There is no question that adding in a relocation makes recruiting for a role much more complex. It is indisputably easier to find local talent when filling a position. However, attempting to recruit the very best executive talent often requires extending the search beyond a specific geographic region…
We have seen countless deals fall apart over the years because companies tried to save some money on relocation costs, and end up alienating the candidate or even worse the spouse, which never ends well.
In this article, we will share 8 helpful tips on how to effectively negotiate professional relocations.
Understanding and Acknowledging Employee Concerns
Getting employees to agree to relocate for a job requires that you first understand the most frequent reasons that people give for declining such opportunities in the first place. Common objections for relocation’s include:
1) Family Concerns
Moving away from one’s family and friends is a major decision that puts candidates in a precarious spot. The situation becomes far more complex if they have a spouse that works as well as children because then they have to consider factors such as job opportunities for the partner, quality of education for the kids as well as safety considerations, standard of life, amenities, and more. It is not unusual for executives to ask for a move to be delayed until the end of their children’s school year.
Job relocations are considered as stressful as a divorce; add that to the pressure of beginning a new job and you face a serious hurdle in convincing your candidate. As experienced executive recruiters, we always make a point of touching base with the spouse to make sure that he or she is truly on-board with the plan. You would be amazed how many times we have reached out, only to find out that the candidate’s partner has no idea of the plan to relocate and when queried, the candidate then confesses that they had been putting off having that crucial discussion with their significant other, which of course only makes things more difficult.
3) Loss of Support Systems
Occasionally, the incentive of an increased salary or advancement in one’s career isn’t enough to help employees and their families deal with feelings of isolation, loss of support systems and the challenges of adapting to a different city.
While one spouse may place great weight on additional income, the other partner may place more significance on being closer to parents, siblings, etc. Having the opportunity to relocate opens all kinds of topics for discussion that perhaps were not ever previously discussed.
One partner can place the loss of support from parents and extended family at a far greater value than the partner that is more career-focused. When there are health issues involved, leaving a trusted medical adviser also factors in.
4) Strategies to Effectively Negotiate a Job Relocation
The first step towards convincing an employee to relocate involves understanding and acknowledging their concerns. You can increase the probability of having them agree with the relocation plans by offering enticing and attractive options, some of which may include:
- Acknowledge that negotiating dollars when it comes to moving costs carries much more emotional weight than any other monetary things you will negotiate.
We have lost more deals over this issue when it comes to moving costs and it is truly a travesty because there is honestly no reason for it.
- If a company wants a candidate and is willing to pay for relocating, they should simply agree to pay the moving company directly.
- Have the candidate get 3 quotes and pay the lowest one, providing they have a good reputation and the candidate is comfortable with them moving their belongings.
- This also prevents the candidate from having to pay taxes on the money. The cost to the company is the same as having to pay the candidate and the candidate paying the movers.
If the company is uncomfortable with the cost of the move, talk with the movers, but not the candidate.
When a company is trying to negotiate what they will pay in terms of moving costs, all kinds of negative connotations come into play that is not part of the equation in any other component of negotiations….spouses feel that the company does not care about them as a family, etc.
- *****Bottom line….pay the movers directly, and do not haggle over moving costs with the employee. *****
5) Extend Comprehensive Support
Start off by alleviating the most common fears and concerns linked with relocations by simply acknowledging that there will be a shift in a family’s current support system, and offer assurances that the company is aware of this, and has a plan in place to offer support.
Detail all the relocation policies that will ensure a smooth transition and reaffirm the company’s support and commitment toward a successful integration process.
6) Expect to Provide Interim Housing
It is extremely common to have employees that are required to move for a role let their family stay behind to allow their kids to finish the school year and to also wait to sell their house while going to the new location to start the new job. This typically requires the company to pick up the bill for interim housing.
7) Keep it Family-Friendly
Make sure to connect your candidate with a local real estate agent that is well versed in local living costs, crime rates, neighborhoods, and schools. Arrange to have your candidate and their partner meet with a knowledgeable real estate professional as early in the process as possible to acquaint them with the area. Candidates are much more likely to accept the deal if the company offers “reconnaissance trips” to get a good idea of the living conditions, schools, etc. It also helps to show off nearby family attractions. A minimum of 2 trips should be offered to include both the employee and his or her spouse.
8) Be Flexible
Understand that asking a person to move their family is a vast undertaking that involves multiple moving parts. There are many external circumstances that need to be taken into account, so it pays to acknowledge this, and be prepared to offer them all the assistance possible. Flexibility plays a major role in attracting and retaining talent for an organization.