[Checklist] How to get started with relocation

For over a decade, Barona has been supporting its customers in cross-border recruitment and relocation. We are now on a mission to take this onto the next level by creating free educational materials to educate and inspire HR Specialists and Recruiters to be more prepared and effective in cross-border recruitment and talent mobility.

We are excited to share our first video where we talk about the basics. In the video below, you will learn how to get started with relocation. We included a handy checklist for you so you don’t have to take notes.



In the short 8-minute video, we provide a framework on how to:

  • Know your relocation process and make the necessary decisions early enough
  • Things you must decide on even before starting the recruitment process
  • Determine who owns the relocation process
  • Create a repeatable process
  • Determine your budget and possible relocation partner
  • Analyze, measure and improve
  • and a bonus tip on Working culture

Download free checklist >

Know your relocation process and make the necessary decisions early enough

Start planning for the relocation earlier than you were thinking. The permit application and processing times vary depending on what permit the employee is applying for.

Be prepared to allow for a few months for this part of the process. Questions about relocation issues are normally raised during the interview process, so it is good to think and decide on them even before you start recruiting.

A well-planned relocation process and support are a strong competitive advantage when recruiting on global scale. Many candidates would not even consider a position abroad, if relocation support is not provided.

Things you must decide on even before starting the recruitment process

A few factors need to be considered when planning the overall relocation process:

  • the employer company policy and requirements
  • the employee’s needs and preferences
  • the legal and authority requirements

This means that almost every relocation case is unique, which makes it even more important to plan well in advance.

When considering the employment contract, keep in mind:

  • the length
  • the title
  • the salary level
  • the benefits
  • the taxable fringe benefits

and include them in the contract. These normally determine the residence permit category, for which the employee would be applying for and how long the permit process would take.

Consider the support you can provide for the family members. Especially when recruiting experienced talent, which often suggests more senior candidates, the question of family relocation will most probably pop-up during the interviews.

Plan ahead and be prepared to answer family relocation support questions. Family support and integration are essential for your newly recruited employee’s success in their new job. If the family is happy, the employee would have much more time and energy to focus in succeeding in their job. A well-integrated family also decreases the risk of them leaving in a year or two.

Typical relocation support that employers offer are helping to arrange daycare and school, career training for the spouse or cultural training for the family.

Accommodation is another issue critical to the smooth settling of your employee and their family. Decide on what support you can provide for finding accommodation. Typical support that employers offer, for example in Finland, is temporary furnished apartment solution for the first few weeks and support in finding long-term accommodation.

The rental apartment scene varies between countries and cities. Often in the bigger cities rent is higher and supply is scarce. Be aware of the local situation and choose a solution in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises later.

Determine who owns the relocation process

You can provide relocation support using in-house resources or choose a relocation company as a partner. In both cases, you need to have a person in charge of the relocation process.
Within the company this role is normally assigned to an HR person, Global Mobility responsible person or Office Manager.

Usually, the same person is also the one to welcome the new employee and coordinate their induction in the company. This person makes sure the relocation process complies with the company expectations and guidelines and that the employer legal obligations are met accordingly. Their role is to also to communicate with your relocation partner company and make sure the provided service is aligned with your needs and mobility policy.

Create a repeatable process

It may be difficult and overwhelming when you first start defining and deciding on the relocation issues. There are indeed a lot of things to keep in mind. However, practice makes best!
Once you have outlined the relocation issues for the first recruits, the process will go much smoother for the future ones.

Ask for feedback from newcomers preferably after they have already settled in. Keep developing and improving the process. Knowing the process and what works for your company and team best will make it much easier when choosing a relocation company for a partner.

Determine your budget and possible relocation partner

Investing in your employees is crucial. Investing in settling your new talent that you worked hard to attract is even more crucial. Nevertheless, it is important to be smart about it and take into account the costs you need to allow for.

When thinking of the budget you need to allocate for the relocation process, make sure to include the following:

  • permit and other authority fees
  • flight and other travel costs
  • accommodation budget
  • moving costs
  • last but not least, allow for the resource costs, if using an internal resource
  • or for supplier fees, if you choose to use a relocation service provider.

Outsourcing the relocation process is a cost-efficient way to handle this. It also helps you manage the risks of mishandling the paperwork.

Analyze, measure and improve

In order to improve and smooth out this process, it is essential to follow up on how things went. Ask for feedback from the employee, from their supervisor, from the HR person and your relocation supplier. Keep an eye on possible miscommunication and mismatch in expectations and make sure to straighten out these issues in the future cases.

Employee engagement in the relocation process improvement will ensure better results and better employee experience for the current as well as for the future employees.

Bonus tip: Working culture

Adding diversity to your employee mix will undoubtfully enrich your company’s working culture. However, it comes with challenges. Cultural differences are not a myth and you will soon encounter them.

Prepare yourself and your staff for the diversity.

Talk about it, involve them in the cross-border recruitment and relocation process, think of switching the company’s internal communication to English. Include some form of cultural training for your recruit as part of their induction process.

Being aware of the cultural differences often increases the tolerance for misunderstandings later.


Download free "Getting started with relocation" 101 checklist!

Download free checklist >