How Mobility Managers Can Help Relocating Pros Adjust to New Challenging Environment

Covid-19 has made many workers think of relocating, which should be fine in most cases but not when it’s unexpected and the environment brought about by the pandemic has become more challenging. 

Global mobility managers should be able to help professionals make the adjustment in this case, as they would be considered the one with a clearer head. Yes, adapting to a new challenging environment may take some time, but it’s crucial that these talents embrace change or it’ll be harder for them to take on their new work assignments. 

Of course, moving domestically is less of an adjustment issue, not when the assignees themselves are the ones deciding on the move. It’s those who are coming from abroad and getting ready to work in the United States in the next few months who may experience some culture shock. It’s a different world and they may even find themselves working from their home in their host country and not yet in the offices. It doesn’t help that recent events make it stressful for anyone making that big decision.

Mobility professionals need to outline possible stressful factors early on. For instance, mobility professionals should find out if assignees are going to have separation anxiety from family, friends and if their home, given all the turmoil’s effect on everyone.

They also need to know ahead of time if the community they’re going to live in is suited for them. The recent Asian hate incidents and other petty crimes in the United States can be cause for concern for some relocating assignees but this should not stop anyone from moving if they really think it’s a good career for them. It is hoped that most of these things happening now are isolated and can be resolved soon.

Here are some tips that address both the emotional weight and the professional aspect of the move, the first four advice from a class at San Diego State University and the rest from PlusRelocation for professionals, based on a survey of more than 300 relocating employees as well as interviews between May and June 2020.

  1. Have assignees plan ahead. This allows families and individuals to be prepared for the unexpected.
  2. Include a parent/older adult in planning. Research shows that when loved ones are involved in the planning to move that the symptoms of transfer trauma are lower. Being involved in their own future provides a sense of control in their environment and being familiar with what to expect.
  3. Research the different living options. Actively planning and discussing with loved ones may ensure the best living arrangements based on care needs and personal preferences.
  4. Have assignees ask for their loved one’s help. They should let their support network know when they are moving. 
  5. Assignees need to be flexible. Timelines can change and relocation may likely take longer on account of businesses being closed. Plan and think about every interaction they may need before the move happens — and make sure they minimize risk to themselves and to others.
  6. Let them raise their concerns. Being away from their comfort zone, assignees will need to express their needs and expectations before the move. They need not be afraid to say that they are uncomfortable with any part of the relocation experience. If something does not feel right, they will need to raise it up immediately.
  7. Communication is key in getting assistance. Assignees will need to communicate often with their mobility counselor or manager who will make sure that assignees get the help they need. 
  8. Health and safety need to get prioritized above everything else. Assignees must have good medical coverage for the new location before departing. They also need to have an emergency fund and backup plan.
  9. Create a social network. If their family is coming with them, they have to make sure risk is minimized for them. Also, they need to know that they need to create a good network and social network as soon as possible in their new community.
  10. Make sure they have virtual housing tools and other online tools. Look into these resources as safe, socially distant alternatives to in-person appointments when settling in their new location.
  11. Take it day by day. Assignees need to take relocation day by day and to be careful not to rush things. It’s probably going to take longer than usual to get settled. (Dennis Clemente)