Making corporate moves

When the business is moving, HR can lighten the load

How the cloud is helping to elevate talent needs in HR Shared Services

Posted by Danielle Feinblum on September 15, 2015.

Businesses move for many reasons—to support changes in the underlying operating model, to be closer to markets, customers, and resources (human or natural), to consolidate operations to save costs, to accommodate growth or divestiture via M&A transactions, to realize tax advantages, and more. Regardless of the motivation for the relocation, the process of relocating can seem overwhelming. HR can be a leader in helping to minimize disruption to the business and employees while helping the business achieve the intended results of the move.

Given the critical role of talent in organizations and the need to maintain business continuity throughout the move process, the CHRO should be an integral part of the executive team involved in planning the move. The HR team—from HR business partners to recruiters to global mobility specialists and more—should also be part of the core transition team responsible for executing the transition strategy, and take the lead in guiding other leaders through the people-related aspects of the transition.

For example, leading practices in managing a move include:

  • Setting up a transition management office, led by an appointed transition leader who engages functional and business experts to assist with the transition and manage risks and issues associated with the move.
  • Conducting a stakeholder analysis to determine business leaders and key talent important for you to retain, as well as key influencers who are crucial drivers of engagement and can be helpful in persuading others to relocate with the business.
  • Planning a thorough retention program, considering both strategic and financial aspects, based on the stakeholder analysis.
  • Determining a reasonable time frame that takes into account transition activities and milestones affecting leaders, employees, and the business.
  • Strategically planning the move announcement and ongoing communications throughout the transition, including anticipating frequently asked questions.

HR business partners are frequently charged with keeping employees engaged and retained despite the uncertainty and change that typically accompany a move. Considerable effort will likely be needed before the actual announcement day to prepare employee relocation and severance packages and to coach the leaders who will communicate with employees about the move and its impact on their jobs. HR also plays a critical role in the pivotal transition period after employees have been notified to help lessen employee distraction and build engagement, whether or not employees are relocating with the company.

Our new publication, Making Corporate Moves, explains these topics in more detail. It gives an overview of strategic considerations for leaders once the relocation decision has been made and outlines the role HR can play in workforce decisions during the relocation. It also spotlights the consumer products industry, where several trends have been catalysts for increased corporate relocation activity. We encourage you to add these resources to your HR toolkit and share them with business leaders and colleagues. Relocation is a big step and a bold strategy that HR leaders can be instrumental in executing effectively.

Danielle Feinblum is a senior manager in the Human Capital practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP, where she helps lead clients in the design and delivery of their people strategy during major enterprise-wide changes.

Contributors: Joyce Chang, Chris Norman, and Swapna Sathyan

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