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Five Steps for Successfully Relocating Employees

As the globalised economy starts to reorientate itself after the trials and tribulations of the last few years, many businesses around the world are looking to reorganise their operations. This applies both to the size and structure of the workforce, as well as the geographical locations in which they operate.

Whether it’s individual members of a team, entire departments or the full workforce, businesses are increasingly considering relocation as an option to help them adapt to the new economic realities.

However, relocating staff can be a complex and time consuming process, fraught with challenges.  Fortunately, there are a significant number of well established global relocation companies offering this service who can streamline the process and help to and manage your employees before, during and after any move. 

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The five steps a company needs to take when relocating staff

In any relocation of staff, whether it’s just a select few or the entire workforce, there are a number of key steps that need to be taken in order to make the move as straightforward as possible, so that it has minimal impact on ongoing operations.

Relocating the business 

  1. The first step any management needs to take is to decide which employees are going to be relocated, and why. This will naturally depend on a variety of factors, such as the industry you are in or why the move is being instigated but having a clear picture of who needs to be relocated is essential right from the outset. 
  2. Before any relocation, management needs to undertake extensive research about any new country, and how feasible such a move is. This not only applies to the business or regulatory environment, but also to the standard of living a new location offers. If you are proposing to move to a country with poor amenities or substandard services and infrastructure, for instance, it could mean that current trained, skilled and experienced staff are unwilling to relocate, while hiring new staff and training them could in turn make a relocation economically unviable. Therefore, it is important to assess at the early stages the countries where you are asking staff to migrate from, and where you expect them to relocate to.
  3. It is essential to have a complete understanding of the employment laws, labor regulations, tax regime and other administrative requirements of any country you are planning on relocating staff to. How challenging will it be to ensure compliance, for instance, or to take on local staff, if required? These and other regulatory matters need to be fully understood and accounted for if a move to a new jurisdiction is going to comply with local laws while still enabling you to operate at maximum efficiency and profitability.
  4. Although you may have done your research, and think you have a good handle on the employment laws and other factors that will impact on moving employees to a new country, it may benefit you both in terms of time and costs to outsource the process to a relocation specialist. Companies operating in this space have significant on-the-ground experience and thorough knowledge of the laws applying to foreign workers, as well as a range of contacts who can provide advice and guidance if any difficulties arise. Using an external relocation specialist also means you are not tying up your internal HR team so that they have little time for anything else, nor are you having to go to the expense of taking on additional HR staff to oversee the relocation process. 
  5. It is crucial to the success of any relocation process that employees are informed and engaged at every stage. They need to have confidence that the administrative side of the move will be handled smoothly, be sure that they and their families won’t experience any more inconvenience than is absolutely necessary, and that they have ready access to support and are able to have their questions answered. This applies not just to the move, but equally to the initial stages after the relocation, as culture shock and a variety of other factors can contribute to a relocation failing. 

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Relocating the workforce

A large part of the success or otherwise of a relocation (especially when it is just a single employee or a very small team moving) is how smoothly the settling-in process goes, and how well people are able to adapt to their new home and work environment. The best thing an employer can therefore do is to remove as many of the potential headaches as possible in advance, and be on hand to provide support whenever it’s needed.

For instance, setting departure dates as far in advance as possible, and then sticking to them, will be helpful, as it enables relocating staff and their families to plan ahead, giving them time to make financial arrangements, say goodbye to family and friends, and sort out any other issues well in advance.

The biggest anxieties that most people have before relocating is with regard to housing and education for their children. However, this can be alleviated through organizing a Look and See visit in advance of the move, where they can see for themselves the accommodation options, local schools and, if you already have staff in that location, talk to members of the team.

It should also be the case that a suitable permanent residence is made available as soon as possible after the move, as extended periods in a hotel or temporary accommodation can make settling in significantly more difficult, and is one of the primary reasons as to why some relocations fail.

You should also ensure that the administrative issues that come with a relocation are taken care of on behalf of the employee(s) by your HR team or an external relocation agent. Individuals should ideally not be left to take care of sorting out their own work visa or resident permit, for instance, and be supported in setting up banking facilities, arranging tax and other deductions, etc.

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The benefits of hiring a relocation expert

As outlined above, there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into account when planning a relocation, and so a combination of both local knowledge and global experience is essential.

This is why the specialist knowledge of an experienced relocation agent can be invaluable. 

They can help you cut through the red tape associated with visas, and navigate your way through sometimes labyrinthine local employment laws, thereby saving you time, money and headaches.

An experienced relocation specialist will also help you set up and manage global payroll, ensuring you are fully compliant so that tax and other deductions are being made at the appropriate rates. This is an essential component of any relocation, as staff need to know that they are going to be paid properly and on time, and that they won’t have any worries regarding their tax status or other financial obligations.

As the globalised economy starts to reorientate itself after the trials and tribulations of the last few years, many businesses around the world are looking to reorganise their operations. This applies both to the size and structure of the workforce, as well as the geographical locations in which they operate.

Whether it’s individual members of a team, entire departments or the full workforce, businesses are increasingly considering relocation as an option to help them adapt to the new economic realities.

ExpatInfoDesk
Author: ExpatInfoDesk