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How to relocate employees to London

How to relocate employees to London: The ultimate guide for HR heroes

If you find yourself tasked with relocating an employee to London, you may be feeling overwhelmed with all there is to organise.

Fear not, for this guide is designed to provide you with a structured approach, covering all the steps and considerations for a seamless relocation process.

Step 1 – Assess the assignee’s personal and professional situation

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Begin by understanding the personal and professional circumstances of the employee being relocated. Consider factors such as whether they are moving alone, with a partner/spouse, or with children.

Visa arrangements are crucial, and a valid visa is not only necessary for work but also for renting in the UK.

Evaluate the timing of their move, as anything less than a month can be challenging, while over three months provides more flexibility.

Step 2 – Define the scope of the support you want to offer

The next thing you need to decide is how much support you want to provide your employee with. Different businesses have different policies. If your business hasn’t set up any yet, you will find a few pointers below.

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Consider offering your relocating employee with support in areas such as:

As a minimum, we would recommend you offer assistance with the home search and removal.  This will also include some expert advice on choosing the right London neighbourhood for the lifestyle and budget of the assignee. Landing (and living) in the wrong area can make someone dislike even the greatest city in the world.

Check out our article on the 5 pitfalls assignees should avoid when relocating to London, to help avoid making the wrong choices.

Whichever level of support you choose, you will have to decide on a few things before going back to your assignee:

  • Will your business pay service providers directly, or are you asking the assignee to do their own choices and payments against a lump sum?
  • Will your assignee pay his/her rent directly, or will the business be the tenant for the rental property?

There isn’t one same solution for all businesses, so tailoring support to individual needs is key.

Step 3 – Find a London relocation specialist

Congratulations on reaching this stage!

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If your assignees are receiving a lump sum, and are making their own decisions, you might want to point them in the right direction. A good start could be for them to check out the website of the UK relocation professionals, to select providers (needless to say we are in there!). They can also search on Google, and speak with different businesses to see which one is the best fit.

One word of warning about lump sums: we hear a lot of horror stories about employees deciding to spend their lump sum on other things than relocation support/removal support, with things going downhill and businesses having to step in at some point (with more money!). One way to counteract that challenge is to require a proof of payment or invoice from the assignee.

If you are providing support directly, you will now start to look for providers for the relocation and removal services yourself.

Step 4 – Find a removal provider

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If you are covering the cost of your assignee’s removal, you will need to find a provider.  You have three options

  1. A stand-alone removal provider. Moving personal belongings is what they do, day in, day out.
  2. A provider combining removal and relocation: this is not our preference, as the competences needed are very different, so you will end up working with two very different teams anyway within the same business. Also this means that you will not have a choice of removal providers, and therefore just one cost option.
  3. A relocation provider working in partnership with a removal provider and coordinating everything: this is the most comfortable option for yourselves and the assignee, as everything is coordinated under one roof. It could also end up saving you money, as the relocation provider will obtain several price quotations, enabling you to compare different price levels potentially (and saving you the hassle of doing it!)

Step 5 – Let the providers do the work… but keep an eye on it!

Having selected providers, introduce them to the assignee and clearly communicate the scope of services so they know what they are entitled to.. Request regular updates to stay informed about the relocation’s progress. Consider weekly updates and maintain open communication with the assignee. Proactively addressing any issues ensures a smooth relocation experience.

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Once the relocation has been completed, you can congratulate yourselfRelocating employees to London might seem daunting, but it can be gratifying if everything goes well for your employee, which will inevitably reflect positively on you.

Good luck with your next employee move to London!

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