Robertson Languages > Relocation > Why you should be planning for employee relocation right now

Why you should be planning for employee relocation right now

May 05 in Relocation

In our latest blog, we share some important insights into why planning for employee relocation could be crucial right now. 

Want to find out more about how RLI can support you with your employee relocation, both now and in the near future? Check out our Webinar series, running May 5th, 6th and 7th, on how language and cross-cultural training can be the key for a successful relocation assignment.  


With many of us living under national lockdowns and rigid travel restrictions still in place across the world, the word ‘relocation’ may not be in your vocabulary right now. After all, internationally-operating companies are facing uncertain times. Your company may have had to implement a temporary recruitment freeze or furlough staff. And those big plans to relocate employees? They’ve probably slipped to the bottom of your priorities list.

That’s because many of the driving motivators for relocating employees – To oversee the opening or management of an international office, to bring a specialist skill to another location, to fill an open position elsewhere or to foster career development – may all be on hold right now. And it’s understandable. After all, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many companies’ activity to a screeching halt, delayed growth plans and forced meticulously-planned targets for overseas expansion to be thrown out.



But here’s where you may be going wrong. As the old adage goes, fail to prepare and prepare to fail. We know for certain that – eventually – lockdowns will be lifted. The cogs of your company’s wheel will begin turning anew. You will begin discussing the logistics of employee relocation again one day in the near future.


So what should you be doing right now? Crossing your fingers and waiting for it all to blow over? Perhaps not. Did you know that 40% of all overseas assignments are judged to be failures, with assignees often returning home much earlier than expected and without meeting their goals? Can you really afford to let this happen?


So, what’s the secret to winning at employee relocation? It’s pretty simple: Thorough and timely preparation. If you want to make employee relocation a success and hit the ground running post-pandemic, you should start planning for it today. Here’s why.


  1. Employees will be stronger in their target language

    It’s no secret that the longer someone has to study a language, the more proficient they become. So answer me this: Why put it off? If you already began to look into employee relocation before the COVID-19 crisis, now is the time to consider offering your employee comprehensive language training. Not only are they likely to have more time on their hands, but a fulfilling and fun language-learning project outside of work can combat isolation and feelings of loneliness linked to remote working. What’s more, they will be more likely to approach the planned relocation with increased linguistic confidence – which can boost social integration and will, in turn, fast track work successes.

  2. They’ll be more familiar with the target culture


    Language is only one part of the relocation story. Culture shock is a common response to relocation, and can contribute to loneliness, demotivation and homesickness. Most assignees can expect to feel some degree of culture shock. However, the good news is that it can largely be mitigated by giving the employee a thorough overview of what they can expect from living in their new location, what major differences they might encounter and how they can deal with them. This can take the form of cross-cultural training, which explores the crucial yet largely-ignored aspects that can make or break a relocation assignment, such as cultural values, social cues, non-verbal communication and workplace etiquette.

  3. Families can become more involved


    Did you know that 70% of failed overseas relocation projects are reportedly down to unhappy families? This shocking statistic reminds us exactly why you need to plan for employee relocation as soon as possible – so you can include the employee’s family in every detail and anticipate their requirements well in advance. For example, will there be a need for mother tongue maintenance for children attending school abroad? Will partners want to join in with language and cross-cultural training too, specifically tailored to social situations or the industry they’ll be moving into? These aspects could be the difference between your assignee pulling off a successful project or hopping on the first flight back.


Get in touch today to see how we can support you with employee relocation.

Join our webinars running on May 5th, 6th, 7th, or request a free quote.




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