The Benefits of Relocation for Career Growth and Development

Often, when organizations share their reasons for investing in corporate relocation programs, they’re focused on the benefits they provide back to the employer, but the relocation experience can (and should) offer significant benefits to employees, too.

According to a recent survey, the top reason employees relocate is for career advancement (and, correspondingly, to increase their earnings). Not surprisingly, the survey also found that employees are most likely to relocate when they’re between the ages of 25-44. In other words: they’re young to mid-career professionals eager to climb the corporate ladder.

But how exactly do relocation assignments accelerate career growth, as well as personal development factor in? Let’s take a closer look.

6 Ways Relocation Experience Drives Career Growth and Development      

Frequently, a relocation offer is tied to a promotion, and that in itself is a step up. However, beyond that immediate upgrade, employees’ careers will likely benefit down the road, too. After all, when employees relocate, they gain:  

1. The Opportunity to Develop New Skills

Relocating to a different location exposes employees to new projects, teams, and challenges. These will likely expand their skill sets, which in turn will open doors to career opportunities they might not otherwise be qualified to pursue.

For example, according to the Harvard Business Review, when midlevel managers accept international roles, they receive a “crash course in leadership,” honing their decision-making skills in real-time.

2. Enhanced Networking Opportunities

Moving to a new location allows employees to expand their professional network, as they build relationships with new colleagues, clients, and contacts. Down the road, those relationships may bear fruit, by providing future opportunities or allowing their future selves to bring otherwise unconnected contacts together to achieve new objectives.

3. Exposure to Cultural Diversity 

Relocation often involves exposure to different cultures, people, and environments. Say, for example, that a physician from a large, East Coast city relocates to a rural hospital in the deep South. That experience will undoubtedly help her better understand and connect with patients from backgrounds very different from her own. By enhancing her cultural competency, she becomes a more effective physician—a skill she’ll take with her wherever she goes.  

4. Accelerated Leadership Opportunities

Companies often seek to promote and retain the talent they have invested in by offering them future leadership roles. In some large corporations, for example, C-level executives are required to have worked in multiple departments or aspects of management—including national/international experience. In other words, a geographically diverse resume is often a prerequisite for those bound for the very top.


Stay up to date

Subscribe to the blog for the latest updates

5. Greater Adaptability  

By its nature, corporate relocation requires employees to adapt to new situations. They must be able to operate effectively in new work environments…find their way around a strange city… and forge relationships with new people. Adaptation has always been key to success (just ask Darwin!), and that’s certainly the case in our fast-changing business world.      

6. Corporate Good Will    

Employees who demonstrate a willingness to relocate for the benefit of the organization are typically viewed favorably by senior management when it comes to future promotions. For example, a sales manager who successfully opens up a new geographic market is likely to be seen as a high-potential candidate for future leadership roles.

In other words, there are both short- and long-term career advantages to accepting a relocation offer!


How Relocation Drives Personal Development 

Beyond career growth, corporate relocation is often transformative on a personal level. Moving to a new area—or even country and continent—exposes employees to different lifestyles, cultures, and belief systems, which will likely broaden and change their perspectives going forward.

For many, exploring a new area is an exciting adventure. Some employees actively seek out relocation opportunities because they want to see the world. At the same time, moving to an unfamiliar area fosters self-reliance, bravery, and confidence, as newcomers strive to find their own way.

Needless to say, even after a relocation assignment is complete, those who undertake them rarely return quite the same.


Setting Relocating Employees Up for Success 

Of course, every relocation experience starts with an actual, physical move, which is why it’s so important to start the process off on the right foot. 

That’s why employers should be strategic in developing and enhancing their corporation relocation programs—from what expenses they cover to the type of support they provide to their employees. 

For more on this topic, read our companion blog on the five key hallmarks of successful relocation programs. And for more about how UrbanBound helps employers achieve them, watch our quick video on how we get it right.  

Human Resources Today