Successfully relocating a new employee is a nuanced process, but can be extremely rewarding if done right. By starting the conversation right and easing the relocation process for the employee, a business can gain a lifelong asset and ally who remembers their kindness forever. This is a step-by-step overview of the employee relocation process, addressing each asset of the move and breaking it down into bite-sized pieces. If the process seems daunting, don’t worry. Our corporate relocation service will be with you every step of the way.

This video is an overview of employee relocation management. Included in the video:

  • Keeping relocation and salary conversations separate
  • Estimating move costs
  • Finding homes of similar value
  • Identifying hidden moving costs
  • Addressing move reimbursement budgets
  • Welcoming the family to the new location
  • Easing the relocation process for family
  • Assisting with logistics of work and school
  • Calculating cost of living differences
  • Presenting relocation information to the candidate
  • Preparing for future employee relocations


Components of Relocation


This video, part of the Sanford Rose Associates search process, is designed to coach you through the components of relocation. Hiring the best of the best can sometimes involve the relocation of your next hire, and this video is designed to share with you the crucial need-to-know points regarding relocation prior to extending any candidate an offer. Negotiating the details of relocation should be done well before any conversations that involve salary and compensation. Keep these two discussions separate in order to not conflate two very distinct conversations. As your recruiter, we will walk through each step of this with both you and a prospective hire, but this video can be shared with others on the team involved in the hiring process, so they also understand the granular details of relocation. We will break relocation into four pieces: the home, the family, reimbursement, and cost of living.

Obviously, a large issue to address is if the candidate owns a home and will be selling that home. Make sure you have from your recruiter an accurate picture of all of the aspects that are involved when selling a home, relocating, and establishing a new residence. Contact a realtor to conduct a comparative market analysis for the home, which is a tool that a realtor will use to help a homeowner more accurately price their home in a given market. This is not a home inspection. The realtor will not climb up on the roof and check for leaks, or crawl under the house and check out the foundation. The initial viewing by the realtor is intended to get an idea of how the property will show and sell compared to others in the neighborhood.

Next, the realtor and your recruiter should be able to gather multiple listing service, or MLS data. This will compare similar homes in the area that have recently sold. The purpose of this information is to get an idea of what home buyers are spending on properties in the area. This will give a realistic understanding of comparable homes in the area and help make sure the listing price for the home is competitive and will be sold in a reasonable amount of time.

Additionally, make sure your recruiter has shared with you the monthly mortgage rate of the current home, how much equity is in the home, or how much negative equity exists, any closing costs or realtor fees associated with the sale of the home, and make sure you know the square footage of the home and any storage areas. Square footage is important when calculating the approximate cost of a pack, ship, and move. Again, make sure you know the current mortgage rate, and if that rate will increase with the purchase of a new home, consider including a mortgage rate differentiator in the offer to the candidate.

In some industries, it is expected that the organization will purchase the home, itself. If that is the case in your industry, have that conversation early on in the interviewing process, not as a part of the compensation negotiation. There are many reputable companies who provide support and assistance for those candidates considering a relocation, and your recruiter can get them involved if desired to help with pre-offer moving consultations, a home selling analysis, and community search assistance.

Let’s move on to our second area of relocation, the family, specifically the spouse, the children, and the support system in place. First, let’s talk about the spouse. One of the biggest issues that might need to be addressed if the candidate is going to relocate is this: is the spouse employed? If this is the case, what does the spouse do? What is their income? Is the spouse going to continue working in the new city? If so, does that employment need to be secured prior to the candidate accepting an offer? How difficult will it be to transfer that spouse to a new area and company? Is there anything that you can do to assist in that process or transition?

Second, regardless of if you’re dealing with relocation or simply a move to a new company, how does the spouse feel? Work with your recruiter to set up a visit that includes the spouse and introduces them to the area, the schools, the community, and the possible new home options. If a trip is not necessary, it can still be beneficial to set up a phone call with the candidate and the spouse. Don’t underestimate the influence that the spouse can have on your candidate’s decision, either to move things closer to a yes or to back out of the process completely.

If the candidate has children, this is another personal area that needs to be addressed with your recruiter. Make sure you know how old the children are, if they’re in public or private school, and what you can do to help your recruiter with the introduction to various school systems. If the children are involved in athletics, religious organizations, or afterschool programs, help your recruiter introduce the candidate to similar programs in the new location.

If there are any special needs of the children, perhaps for educational assistance or programs, or behavioral needs, or medical issues, anything that needs to be taken into account when either relocating or simply with the timing associated with making a move. So whether it’s children or spouses or parents, make sure that you’re aware of all of these factors and work closely with your recruiter to create a natural transition for the candidate’s entire family.

Let’s move on to reimbursement. There’s a difference between “The candidate expects reimbursement for relocation” and then a specific number or details associated with that reimbursement. So let’s talk about all of the possible expected financial repayments that a candidate could expect.

Talk with your recruiter and make sure you’re in alignment as to what a full reimbursement would look like. If there’s a set reimbursement based on the level of the hire, share that early on so the candidate knows what to expect. If there’s not an amount set in stone, make sure you know what, in addition to the expenses from the moving company, does that candidate expect. Making a relocation reimbursement open-ended can be a problematic situation, so it may be best to set a flat amount given towards expenses or simply cap the maximum amount allocated to that relocation. A relocation company can also help calculate the cost of moving a candidate, and your recruiter can secure multiple estimates for moving companies.

In addition to pack, ship, and move, make sure you know if your candidate intends to rent a home, purchase a home, or if they need interim housing. It may require a separate trip for the candidate and the spouse, if relevant, for a home-finding trip to explore possible communities and specific homes, but make sure you’re clear on what reimbursement for travel for these initial home-finding trips can be expected.

The candidate may expect reimbursement for the smallest details, paying a deposit for a new cable bill or a maid service to clean the old house prior to selling, or the cost of a rental car while theirs is being shipped. It is important to know if your candidate will need or is expecting financial assistance with temporary housing, assistance on double mortgage or double rent payments, or reimbursement for trips back home if the candidate is relocating prior to the spouse and children. If the candidate is a renter, make sure you understand when the lease ends and any potential fees owed for breaking the lease early.

As an easier solution, it may be advisable to simply offer a fixed sum to cover everything based on if the candidate is a renter or based on the square footage of their home. Additionally, as it relates to the reimbursement, consider this: the candidate will receive an economic benefit from many of the relocation costs. Will your organization cover the tax liabilities associated with those benefits, or is it the candidate’s own responsibility? If your company pays for the breaking of the lease, will your company also pay for the tax liability associated with that benefit? If there’s a gap in the lease of housing from one place to the next, will you cover the gap in the increased lease versus the current, and for how long?

Finally, before you begin to calculate an offer, make sure you and your recruiter have discussed the cost of living differentials or the differences in taxes between the candidate’s current state or country and where your company is located. These differentials could make an impact on any compensation negotiations and should not sneak up as a surprise at the very end of the process.

One last suggestion: put together a standard “Why Our City?” packet that can be given to every prospective hire. Include information on what makes your town or city great. Expand on things such as a blue ribbon school system or citywide annual events and celebrations, fun attractions to see, must-visit restaurants, or cultural exhibits. This is information that can easily be pulled from your state and city’s visitor’s bureau, but consider putting a professional packet together that a candidate can take home with them and review.

Again, as your recruiter, we’re here to anticipate the unique challenges that occur when relocating your next hire, and these are just a few areas that need to be covered prior to the formulation of an offer. We will consult with both you and the candidate on an ongoing basis, but our hope is that we have shared insight into the details that must be considered at every step of the way.