What does your relocation benefits program say about your company culture? To a new hire or a relocating employee, your benefits program can leave a big impression - positive or negative - about your company, what it stands for and how employees are valued.
First impressions mean a lot. They go a long way toward formulating an opinion about a person, company, product, etc. And first impressions are hard, if not impossible, to change once they are established. That's why it is essential for a company to create a first impression that accurately reflects its culture. Everything should be on the table with no hidden agendas. This is particularly applicable when it comes to a company's relocation program involving new hires or an existing employee requiring a transfer.
First Things First – What Is a Company’s Culture?
Depending on the circumstances, you may hear the term corporate culture substituted for company culture. A company’s “culture” is, more or less, their personality. The environment in which an employee works is defined by a company's culture. It can refer to the behaviors and beliefs that determine how businesses, management, and employees interact and how they handle numerous types of business transactions. But this kind of environment can develop and evolve over time, rather than being strictly defined.
That said, any number of elements are typically involved in the culture of a company. These can include the following:
- Number and diversity of employees
- Company mission
- Working environment/conditions
Added to that list, because it has become an area of genuine concern among today's workforce, is the relocation (mobility) program offered by a company.
How Does Corporate Culture Impact your Mobility Program?
When a company develops a relocation program or policy (some mobility professionals object to the use of the word “policy” here – they feel it denotes rules and regulations rather than a helpful method of assistance), many aspects should be considered. Here are some areas of potential concern:
- The employee’s well-being – a company that cares about the welfare of their employee (not just on the job but in general), should extend that concern to their relocation program. By offering a package that is more supportive and inclusive, they help simplify the transition of the new hire and their family to their new home, city, state, etc.
- Businesses that value self-sufficiency – if a company values self-starters and go-getters, they may wish to put together a program that gives employees choices, such as a cafeteria plan (like our Coreflex program).
- Your company's hierarchy – if your organization is highly stratified, you may consider a tiered program. Such programs typically offer a relocation plan with more benefits for higher-level and executive level employees, and a slightly more limited plan for mid and entry level employees.
- Businesses that are more cost focused - these organizations may offer a “lump sum” or reimbursement plan, although such programs may sacrifice employee experience.
Keep in mind, however, that new hires will have their first real taste of your company culture through their relocation experience. If this person feels slighted, your relationship with them is already starting off on the wrong foot.
Ideally, when you design your relocation program, you should factor in your company culture, internal considerations, and budget. Consider comparing your relo plan with other similar businesses and industry benchmarks. These factors will help you align your plan with your employees’ everyday life experiences, the work environment, and your business needs.
Corporate Relocation Programs and New Hires
Particularly for just-hired employees needing to move, your relocation program can make a huge difference in the long-run success of that new hire. A new employee’s moving/relocation experience will be their first real involvement with you and will have a significant effect on their opinion of the company. Be sure to practice transparency and have everything spelled out in an employee handbook. You want to avoid giving the new hire a feeling that they’ve been lied to or tricked by something that got “left out” of the conversation.
Companies invest time, money, and effort to make sure that their company values and recruiting programs align. But by neglecting to put the same care into a relocation program, the company will be in danger of sacrificing all the energy put toward other essential areas. Moving and starting a new job are two of life's most stressful experiences. An unpleasant relocating encounter could well create doubt on the part of the employee as to how your company fulfills its promises. It can potentially impact their initial performance in their new position as well as retention of that employee.
Are You Stressing Out Your New Employee?
In most cases, an employee is already experiencing a high level of stress simply at the prospect of starting a new job. Why would you, as their new employer, burden them with organizing their move on top of that? Is it easier for a company to just hand the new employee a check, leaving them to make all the moving arrangements? Of course. But, truth be told, most individuals have little to no experience in detail-handling when it comes to corporate moves. By forcing your new employee to play all of the roles required for corporate relocation, you are putting them at a serious disadvantage before they even begin their journey with your organization.
Besides making the relocation process easier for your employee, offering a more structured relocation program can potentially save your company money on two fronts:
- Defining what moving-related costs your company will cover during the relocation, and the maximum amount for each covered item, helps to ensure you aren’t paying too much while providing a quality mobility experience for employees.
- It will save the potential cost of replacing an employee that has a bad relocation experience.
A company that aligns its culture with its relocation program ensures the delivery of any assurances made during the process of recruiting a valuable new hire. Additionally, it reinforces to the new employee that there are no hidden meanings or secret agendas when it comes to the company they now work for, potentially building trust between employee and employer. Based on what is - and isn’t - provided in your relocation program, is your company inadvertently sending a negative message to potential employees regarding your relocation policy?
If you would like to see how northAmerican® Moving Services can help you develop a relocation plan to fit your needs, contact us today.
Stay up-to-date on relocation policies and so much more by subscribing to our Moving & Relocation Industry News emails.