Tapping Into The Mind of a Transferring Employee
I’ve been in corporate relocation for 20 years, and yet, I’ve never relocated. I’ve moved – across a few towns, and I’ve consulted customers over the phone for their domestic and international relocations and assignments, but I’ve never relocated myself.
I often visit the homes of people who are relocating, checking to see how things are going. I was onsite this week for 2 moves that were taking place with customers who have each moved many times in their past – so they know the ropes. I sat down and asked them some questions about their experiences, feedback and advice – both for the supplier partners assigned to their moves, as well as advice for people embarking on their first relocation.
These questions surrounded the entire relocation experience – not just the moving piece. Whether you work for Arpin, or if you are one of our agents, clients, customers, or just happened across this blog – I think you’ll find it interesting, what they shared:
BR: What is your very first reaction when you realize you are going to need to relocate for your career, or are tapped on the shoulder and offered relocation?
Customer #1: I’ve done this many times, and I like to know the end game so I can create a timeline – both for myself, and to relay to everyone involved that will be assisting us. Then I work backwards from that deadline.
Customer #2: Many things immediately come to mind: Is it a desired city? Does it meet my personal goals? In my 20s, the atmosphere of a city being young and fun was important. In my 30s, that was important, but so was the importance of being able to meet people, as well as the advancement of my career was in focus. In my 40s, it’s about family and their needs: Will my spouse and child thrive there? Are there good hospitals and access to great doctors there? What are the schools and lifestyle there, and would I want to raise my child in that atmosphere. Equally as important – is my employer as loyal to me, as I am to them – especially now that a family is being affected by this decision? That’s important.
BR: What advice would you give – to either the many vendor partners who are hired by your company to assist you with your move?
Customer #1: Keep in mind how many of you we are in contact with – even when there is one person managing the process, we meet and talk to many people – realtors, moving crew, mortgage and title people. So keeping redundancies of core questions about our situation, disclosure we’re to sign, etc and paperwork to a minimum would be helpful. Anytime we are provided a checklist and instructions in print that is appreciated.
Customer #2: Understand that – like you – we get many emails per day – and now we’re getting many more just related to the move – many of which are not just status updates and requests for action, but they are guides and checklists, and we don’t always have time to read them all the way through, so it would be helpful if very key helpful tools were spotlighted as such and told in person “this will really help you – make sure to read this”. Additionally, in any situation where you can send someone out to walk through things helps us prepare (i.e. for the movers – to come a day before and talk about the process of the day, what they should have ready, what is normal relative to lunch for the crew or tipping).
BR: What advice would you give to another employee who is about to embark on their first relocation?
- Have your spouse or partner there the days before, and/or the days of the pack, to help you make decisions on things you’re not sure what to do with…..and same with the new home move-in. Weighing what to do with things can waste precious time.
- Go through the house 3 times prior to the move – once about 3 weeks before the movers get there – get rid of the big things you don’t think you will want or use in the new location/donate clothes, etc. Then the week before the move, go through everything again and really get rid of things – junk drawer items, garage, etc. Then the day before the movers get there – to make sure everything is ready for the guys to see, touch and pack up.
- Keep open one last box for all the last minute things you may fine, or need to use up until the end
- Keep a roll of paper towels and a knife handy – inevitably you’ll need them when everything else is packed up.
- Keep in mind that although you have accepted the move and are excited for a new adventure, remember that those friends and family who you are leaving, often felt “left behind”, so do what you can to make them feel comfortable.
- If you already found/bought a new place – try your best to get the measurements of each room, so that you know if your furniture will even fit in the new location. You may not want to bring it if it won’t fit – no point in shipping it if it won’t fit, or doesn’t go with your new dimensions and theme.
- If your company does not cover a cleaning service after everything is moved out – get one yourself….don’t stress yourself out by doing it yourself.
- Unpack as fast as you can – don’t let the items sit in boxes until you feel you “can get to it”. You’ll never get to it.
- Say “yes” in the new location as often as you can, and be active in your community. That way you’ll meet your new friends quicker. Be outside if you can, be friendly, etc. If someone asks you to dinner as the new person – take them up on it. People with kids and dogs have an advantage – walking outside and school is a great place to meet people.
- Hire a sitter if you have a young child(ren). Even if they stay onsite with you for the day – just know that you’re going to have to do miscellaneous things all day, make decisions, and have focus. It’s easier to just have the young kids taken care of.
- If you have older children – set something up for them to do – send them to a friend’s house, game, movie or an amusement park – something with a friend for the day so they are not bored or in the way.
- Don’t stress about the logistics of things – the company and the process will help you with that.
BR: What is a final general statement you’d like to make to anyone reading this blog?:
Customer #1: It’s a lot of work, but know that it’s not that scary. Just take the leap, acclimate not only to the idea, but when you get to the new location. It’s an adventure and it’s about your attitude.
Customer #2: Know that relocation is a risk, but it also brings new opportunities: Professional opportunities as well as opportunities for your family. Weigh all the options out but don’t be afraid to push forward.
What’s important about these sentiments, in every area of their answers, and in each move situation, is to know that there is a lot of psychological forethought that goes into our customer’s move, prior to them having any contact with any relocation management companies, realtors, movers, you name it. Being empathic in our jobs is key. Relocation is listed as one of the top stressors in a person’s life, but if we work together and look at it smartly, we can make the employee have as smooth an “adventure” as possible!
Submitted by Bridget Ritchie, Executive Director of Business Development, Arpin Group, Inc.