Are you fracking kidding me? I have to move where?
“We’d like you to head up a new office in [insert city here].” This can be a challenging conversation starter for many HR pros, who know people hesitate to leave their comfort zones, even for a promotion.
Before you address relocation with your employees, build the pros and cons list about the new area yourself to get in front of potential obstacles. Start by answering these three questions:
1. Are there any hazards in the area?
Does the area have any natural risks, such tornado zones or hurricane seasons? Consider also man-made environmental factors, like hydraulic fracking. Unfamiliar environments and concerns about the unknown can overshadow the potential benefits in your relocation offer. Be prepared to help identify and overcome barriers that keep individuals from accepting the move – before they turn it down.
2. What do the crime rates say about the community?
No one wants to live in a high-crime area, but just because an area has transgressions doesn’t mean it isn’t a safe place to live. The long-term stability for a neighborhood and future development of a particular location may play a large role in future crime rates, as well as other variables being considered in a move like education systems.
Make sure your employees feel safe in the new location. Gauge unique location characteristics like growth and safety statistics and their influence on your employee’s willingness to move. Then utilize professional research to find solutions that eliminate preconceived notions about a location.
3. Is there easy accessibility to city life?
The explosive growth of small cities surrounding metropolitan areas has made it more difficult for outsiders to recognize the proximity to their favorite interests. If your employee craves constant cultural stimulation — concerts, sports games, plays, shopping — make sure the community provides adequate accessibility. With rising gas prices, public transportation options like light rails or trains could be a deciding factor when evaluating a potential move.
Ultimately, accepting a job in a new city is an intensely personal decision. Evaluate your employee’s current lifestyle and identify aspects they value most which may be affected by a move. Address these and offer an alternative outside perspective from a relocation coach to help empower each candidate to make an informed decision that best meets their goals.
Your employees and their families will have more questions in the course of the move than how to simply get the boxes from here to there. Enable candidates to fill their knowledge gaps about the destination and be better prepared to make the right decision.
Remember, there is a significant investment required to relocate talent, and a resulting value in retaining employees to protect that investment. By providing the support needed to ease the transition, a company does more than gain immediate productivity return, they foster long-term employee retention.