Are we including everyone in the relocation process?

Where has the time gone? It seems like 1995 was just a few years ago when I started in the relocation business, and here I am now celebrating 25 years helping clients relocate their most important assets – their people. What a journey it has been.

In my current role, I spend a considerable amount of time in the field seeing customers (our transferees) for our valued clients – especially during summer peak season. In fact, over the last 5 years I average about 150 – 200 surveys annually. This is a time to help the transferee with preplanning, as well as checking on move loading and unloading. This is substantial, but it keeps me close the ground to help our clients understand the transferee and family needs – as well as getting to know our team members and moving crews that make the move happen every day.

There is something I recently thought about after meeting with transferees over the last few weeks. The spouse or employee partner was managing the move 100% of the time. Over the last 10 visits, it was the spouse / partner that I was meeting during the survey or during the loading or delivering. The employee was at work and left the move to the spouse/partner. I have enjoyed some great conversations and learned so much about their challenges and excitement about the road ahead.

Yesterday, I drove away asking myself the question… As HR / Talent Acquistion Leaders, are we including the spouse/family in the relocation process? I am sure most are included especially at the executive level. There are house hunting trips, and other relocation benefits provided for both the candidate and the spouse. However, my thought process was more about the importance of conversation with everyone involved asking questions such as “how does your spouse or children feel about that”, or are there any needs for your spouse or children that we can help with”. I know I may be chasing a rabbit down a trail, but we (everyone involved including relocation providers) need to remember that the relocating employee or candidate is the point person for the relocation, but when the relocation is taking place, the employee is often working leaving the spouse or partner managing the process. We have actually known this for a while because according to many surveys, family reluctance to relocate is one of the biggest reasons for a failed relocation assignment which can be a significant cost for the company.

This leads me to the question, “How can we make sure to include everyone in the relocation conversation?”.

I am not sure that I have any answers or best strategy, but what I do know is that we all need to remember that the spouse/partner is just as important as the candidate relocating.

Creating a great experience starts with understanding the candidate needs… then including the family in the process. It’s true, when you marry someone, you really do marry the entire family.

It’s a great topic to consider as we continue to look for ways to elevate the relocation experience for candidates in the future. If there is something you do to engage everyone in the process, I would enjoy hearing from you. Post your response below or send me a note and let’s help others along the way! 

Quote of the week:Culture is what you permit and promote.” Charlyn Renfrow  

Call to Action:  How do you engage the spouse/family in the relocation process? Share your thoughts in comments, or send to me, and I will share what I learn from others along the way to make relocation a great experience for everyone…

This has been A Relocation Minute on “Are we including everyone in the relocation process ” with Bruce Waller, for more information, call 972-389-5673, or email or check out my social media Facebook and Twitter page. Also, check out to review my leadership book “Find Your Lane” available on amazon.

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