A company’s employees are arguably its most crucial resource. In order to ensure a successful relocation, a company must make efforts to keep its staff ‘on side’ throughout the whole process, from the initial planning stage to the completion of the move.
Ensuring that staff is informed about the company’s relocation plans is the first important step. If employees are not kept in the picture then the rumour mill will grind into action, with all kinds of gossip, speculation and half truths causing uncertainty and possible disruption to the business. If several possible relocation options are being considered, consulting staff about their preferences can be a useful exercise and could increase the number of staff who would be willing to relocate.
Staff will naturally want to know whether they will have to move house if the business relocates. Even relocating a business by only a few miles from its original premises might have serious implications for some employees. This is particularly true if staff use public transport for their journeys between home and the workplace.
If staff will need to move house in order to retain their jobs, the company should offer some kind of relocation package if they are serious about retaining key employees. Staff will have genuine concerns about how a move would affect both themselves and other members of their household.
They are certain to have questions going beyond the basics of the business relocation:
What kind of property would they, personally, be able to afford?
Are house prices higher or lower in the new area?
Would other members of the household be able to find equivalent new jobs?
Are suitable schools available for their children?
Are shopping and leisure facilities as good, or better, than in their current neighbourhood?
For the continuing good of the company, the manner in which redundancies are handled for staff unable or unwilling to relocate can affect the attitudes of those people who continue to work for the enterprise. If staff consider that their former colleagues have received fair treatment from the company, then attitudes to the company and its continuing development are likely to prove far more positive.
Staff should be kept informed from the outset about relocation plans;
Individual concerns need to be addressed about the effects of relocation;
Availability of a comprehensive relocation package will encourage many employees to consider relocation;
Redundancies resulting from relocation need to be handled sensitively.