Where in the world are we going?

Kim Krollman from global relocation experts Chamness Worldwide, looks at the range of emotions that a new assignment, whether it be transfer abroad or a domestic move, throws up for employees and their families.

Relocating family at airport Chamness Worldwide
Where in the world are we going? How many times has a spouse or partner asked that question? For an assignment that is an international move to the United States or a domestic move within the United States, the answer to this question can instill many emotions:As mobility professionals supporting the move, how can we impact the move process to ensure the employee and spouse or partner remains on the positive end of the emotional scale? Regardless of the relocation service your business provides, as relocation professionals we have a tremendous responsibility to deliver exceptional service to our clients, our partners and most definitely the relocating employee and his/her family. So, where does exceptional service begin?

Communication is the foundation upon which exceptional service is built

The way we communicate, with whom we communicate, even the timing of when we communicate can make or break the relocation experience. To ensure success, it is imperative to understand who, why, when and how to communicate with each party involved in the move.

Understanding the reason for the transfer or move and the internal dynamics

Why is the move occurring? In the world we live in today, a relocation can be required for a myriad of reasons: job transfer, temporary assignment, company restructuring, promotion, or new employment opportunity. Understanding the ‘why’ behind the move will help identify possible challenges that may arise when dealing with a client, relocating employee, spouse or partner. Identifying and being prepared to manage the root cause of the emotions will contribute to a successful move for everyone involved.

Uncovering the biggest challenges

The ‘needs assessment’ process is a great time to ask questions around the happiness or excitement level of not only the relocating employee, but also the spouse, partner or children. The relocating employee may be thrilled at the idea of moving from San Diego to Northern Michigan, while the rest of the family may be feeling fear or absolute dread. In these situations, it is important to understand ‘what is keeping them up at night’. Is it the cost of living, not being able to afford a home in the new location and having to rent? Could it be that the spouse or partner is worried about finding employment in the new location? Are the children worried about a new school and leaving their friends? The needs assessment should be used to collect the tactical information, i.e. job start date, areas of interest, etc., related to the move, as well as providing an open communication forum for the relocating employee and family members to share where they fall on the emotional scale and why.

Managing the ‘right side of the scale’

The relocation professionals involved in the move should focus on the positive aspects of the new location, i.e. San Diego may have the ocean, but Northern Michigan has outdoor activities, beautiful scenery and a lot less traffic! Perhaps the realisation that the cost of living in the new location is much lower than where they are coming from could help? Is there a cool new water park or theme park for the children? Creating excitement for the entire family, or even just the relocating employee in the case of an individual move, can change the outlook on the move and help make the experience to the ‘left side of the scale’ for everyone involved.

Setting expectations

Setting expectations is a multidirectional activity. The client has expectations of partner suppliers, the relocating employee has expectations of their employer and the relocation programme, and the partner supplier has expectations of their service delivery teams, clients and the relocating employee.   Communication as the foundation is paramount to this process. Clients should clearly identify the expectations of their partner suppliers, the relocating employee should clearly understand their employer’s policy, and the partner suppliers should be knowledgeable and responsive in delivery of their respective service.

Follow-up and follow-through

The relocating employee and his/her family have settled into their new environment, so what’s next? It is important for everyone to feel supported, even after the transition has been completed. Exceptional service extends beyond completing the tasks involved in the relocation. Incorporating follow-up communication and assessments provides a sense of comfort to the family. This sends the message that after all the care you took to ensure the move went smoothly, you will continue to be there for them as they settle into their new surroundings.The CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos sums up exceptional service very simply, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”As relocation professionals, we are most definitely the hosts of the party. It is our core responsibility to make sure our guests enjoy every minute of that party and take with them memories that will last a lifetime as they embark on their exciting adventure in their new location.For further information contact:Chamness Worldwide
Chamness WorldWide have been delivering personalised and high quality relocation services for over 30 years. Follow the links above for more US focused Chamness content on Relocate Global or visit the Chamness website.