Even though restrictions on movement are gradually being lifted in parts of the world, talent relocations remain on hold for many companies.
Whatever the world will look like once the pandemic passes, now is a great time to prepare your policies and best practices for relocating your international talent safely.
Even on a good day, moving to a new country is a stressful experience, but there’s plenty you can do to minimize that stress for your talent. To make sure your new hires have a great relocation experience, keep these things in mind.
Karoli Hindriks, CEO of Jobbatical has summarised the emotions connected to the process well “One of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re relocating your new talent in the post-pandemic world is that we’re all just human beings. Be there for your people. Start building that trust from day zero and give them as much psychological safety as you can. At the end of the day, those positive feelings are what will motivate your team to do what you hired them to do.”
Clear, frequent communication and the first contact
Before you hand over all the relevant information to a relocation agency, you would need to make first contact re the process. This means to have a call, where you go over the coming process, information you would require and give talent reassurance that you are there for them if something is unclear. Always follow up with an e-mail with information that talent would need to provide and the process steps, so they can always go back to it.
Regular check-ins with your new employee are also crucial. Now more than ever it’s vital to make sure you are really there for them. Communicate often, manage expectations, and stay honest and transparent as much as you can.
Another good way to start building a solid support network for your new joiners is to put them in contact with another expat in your location. Someone who has completed the same journey in the past can share real experiences and will be able to understand the concerns and feelings unique to the situation.
Free flow of information and possible Look & See
Moving to a new environment means starting many things from scratch, which is a hugely time-consuming task. To ease your new joiners’ transition into your city, compile a comprehensive list of resources and information to share with them, and double that effort if a person is moving with their family.
Like it or not, it is vital to “sell” your colleague (and often their family) on their new home. So to increase the success rate of the relocation, make sure that you pull out all the stops and show the town in its best light. Whether it is the culture, shops, restaurants, opportunities or anything else, you want them to want to live there.
For example, your information package should include:
- Basic information about the location (climate, some cultural and historical background, etc.)
- What to do in an emergency
- How to access medical care
- Potential neighborhoods to live (Pro tip: Pick the temporary accommodation’s location and quality carefully to maximise first impressions)
- Leisure activities
- Public transport options
- Childcare and schooling options
- And the list goes on...
If possible the best option is for the candidate to come here prior to the move (some companies have at least one of the interviews onsite, so can use this time for that) to meet people, get aquitent with neighbourhoods and facilities around their future “new” home. Short term rentals in cool neighborhoods are a good solution and it gives you feel of home and a “deep dive” into the community.
In our current ‘new normal’ situation, it is highly important to track government guidelines and make sure your expats have access to crucial information in a language they can understand. Keep them updated on changes to policies, share links to local news in English, and provide additional context where necessary.
It’s common practice to cover your new hire’s cost of staying in a new location for 4-5 weeks.
Instead of hotels, opt for fully equipped apartments. Home-meets-hotel hybrids like Bob W are practically made for this kind of needs, as home-like accommodation is an optimal way to feel like part of the neighbourhood and local community. The concept includes apartments with hotel-like features, hand-picked neighbourhoods and interiors created by the coolest local designers and artists.
Bob W is more like a concept that happens to have great deals with surrounding gyms, breakfast cafeterias and other local services that make your candidate’s stay super pleasant.
Once your new hire is ready to find long-term accommodation, support them in navigating the local real estate market. This can be daunting and difficult for expats, and local help can make all the difference.
Immigration requires a wealth of specialised knowledge, so consider working with a relocation and immigration company to make sure your talent has a smooth transition to their new home country. A company like Jobbatical will provide excellent support for your new recruit. Among many other things, they also focus on a person’s social integration by introducing local areas and other expats.
Without expert support, the immigration process can be painful for both you and your talent. This is particularly true today: In the immediate aftermath of COVID-19, guidelines and processes are changing rapidly. To save time and effort on getting your talent to you safely and as smoothly as possible, a relocation partner is a smart choice.
To increase your new hire’s confidence level, go over their options in case their employment or some part of the relocation doesn’t work out. An employee who feels secure in their position is much more likely to be engaged and motivated from day one.
Your people are your superpower and wealth. Making sure your talent feels supported is the basis for building sustainable employee engagement and retention. Getting comfortable in their new surroundings is essential to feeling safe in a new unknown location.
Anna Mailanchi, People Operations Director at Bob W and author of this post, has assisted relocation of more than 100 people in the recent years, says “Most important is to be compassionate in these turbulent times and think from talent’s perspective, how would I like to be treated in this situation. There are 3 main things to base your decisions on when going through this process with someone - empathy, community or feeling of belonging and talent’s comfort”