What is a group move?

You may have seen a previous post "So what exactly is employee relocation and global mobility?" that gave a brief explanation of what employee relocation is and what it entails. Organisations moving a number of employees from A to B at the same time, or over a defined period of time, perhaps in waves, undertake what is known as a "group move".

So a group move is when an organisation just carries out a lot of relocations, right?

Wrong. When a group move is carried out, the company might be moving the whole company, a department, or even just a handful of employees. This might be within the same country or even cross-border, which brings its own unique set of challenges. The need to move a group of employees can vary depending on the requirements of the business, and these must be taken into account when planning the move, administering the services and dealing with employees.

But apart from the volume, is it just the same as standard relocation?

For whatever reason an organisation decides to conduct a group move, it can cause a significant impact well after the actual move has been completed. Imagine you have lived somewhere all of your life, and your employer suddenly announces that the whole department is relocating 500 miles away. I have seen this happen in a group move from Reading to Aberdeen. You have a working spouse to consider, and a couple of kids at school. This kind of announcement isn't exactly a spoonful of sugar and raises plenty of questions; Do I have to go? If I didn't go, could I find another job here? What about my husband's job? Will my son be OK when he takes his exams next year? Will I be out of pocket? Such a period can be hugely unsettling for employees, so exact planning and preparation, as well as an empathetic approach, are fundamental to a successful group move.

So which services do we need to consider in addition to our standard relocation?

The core services for a group move generally remain the same as for standard moves, though the way in which they are delivered and managed differs. The greatest difference you will see to the everyday relocation offering is through the addition of the following services:

  • Policy consultancy

  • Cost estimates

  • Accompanied area tours

  • Information sessions

  • Information rooms

  • Group move clinics

  • Dedicated group move website

You might also find you need to make some changes to your relocation policy and may even create a distinct group move policy. You need to ensure that the offering is cost-effective but strong enough to encourage your chosen employees to relocate to the new location.

Effectively selling the new location to your workforce can also be a major challenge but we shall look at that another time.

Why do organisations carry out group moves?

Usually, the decision to group move is the result of a requirement to reduce costs long-term. For example, consider the BBC's move out of London into Salford, or Deutsche Bank's transfer of staff from London to Birmingham. Both examples are clearly aiming to reduce overheads, generally through property and salary cost savings, but companies may opt to relocate to a region with a lower tax rate and make savings that way, e.g. Zug in Switzerland has a low corporate tax rate in order to attract business into the region.

Secondly, an organisation may relocate to be near to other industry hubs and can thus draw on the talent pool more readily, e.g. the technology hub in London’s EC1V postal district and "Silicon" roundabout, or the biotechnology hubs in San Francisco and Boston.

Undertaking a group move can be a costly business, so it is not a decision that should be taken lightly - there has to be a return on the investment.

We will shortly look in-depth at how a group move could be administered, so stay tuned.


Celsium is a relocation management company, head-quartered in the UK and providing relocation services globally to businesses relocating their employees. 

A full suite of relocation services is offered to fulfil the requirements of businesses and relocating employees, both domestically within the UK, and internationally to and from any location: orientation, homesearch, tenancy management, departure services, temporary accommodation, marketing assistance, purchase assistance, housing cost differentials, school search, area information guides, cultural training, language training, furniture and appliance rental, immigration, moving, expense management, group move management, policy build and benchmark, recruitment and tax services.

For more information about relocation and relocation policy, please email us.