Dynamics of the Group Move

By

Daniel T. Bloom SCRP

Someone in upper management has suddenly arrived at this brilliant decision-let's move the company to a new location. Therefore, you just pick yourself up and move, right. Wrong. Group moves have their own very peculiar attributes.

A group move is the movement of whole corporations or a facility in mass from one place to another. Typically, these moves contain anywhere from 25 to 250 employees being moved. The tendency here is to look at the total move as 25 individual moves rather than one single move. In order for a group move to be successful, it must undergo five stages during its development.

The first stage is the decision stage. During this stage, top management must decide whether they are in complete agreement with this plan of action. Failure to have 100% commitment will lead to disaster. At the same time, the exact needs of the corporation must be identified along with the required expertise that the corporation will need for the move. This expertise is usually in the form of outside consultants who assist in managing the process.

The second stage is that of the contract awards. The corporation develops a series of questions that will be asked of each potential vendor and develop the request for proposal process. From the RFP's and the responses to the questions, the corporation will select a vendor(s) to assist with the remaining parts of the process.

The third stage of the process is the most crucial. It is the project planning stage. In this stage, the corporate team meets with the vendors to identify the employment requirements at the old and the new locations. Your current employment roster can be broken down into four groups- those employees who you do not care if they leave tomorrow, the core group of employees who you want to make the move and can, the core group of employees who you want to go but for whatever reason they cannot and the final group is that of the ones who will turn out the lights and lock the door. During this stage, the communication pieces are prepared. These pieces explain to the employees what the plan is, why you are making the move and what the time frame is. The communication pieces also look at the relocation benefits that will be offered to the employees.

The fourth stage is the Corporate Move Activities stage. Working with the consultants and the vendors, you begin to deliver the communication pieces. You lay out the schedule for moving the corporate inventory. How do you move computers and telephone lines with the least amount of disruption? In today's technological age, you should be able to close down Friday and open Monday with the minimal amount of disruption. During the corporate move activity stage, you also begin to conduct the orientation sessions for the families as what they can expect in the new location.

The final stage is the actual movement of the employees. It is crucial here to go back to what we stated earlier. A group move is a move in mass not 25 separate moves. The relocation benefits being provided to employees who are moving should be the same no matter what level of the company they are at. One of the hard points to get across to the employees is that typically these moves are lateral moves in nature. You need to develop policy benefit statements for the three primary groups mentioned above. We are not concerned with those who leave immediately. Another aspect of this stage is to identify the impact on the area of a mass move. It maybe better to stagger the moves so you do not lead to a depressed housing market, making it harder for the employees to dispose of their homes.

Group moves can be completed with minimal disruption to corporate activities if they are planned right. One critical factor is whether you have full top management support for the process and whether every stage of the process is communicated clearly to the employees. The worst case scenario is for the time plan to be dictated by the corporate rumor mill.

Daniel Bloom is President of Daniel Bloom & Associates; Inc, a company who specializes in providing custom designed relocation services to corporations nationwide. By going to our website at http://dbaiconsulting.com you are welcome to join our relocation-issues mailing list. Ask your peers about your relocation questions. You can contact Dan Bloom at dan@dbaiconsulting.com or by phone at 727-581-6216.