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Corporate Relocation Strategy: Managing a Multiple-Personnel Project

Have you been tasked with executing a complicated multi-personnel relocation? Here, Gerson Relocation offers specialist knowledge and support on how to manage a successful group-move process.

Young office workers moving office, unpacking boxes, smiling.

The demand for global mobility is increasing. While 80% of businesses surveyed by AIRINC stated they increased or maintained their global mobility platforms in 2017, that number rose to 92% when asked to consider the year ahead.

A number of factors have necessitated this demand for international relocation. While expanding avenues of transport and trade are definitely a contributing factor, a report from The RES Forum also outlined high quantities of job vacancies from top-level positions to entry-level staff. Businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to fill skilled positions, looking to international relocation as a solution. The result is a push towards bulk relocation projects involving multiple personnel.

The European Referendum also had a major impact on corporate relocation. The same annual report in global mobility conducted by The RES Forum reveals a number of expected complications for businesses in the wake of Brexit, including difficulty with work permits, more complex hiring processes and a smaller pool of potential employees. The threat of Brexit has meant that moving headquarters overseas, to locations with stable EU ties, has become more appealing.


The Difference Between a Group Move and Individual Relocation

An increase in globalisation, coupled with a number of major corporate mergers in recent years, has brought with it a greater demand for ‘group moves’ — a process in which a business relocates multiple personnel at once.

A corporate transfer is normally defined as moving a single worker abroad, yet increased demand for overseas workers has meant more and more corporate relocation companies are seeing an emphasis on larger move projects. For in-house HRs managing corporate moves, however, this presents a number of unique challenges.

Group moves have a number of differences as compared to a single worker relocation project. All aspects of the move are scaled up. Whereas you’d previously have managed one person’s move, including shipping, immigration processes, cultural integration, family support and more, you now have to manage the exact same elements, but for multiple staff members.

You’ll also have to consider other aspects of corporate relocation. A group move may include an entire department or even company. The result is that you may need to acquire more office space overseas, ship workplace goods and/or gain different levels of clearance from customs and immigration.

Another important element of a group move to note is local infrastructure and the demands your relocation could put on it. Is the region capable of supporting such an influx of staff? Are there enough suitable options for schooling, accommodation and healthcare to ensure local resources aren’t stretched to their limits? In 2017, Amazon announced it would be opening a second headquarters in the United States, complete with 50,000 employees. While many cities started bidding for the opportunity immediately, it soon became apparent that most were simply unable to provide the necessary infrastructure for such a large-scale relocation project.

With such increased complexities, it is important to manage a group move differently to how you’d operate a single-person relocation project. In this blog, we’ll explain the process of successful group moving.


How to Manage a Multiple-Personnel Group Move Project

The key to a successful group move project is effective management and project control. With so many moving parts, it is vital that you take the necessary steps to rein in all aspects of corporate relocation. Unknowns create problems and confusion, which can mean important tasks slip through the cracks.


Establish a Dedicated Management Team

Step one in a successful move process is knowing exactly who is involved and exactly who is doing what. A dedicated management unit is required for absolute clarity. Units can vary in size dependant on your move, and can also be run by third-party corporate relocation companies like Gerson Relocation. However, the management team must exist. People need to know their roles and who to turn to.

Get The Green Light from Immigration

Investing time and money in a relocation project that cannot get off the ground due to restrictions from immigration and border security is a huge waste. Before moving your project forward, go through the necessary immigration processes to ensure you are able to move the personnel you want, where you want.

Research Your Destination

Every location is different, offering different levels of infrastructure. It is important to know what on-the-ground facilities will be available to your assignees and their families. From accommodation and travel options, to schooling, hospitals and business links, being aware of what local resources can be utilised — and what you’ll have to work harder at providing — is crucial during the early stages of group-move management.

Know Your Goals

After you establish management, you must establish the goals they are trying to achieve with this relocation. What is the outcome of the corporate relocation that you are striving for? Such elements include the number of people and/or goods relocated, employee retention, length of projects, etc. Knowing your goals allows you to put into place the appropriate measures to reach said goals. An inability to identify exactly what a completed corporate relocation project should look like leaves management with those unknown variables they don’t want to see.

Be Aware of Budget, Timeline and Other Resources

Relocation projects don’t have a bottomless pit of resources, so management must be aware of their constraints. This point very much ties into that of the above, with resource use aligned with goals of the move. Your biggest factors will not only be money, but also time. A timeline within a relocation project is very important.

The quicker it is accomplished, the less downtime for your employees and operations. However, a fast relocation process is not always appropriate. Locations where infrastructure may be strained by a full-scale bulk move is likely to cause complications. In this scenario, a long-term and staggered process will be more effective. The key to successful group relocation is producing a timeline that effectively balances goal achievement with resource consumption.

Being keenly aware of all the resources at your disposal — including time-frames, financial investment, team members and third-party resources — will allow for efficient decision making and greater levels of control than on those projects where resources aren’t specifically laid out.

Identify Your Corporate Relocation Policy

Your business and your employees need to be aware of exactly what is designated as your responsibility in terms of relocation. Before you move forward with your project, you need to create a relocation policy. Outline exactly what your management team will take responsibility for and where your staff will have to cover themselves. The more you can cover, the better your chances of a stress-free move for your staff and a successful relocation. Remember: for group corporate moves, you can only support what your resources allow you to. If everyone knows what is being taken care of for them and what they must take care of themselves, then you won’t hit any of those unknown barriers that can derail a project.

Many companies may already have a corporate relocation policy in place. However, a group move can require certain support structures that individual relocation does not. In this circumstance, we recommend you review your current policy to see how effectively it can be transferred to a group move. If the policy is incompatible, rather than adapting it — and therefore damaging a perfectly serviceable single-assignee relocation policy — it is more beneficial to design a new group-move policy specifically tailored to large relocation projects.

Divide and Conquer

While this may be a group move, said group is comprised of many individuals. Each of these individuals has their own subset of requirements for relocation, so to treat them identically can lead to problems. For example, a worker with a spouse, five children and home ownership will have different needs to a single individual with a pet and a rented apartment. It is crucial that you understand the unique requirements of successful relocation for every member of the team you are moving, working to achieve a personal and tailored experience.  

Outline a Diverse Plan of Attack

The final stage of excellent group relocation management is creating a bulletproof plan that encompasses all aspects of your move project. It should be detailed all the way down to individual needs, timeline of completion and budgetary restrictions. Knowing the deadlines for specific tasks, when elements should fall into place and what is still left to be done creates a valuable project overview and negates the chances of missed move elements. A plan should also include potential pitfalls and resolutions for said issues. Identifying common relocation problems during the planning stage can greatly reduce the chance of them impacting your move process.

Get Support from a Corporate Relocation Company

Juggling all these elements can be incredibly taxing and time-consuming, especially for businesses without masses of resources and a roster of experienced management professionals. Corporate relocation companies, such as us here at Gerson Relocation, are specialists in group moves. We know all about resource management, relocation policy and group move plans. We’ve been doing it for decades!


If you find yourself facing difficulties, confusion or unknowns that could derail your move project, don’t just let it collapse. Get in touch with corporate relocation experts Gerson Relocation today.



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