Providing leadership for the life sciences industry

Financial Times – Executive Appointments: Thursday 17th March 2011

Posted on 31/12/2013

“Your Questions Answered – How can we help staff when we switch location?”

In this week’s Executive Appointments supplement, Gill Plimmer tackled the issue of relocating a mid-size company and staff retention issues involved in such a move. RSA’s CEO Nick Stephens shared his advice on tackling this issue: “Many companies forget to look at the impact that a move might have on their people so I congratulate you for asking the question. The key things to look at in order to do the ‘right thing’ by the deep rooted people and by your company are:

  1. Communicate with them as early as you can and be as straight as possible with them. They will be feeling destabilised by your plans and clarity will help, even if the news is bad.
  2. Offer support. For senior people, that might include a ‘full outplacement’ service. Everyone should at least be offered time off for interviews with no pay penalty.
  3. Show flexibility in, for example, the notice period if they find a new role sooner than you anticipate.
  4. It’s important for you to understand that your move will have unexpected consequences for the company. Some of the people who are unable/unwilling to follow the company will have important (tacit) knowledge that you don’t know you’ll miss until you find you need it – so ensure people leave happy and will still talk to you after the move.
  5. Finally, don’t forget we’re living in a wireless world, so look at whether you can offer remote or flexible working. You might even save money on office infrastructure.”
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