HRO Today March 2016 - 30

Relocation
A caveat for employers is not to assume that the cultural
acclimation will be easy in regions where the language
is the same as the employee's country of origin. " A
big mistake is to skip cultural training when American
families take assignments in Ireland, the U.K., or in other
geographic locations where English is commonly spoken, "
O'Shea says.
Another mistake is to treat a new hire right out of college
the same as one with 20 years experience. Young people
have little experience navigating the shoals of the banking
and real estate markets, McCain from Paragon points out.
" They've lived in a rental with two roommates in college
paying cash for everything, " he says.
Many college graduates may not have credit cards and
are likely to be low on money. " You can't expect them to
wait for $5,000 to pay the moving company-that's a big
deal, " says McCain. " You need to ensure their financial
concerns are alleviated, but you won't know what [the
concerns] are unless you ask them. "
Not all college graduates fit this paradigm from a
relocation standpoint. " Some young people are great
at doing stuff on their own, and for them it is really
difficult to relinquish control; others are used to having
things done for them their whole lives and may lack the
maturity to make important life decisions, " says Freeman
from MoveCenter. " We work hard to understand these
differences. "
Older transferees, on the other hand, have other
concerns. Often they are anxious about selling the
family's current residence, particularly if the real estate
market has suffered and the home's value is less than
what they initially paid. " There are ways to work through
these issues if you attentively listen to them first, "
McCain says.
Freeman agrees. " Sometimes this is just a matter of the
employer anteing up more money, " she says. " In other
cases, you can work with the client to reformulate the
budget to address the new hire's financial situation.
Instead of 30 days of corporate housing, maybe two
weeks will be fine, [and] the money saved [can be]
shifted to something more important for that person. We
work with the client to be creative in how the employee's
needs are addressed. "
She cites the recent example of a new hire that was flat
broke and up to his ears in student loans, which the
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HRO TODAY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2016
firm learned about during the pre-hiring consultation.
" We didn't want to embarrass him by pointing it out
to the employer, which had set up payroll to reimburse
employees for some of their relocation expenses, "
Freeman says. " One of our owners actually deposited
money to the transferee's personal bank account up front
of the move. When the receipts came in, we sent them
over to the employer, which then reimbursed us. "
The other relocation management firms also are
empathetic when it comes to the emotions that are
involved in a new hire's relocation. For example, the
international assignment managers at MSI are all expatriates.
" They understand the emotional highs and lows
because they've all been there themselves, " Rabasca says.
Without this high level of care for the transferee,
the relocation experience can devolve into employee
disengagement and result in unproductive behaviors.
" This is all about peace of mind, " says Rabasca. " Whether
you're going on assignment overseas or to Pittsburgh,
you want to know what to expect and how to prepare.
You want to know your family will be safe, the kids will
be enrolled at fine schools, and the spouse will be happy
in a new job. You also want to know that your own
career will thrive-that the difficult decision to relocate
will be worth it in the long run. "
The best means of acquiring this assurance is to hire a
relocation management firm with a culture of empathy
that extends throughout its supplier network. This is
the case at Graebel. " Each partner must have the same
dedication and heightened interest of care and attention
to the family's unique needs, " says Valdez.
O'Shea echoes the statement and notes how the firm
rates success. " [We've done our job well] if a relocating
new employee, when asked a year afterwards whether if
he or she would move again or recommend it to someone
else, answers, `I'd definitely do it again and recommend
you do it,' " he says. " You only earn these votes of
confidence by making sure to listen for signs of avoidable
strife and removing the obstacles. "
Once removed, the relocation is a bon voyage for all.
Russ Banham is a Pulitzer-nominated business journalist and author
of more than two dozen books, including his newest, " Higher: 100
Years of Boeing. "

HRO Today March 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HRO Today March 2016

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