Why employee relocation is a good idea and how to go about it

Why your organisation should start employee relocation now: The evidence…


employee relocation, staff relocation, relocating employees, relocating staff

Why employee relocation is a good idea and how best to relocate employees: New Research

Why companies should be doing employee relocation

There are some very good evidence-based reasons organisations should have an employee relocation system. Among people born around the turn of the century (2000 – ‘Millennials’), one of the major draws to working in a company is the opportunity to work abroad. Prior research has found that relocating staff to different territories improves employee retention.


Until recently the process of staff relocation has been a messy business with organisations often unable to get to grip with the true costs involved, both in terms of the time lost due to relocation by the staff members and in the actual costs involved in making it happen. As a result, there is often no easily gathered and calculated evidence as to the cost benefit of such moves. It has been found that organisations are increasingly deploying dedicated software packages that manage relocations and these have been shown to reduce administration while at the same time providing a better basis for a cost benefit analysis.


Relocation – the evidence

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In a paper published in Strategic HR Review researcher Brynne Herbert found that, “More than 70 percent (of new employees) expect and want to do an overseas assignment during their careers.”


International relocation is an attractive facet of a career at any company, and is good for the company as a whole. The study also found significantly higher rates of organisational loyalty, motivation and engagement among employees who have been relocated abroad:


1.    92%  of international assignees agreed with the goals and objectives of their organisations,

2.    84% would recommend those firms as good places to work and

3.    97% would offer discretionary effort to help their organisations succeed

Employee Relocation Smiling Employee Moving

Employee commitment 

It is all well and good having a happy workforce but businesses are all about their bottom line. The research cited evidence that showed that employees committed to their organisations (organisational commitment and engagement):

  1. Put in 57% more effort on the job and are
  2. 87% less likely to resign than employees who are disengaged and with less organisational commitment.


How to go about it

The three most frequently employed methods of organising employee relocation are:

  1. A lump sum or bursary may be given to the staff member who is given time to organise the move themselves. Where this may be seen as an easy option it costs in terms of productivity while the employee organises the move for themselves and their family, moves and then acclimatises / establishes themselves in the new location.
  2. Use an in-house relocation team. This is often the slowest,  most bureaucratic and costly in terms of internal resources and also, it turns out, the most error prone option.
  3. Use external relocation services. This is often seen as the costliest method.

The paper cites the French bank, Societe Generale,  who reported that “it had had no visibility into its total move costs with its global relocation vendor” until 2015, when it changed its talent mobility system over to a dedicated relocation software package.

Employee Relocation 2


The bank went over to a Software as a Service relocation platform. The paper states, “it automated and centralized relocation processes, reduced the number of required sign-offs during those processes, standardized forms and so minimized errors and improved the tracking of costs.”


The paper continued, “The new system also gave employees online access to a single source of information on their move, their new cities, potential neighbourhoods and schools—all of which are the types of things that help keep employees happy and engaged. Instead of relying on phone and email with multiple contacts, employees have a single source of information.”


Herbert found that transferring relocation processes to a decent software system significantly streamlines the process, reduces costs and errors and centralises financial records. It takes less employee time, and is usually very efficient to run.



Brynne Herbert , (2016), Moving employee talent key to competitive edge. Strategic HR Review, Vol. 15 Iss 2 pp. 65 – 69


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David Wilkinson

David Wilkinson is the Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Review. He is also acknowledged to be one of the world's leading experts in dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty and developing emotional resilience. David teaches and conducts research at a number of universities including the University of Oxford, Medical Sciences Division, Cardiff University, Oxford Brookes University School of Business and many more. He has worked with many organisations as a consultant and executive coach including Schroders, where he coaches and runs their leadership and management programmes, Royal Mail, Aimia, Hyundai, The RAF, The Pentagon, the governments of the UK, US, Saudi, Oman and the Yemen for example. In 2010 he developed the world's first and only model and programme for developing emotional resilience across entire populations and organisations which has since become known as the Fear to Flow model which is the subject of his next book. In 2012 he drove a 1973 VW across six countries in Southern Africa whilst collecting money for charity and conducting on the ground charity work including developing emotional literature in children and orphans in Africa and a number of other activities. He is the author of The Ambiguity Advanatage: What great leaders are great at, published by Palgrave Macmillian. See more: About: About David Wikipedia: David's Wikipedia Page