Busting Relocation Myths

As the Self-managed Lump Sum relocation, DIY or reimbursed programs gain more and more popularity with corporations; I am amused to see how some folks are dropping seeds of fear into the ears of HR. They are spun like urban myths, planted by folks in hope that they take on a life of their own. A one off or what if situation used to foster doubt and perhaps sway or save a client from moving to a self-managed or DIY relocation program.

As a practical old mover /myth buster I wanted to examine four of these myths and try to shed some common sense light on them.  I have heard all of these either in presentations or read them in articles. Like any myth there could be a grain of truth to them but I think the majority have evolved into good campfire stories rather than the norm.

The myths in no particular order are:

The Four Seasons myth: This is like the “Spotting Elvis” myth, the one that is commonly used but possibly featuring a different high end hotel.  You all heard it, it goes something like this. You hirer what you hope to be a valuable employee, give them a lump sum of money and explain to them that it has to be used to move. Rather than using the money to relocate however they rent a room at the Four Season, drain the mini bar and do the Carlton on the dance floor every night until every cent is spent. At which point, you realize that you have either hired a complete idiot, the future VP of sales, or both.

True some folks may have a little difficulty budgeting for a move but the lion’s share of reasonable individuals will realize that they have to use the money wisely and have a good idea about costs. After all we all are seasoned (no pun intended) consumers, we all buy stuff, we all shop and we all want to at least appear somewhat competent. Even if they don’t have a good idea of costs, a quick reminder in writing should take care of this myth.

The Stealing myth: This is a new one as crazy as it sounds. The myth refers to someone you have just hired, they take a new position but after receiving their lump sum, they don’t show up for work they “steal” the money. Think about the information you have to gather to hire someone. You have their contact information, their referrals, their history of employment, their bank account, etc. You have hired someone who went through all of the interview processes, background checks and in some cases criminal checks and now that they have your confidence they are going to steal the “lump sum” and run. Come-on-man, any good felon would ingrain themselves in the organization and steal for years.

The Babysitting myth: I have heard from several companies that today’s millennials need handholding, they want to talk to us and that they need constant babysitting.  As the very proud father of two millennials I can say with confidence, all they need is information; they do not want to talk to you. If the only option they have is to speak to a relocation manager then they will but if they had their druthers, they would much rather have the information logically and conveniently laid out and accessible. In twenty minutes of being offered an out of town position they will have more information on the new location than you can provide in an hour phone call. They are resourceful, bright, tech savvy and more than capable of organizing a move. Again if the information is centralized and laid out in order on a platform like www.themovingmall.com it is a no brainer for them.

The Frugality myth:  This one may have some substance particularly when you have a new hire with a mountain of student debt. They may just rent a truck and do it themselves. This could result in them falling off the truck, injuring their back, being laid up in hospital and not showing up for work. Or heaven forbid they use Airbnb or stay at a friend’s rather than a hotel, big deal. As long as they show up for work on Monday why would you care? If anything, today’s youth are very resourceful and again if given information they are probably the most educated consumers in the market. As long as they have options and information they can navigate most any situation. We used to call stuff like that an adventure when we were young; it was usually a lot of fun and gave us something to talk about.

A self- managed relocation is not rocket science, if given information, laid out in a logical manner anyone can move. I am wondering if the real myth is that you need a multi-national relocation firm to move a renter a few hundred miles?

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