Moving your business to another state or country is complex and there are various things you need to take into consideration like legal aspects, taxes, and employee relocation, among many other things. In fact, one of the most common issues associated with moving a business out of state is retaining a company’s top talent. Even if you offer relocation services for employees and their families, not all of them will be as willing to move. Meaning, you risk losing some talented people.
Employee Relocation: Key Steps
Employee relocation encompasses everything a company needs to cover to move an employee from one state to another, while some companies cover only work-related expenses, others go the extra mile by providing assistance with housing, education, and other commodities.
Moving your business out of state can cost your company top talent. Likewise, a negative relocation experience could also mean that those willing to move no longer want to stay. The key steps and elements that should be included in the employee relocation process include:
- The cost of moving
- Storage and transportation of goods and furniture
- Temporary housing
- Travel costs for the employee and their family
- Aid with house hunting
- Aid with selling a previous home or breaking a lease.
Aside from this, there are many other benefits a company can offer employees to make relocation more attractive and less stressful. Additionally, any successful relocation process requires open, clear communication with all employees. It also requires that companies understand that each employee will have different needs. Some will have a spouse and kids, others will have a pet, others will have loved ones they take care or, etc.
Attracting and Retaining Top Talent
Talent attraction and retention is the number one challenge many businesses face. While in the past people needed to be in a specific place at a given time in order to get the job done, this is no longer the case. Technology has empowered professionals to work from anywhere and at different times; this is especially true for knowledge workers.
With this in mind, companies can leverage technology in order to retain talent when individuals aren’t willing to relocate with the company. Technology has given rise to a remote workforce and with it to remote and virtual companies.
With video conferencing platforms, messaging apps, and a plethora of other emerging technologies, going into the office is no longer needed. A reliable internet connection, a smartphone, and a laptop can be all an employee needs to successfully complete tasks and responsibilities.
There are other benefits that make running a virtual office an attractive option:
- First of all, they are inexpensive to set up
- Virtual companies are asset-light
- Also, they are easier to scale
- Additionally, they provide employees with more flexibility and freedom
- They represent significant cost savings. By allowing employees to work virtually, companies can save on real estate, utility bills, transportation benefits, in-house amenities like coffee and snacks, among others.
Top Challenges of Managing a Virtual Workforce
There are many benefits to managing a remote workforce:
- Workers are more productive
- Workers are happier, therefore more satisfied and loyal to their company
- Companies can access a wider talent pool
- Helps retain top talent
- Remote workforces tend to be more diverse and inclusive.
But there are also some challenges, especially if your company is new to managing remote employees. Some of the most common challenges include:
1. Communication Issues
The most common challenge among remote workers is communication or lack thereof. This is especially the case when a company first adopts remote work policies. When a person works in an office, it’s easy for them to know where and how to reach a coworker. On the other hand, the same cannot be said when there are several remote workers on your team.
Communication is also key for remote team success as lack of it can lead to employees feeling left out, which can negatively impact employee morale and your company culture. Hari Ravichandran says that company culture is more important than the overall strategy of the company.
To overcome this challenge, companies managing a remote workforce should take full advantage of existing technological platforms that facilitate communication. For example, Skype, Slack, Trello, Asana, and Soho. These platforms not only make it easier for employees to communicate, but they are also great project management platforms. They let everyone know which projects people are working on. Internal company platforms can also help communication efforts, especially when communicating company-wide policies, changes, and events.
2. Scheduling Difficulties
This is particularly an issue for companies that have a truly distributed team, with employees in different countries and time zones. Not only can it be challenging to schedule meetings at acceptable hours for all employees, but it can be hard to know at which time everyone is working.
Time zone differences can be easily managed as long as policies and expectations are clearly laid out. This is especially important to have in place for cases in which it might be urgent to respond to an email or message.
To overcome this challenge, companies can consider recording meetings for those who cannot connect at the scheduled time, take notes during meetings, and turn on email and message auto-response for when a message is flagged as important, letting the sender know whom else they could contact that’s within their time zone.
Another strategy companies can implement is simply encouraging employees to check in and out during the work day. Simply ask everyone to drop a note when they will be available and when they won’t be.
3. Company Culture
Culture is something that needs to be actively cultivated and nurtured, and doing it remotely can be challenging. While it may be easier for employees to keep the spirit of your company culture if they used to work in an office, it can be challenging for new hires to feel the sense of your culture. This issue can be further exacerbated when you have a hybrid of in-office staff and remote staff.
To overcome this challenge, companies should promote face to face interactions when possible. There might be a couple of workers located in the same area and companies can host yearly company retreats. Another useful strategy is to send new hires some company swag — t-shirts, pens, you can send a welcome kit, send them some of your company products, etc.
Just because your company is moving shouldn’t mean you should lose your top talent. Usually, employee relocation services can go a long way in encouraging some professionals to jump at a new opportunity. There are others who won’t for several reasons. For example, their family is well incorporated into a community, or their spouse has a good job they don’t want to leave. Similarly, they aren’t able to relocate because they need to take care of loved ones, or they don’t like moving for the social and emotional challenges it poses…the list is endless.
To attract and retain top talent even when you move your company to a new location, consider running a virtual office. It’s cost effective, it empowers your staff, and it can build company satisfaction.
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