estate market be negatively impacted by a large group of people selling at once? If so, consider moving people over a longer period of time so the market can absorb and rebound from the higher-than-usual sales.
- In a highly active real estate market, like the current U.S. one, make sure to stay abreast of current trends and consider making exceptions as needed. For instance, extend temporary living if it takes longer to find or close on a property in the destination.
One of the most valuable learnings for Cartus clients who have experienced group moves is the need to be flexible. Having a strong plan in place to help educate employees about the destination is key to achieving the retention rate the organization expects, but flexibility demonstrates to the impacted employees that you are willing to support their own specific needs.
For more on group moves read our white paper, Reimagining Employee Retention Post-Pandemic: Group Moves in a New Climate.