How much does a failed assignment cost? A lot. According to this month’s Mobility Magazine, companies lose approximately $76,000 whenever a relocation is unsuccessful, after factoring in loss of productivity, cost of the move and recruiting expenses.

This can happen for any number of reasons, but often it stems from dissatisfaction with either the relocation itself or destination city. You can’t control every emotion and frustration your employees may have, but there are some things HR managers can do to identify good candidates for relocation, and how to help them prepare for their move and even get excited about their new city.

  • Discuss family priorities: Does the employee have any family members they’ll be leaving behind? How important is it to find the best school in their new home? It’s important to know what things the new city will need to provide to make sure the transferee and his or her family can be happy.
  • Is the new city drastically bigger or smaller from the current one? Moving from a metropolitan area to a small town – or vice versa – can be more of a shock than some people might expect. If it is, make sure it’s a change they could be happy with.
  • Other factors: Commute time, recreation, climate – these are all things that might not be immediately noticeable, but can chip away at a person’s overall wellbeing.

Once these questions have been answered, it’s important to ask if he or she is a good candidate for relocation. Any red flags could spell costly trouble down the road.

Should everything check out, there’s one additional step that can help ensure the success of his or her relocation – a pre-move trip. This gives employees a chance to visit their potential new city and get a better feel for the area. This trip should also include time to find a suitable home and orientation so they don’t feel lost, especially if it’s a city that’s significantly bigger than their current one. Relocation support should continue up to three to six months after the move so you can help address any concerns before they become a serious problem.

Most companies cut back on any relocation expense not absolutely mandatory in getting employees from Point A to Point B following the recent economic downturn. But while that may make short-term fiscal sense, what sounds better? Spending $2,000 for a pre-move trip and relocation support or spending $76,000 to hire a replacement after he or she announces the new city just isn’t working out? If you said the latter, we have a bridge to sell you.

Sometimes people leave a job after relocating for a better opportunity, but what’s more often the case is some type of personal reason. And often investing in additional support can mean big savings down the road.