How to Choose an Employee Relocation Service That Doesn't Suck

How to Choose an Employee Relocation Service That Doesn't Suck

Maria Magdaleena Lamp
min read


Join our newsletter

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Related articles




So you’re looking for a trustworthy employee relocation service. A reliable partner who will get your international hires to you quickly and efficiently, all limbs attached.

No idea what you’re doing or where to start? Here are a few pointers to help you track down the best partner for all your talent relocation needs. And you'll never lose a brand new hire in immigration limbo again!

Ask for references and testimonials

Well, duh. Nobody in 2019 would so much as order a sandwich without reading reviews first. And much like a sandwich, there are many layers to a relocation service. It’s vital that they’re all delicious.

First, read a couple of case studies on the company’s website to get a feel for what it’s like to work with them and what values drive them. This is the bread (yep, we're going all-in on the sandwich metaphor).

But perhaps more importantly, ask your network. Because the meat (or alternative vegan filling) of your relocation sandwich is trust. As useful as case studies and testimonials are, they don't bring the same flavor as a recommendation from someone you know personally or professionally.

Find someone in your network whose talent relocation needs are similar to yours and get them to drop some names.

Don't forget about employee testimonials

Employee experience is everything when it comes to relocating a person. One of the surest ways to find out how good a talent relocation company really is? Ask the people they’ve moved.

In an earlier post, we mentioned that well-supported relocating employees report higher engagement rates at work. But there's more to that story.

A 2018 IMPACT Group study found that while people's excitement remains high throughout the entire relocation process, 21% of relocating employees also report high levels of fear. And for many, loneliness doubles after the move.

A good relocation process minimizes your hire's fear and loneliness while maximizing the excitement. The only way you can know if it's working? See how happy the employee is. If your potential employee relocation service provider has talent testimonials handy, it's a good sign that they care about the experience they're providing.

Figure out how much hand-holding you need

Be upfront with yourself and your potential new relocation partner about your needs. And if you don’t know, let them help you figure it out.

Do you prefer to handle any parts of the process in-house or do you want a full-stack service that'll let you sit back and relax the whole way? Elements of the relocation process might include:

  • Registering employment and residency;
  • Applying for a visa;
  • Family and spouse support;
  • Pet relocation;
  • Airport pickup;
  • Finding temporary accommodation;
  • Finding long-term accommodation;
  • Opening a bank account;
  • Registering with a healthcare provider;
  • Tax registration;
  • Finding schools;
  • City guides and recommendations;
  • General hand-holding and consulting.

It's a long—and incomplete—list. So don't worry if your first instinct is to run away or try to ignore some of it.

An experienced employee relocation service provider should be able (and willing) to advise you on what kind of relocation package makes sense for you. Look for a partner with the confidence and knowledge to tell you when you're missing something.

Based on a true story, this conversation might sound a bit like this:

You, the employer: "We don't need to help our hires find a doctor. They'll figure it out on their own, right?"
Good relocation service provider: "In our experience, it's almost impossible for an expat to do this without help in our country. If they need to go on sick leave later, you'll end up saving time and money if you include this in your relocation package now."
You, the employer: "Time and money are some of my favorite things to save. I'm convinced!"

Get to know their methods

Ask your potential talent relocation partner about how they work. How will their methods mesh with yours? For example:

  • What guarantees they’ll stay on top of all your cases if there’s a sudden surge in demand?
  • How are they tracking their progress and ensuring nothing falls between the cracks? Are they using spreadsheets or more advanced mobility management tools?
  • How will they keep you in the loop and how much involvement do they expect from you? The whole idea here is for you to save time but also have transparency into what is happening with your new hires. Find a provider who can report to you at intervals you're comfortable with.
  • What is their approach to customer service? There are a million things that can go wrong during a relocation. From flight delays to issues with immigration, anything can happen at literally any time. For the sake of your sanity and the wellbeing of your hires, you need a relocation service provider who makes themselves available. Ask about response times.
  • Do they communicate like humans? A lot of immigration speak is incomprehensible legalese. Make sure your partner uses explain-like-I'm-five language when explaining complicated legal issues.

Check their local knowledge

When you’re shopping around for an employee relocation partner, you need to know if they have the local expertise to take every possible (legal!) shortcut in the book.

There are no one-size-fits-all solutions here. Every country’s immigration law is beautiful and special in its own way. By which, of course, we mean they’re all pretty awful, with their unique sets of boobytraps.

To make sure your potential new service provider is equal to the task, ask questions about some of your head-scratcher relocation cases.

  • How many people have they already moved to your locations?
  • What kind of permit will your new hire need?
  • How long will the process take?
  • What are some of the most common hurdles or challenges and what fixes have they found?
  • What happens if your new hire quits?
  • If your hire is moving with a partner, do they have to be married for the partner to get a residence permit?

With so many variables, finding the right partner will take time and research. But it'll be worth it.

Ready to settle down with a relocation partner? Jobbatical will help you move talent from anywhere in the world to Estonia, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Portugal and many more.

Get your free relocation consultation

Ready to unleash the smoothest relocation experiences for your employees?

Book a demo