If you're new to the world of relocating, it can be quite a daunting task to undertake. That's why Perchpeek has written an article on how to help plan for the challenges that come along the way when relocating your employees. We will delve into what some of these diffficulties are and hopefully give you some helpful advice in combatting them.
Perchpeek works all over the globe and work with numerous HR teams, in many different industries, to relocate their staff. From working with these teams, we know that the challenges below can have an impact on the success of the relocation and happiness of the employee.
Setting up in a new job in a new city can be a huge growth enabler for employees and companies, but can involve a lot of stress in the early stages.
Are we promising a perfect, stress free transition? No.
However, we are promising that if you put steps and processes in place for your employee, the settling in period will be much smoother. The sooner they settle, the sooner they can begin doing great work for you, which in turn builds staff cohesions, reduces the risk of turnover and helps you construct your happy, settled workforce.
1. Culture Shocks Vs Cultural Changes – What is the difference and how can you help?
There is a big difference between a culture ‘shock’ and culture ‘change’, and we believe the difference is in the preparation.
Cultural differences are what makes travelling exciting. But these differences can also be daunting. In some countries, there are work related culture changes that the employee may need to get used to. For example, the Israeli work week runs from Sunday to Thursday, so citizens are free to observe Shabbat. The Economic Times reported that being 15 minutes late to a meeting in India is still considered on time and in Sweden coffee breaks or ‘fika’ are a serious business. Often scheduled in for 9am and 3pm, Swedish businesses believe fika gives employees the chance to relax and reconnect with their colleagues.
There may also be more general cultural differences. In the United States it is mandatory to tip 20% in restaurants and bars. The wait staff rely on these tips, as their legal wages are much lower than in other countries and industries.
It is extremely important to make sure that new employees are fully aware of all elements of the office culture, from time expected at the work location to the hours spent in more social aspects with the team.
It is worth collating these differences and changes in a document for the employee. If they have this information easily accessible, they will face less of a shock and more a simple change.
2. Life admin, work admin, travel admin…every kind of admin
Let us not to ignore the fact that with relocation comes admin. However, there are ways you can prepare for this pre-relocation.
○ Bank account – it is unlikely your employee will be able to set one up pre-arrival. Yet, it is worth researching the best/most widely used banks in their new destination. Knowing which banks are easily accessible will take one ‘stress’ away from your employee
○ Mobile phone/contract – luckily, we are in an age of WiFi. Most restaurants, cafes, hotels will have WiFi but employees will need to get a phone number and sim card for their relocation. Again, it is unlikely they will be able to do this pre-arrival. However, like the bank account, research around the best phone service/company to go with will be appreciated. For example, the most widely used carrier in the USA is AT&T. In the Netherlands, it is Vodaphone or KPN. A great tip with the Netherlands is that they have a provider set up especially for Expats, Expat Mobile. You do not need a bank account and they ship the sim cards internationally. https://expatmobile.nl .
*TOP TIP - Do not forget to tell your employee that prior to moving they must get their phone unlocked
○ Visas – it is important you check that whether your employee will need a visa for their relocation and what type of visa. It is more than likely; they will need the countries ‘working visa’. Most countries will have a similar website, with this information, as the UK. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration
3. Finding their ‘Perch’ and the steps it requires
When relocating, a home is important. Relocating to the right home means less time in temporary accommodation and the quicker the process, the less uprooted they may feel. Resulting in a more efficient and productive member of staff.
The new “Perch” or home in a new city - this can be a wonderful or a daunting process, depending on the employee and the support they are given.
The challenge is in finding one commutable to their new office, or with COVID19 in mind; a good space for home working and somewhere that is safe. All while they’re starting a brand new job! Every move is individual but, from our experience a good move will have the following steps. Personalise the move – what does your employee want out of their new location? Discover the neighbourhoods and locations that match the employees’ style. Organise the viewings and then finally the
Finally, getting the right home and the speed in which this can happen is paramount. This is where Perchpeek can help. Our Al-powered app gives the employee a greater ownership and visibility of their property search, plus the app gives the employee results based on their individual needs. Finally, Al reduces costs massively for the business as it eliminates human search time, from what previously was manually cumbersome.
Learn more about Perchpeek here.
With regards to family, there can be several ways the relocation can affect your employee. A key one is schooling if they have children. It is worth asking the employee what type of education they foresee their child/children to have, then looking into whether there is a comparative in their new location or what types of schools exist there. Helping with the initial research will support your employee with that hefty admin burden.
Secondly, are they moving away from family? If so, think about tools that may help them with this change and transition. There are so many brilliant, virtual communication apps.
Ensuring regular catch ups with your new employee to make sure they are making the most of the virtual communication space, sometimes all we need is a gentle push to connect.
Thoroughly supporting your employees through the early stages of homesickness and adapting to a new environment can help them reach top performance faster.
On the flip side, it is worth suggesting for the first few weeks when arriving at their new location, to keep themselves distant from social media. This will hopefully give them more of a chance to settle in and reduce the amount of ‘pining’ for home.
5. Networking and new friends
For some employees, making new friends is an exciting challenge and one they will relish in. However, for others this can be daunting. We believe this naturally fits with number 1 on our list. It is important your employee knows the culture, which, in turn, will help them establish new friendships with ease and care.
Secondly, consider linking them up with an ‘office buddy’, this can help with settling in the office and may open doors to their new location and friendships.
Thirdly, see if there are any groups where people can access like-minded individuals or specific Expat groups. For example, on Facebook, “Aussies in London”, is a space where Australian’s can communicate, arrange meet ups and suggest thrilling ‘tourist’ trips they have given a go.
Taking the next step
Relocation will come with many challenges, both exciting and nerve wracking, but with a little research and help in hand, it all becomes a bit more of an adventure! Using the right tools and a system that works will leave your employee feeling settled, happy, and ready to work hard. Overall, leading to greater staff morale and higher staff retention.
From the Team at Perchpeek, have a great day!
As always, if you are interested in learning about how Perchpeek can transform your relocators’ moving experience, while cutting your bill by up to 50%, feel free to book a call with us here, and we can talk through your next relocation. We love to help!