Don’t forget to include this critical component when relocating key talent!

Relocation can be a very stressful event, especially if there is a spouse and or children involved in the transition. Recently, I connected with Elizabeth Lions, a business coach, author, and leader in the community. When talking about the importance of a relocation for a company and the employee, she also mentioned the importance of including the trailing spouse. Elizabeth has experienced the long distance relocation journey, so I asked her to share some lessons we can all learn from in this week’s “A Relocation Minute”. 

Three Ways to Prepare and Comfort a Trailing Spouse

by Elizabeth Lions

You got the job!
But it so happens it’s 2,000 miles away, in an unknown city and you’ll have to move your family.
Now what?
Here are three ways to prepare and comfort your trailing spouse:

  1. Include in the move. By include, I mean every aspect. Don’t just dump the moving truck and packing on your spouse while you tie up loose ends. Include your spouse by engaging them in being excited about the change. Ask them or include them is some fun research. Look at the things you love to do in your hometown now and try to duplicate those treasured activities there. For example, if as a family you love the outdoors, find some cool trails that you can explore. If you like fine dining and art, look up the local hot spots. Find the common denominators now before you move. The transition will be easier.
  2. Listen to their fears. All sorts of strong feelings can surface the moment you announce that you are uprooting the family. Grief, resentment and isolation are common feelings for every trailing spouse. Take time to listen to them and allow them to sort out their feelings of fear. They have to let go of their life and follow your career path. Be overly sensitive and not swept up in your promotion. If you are unavailable to provide support, find them someone that can help them work through their feelings. It won’t’ be good if you are trying to start a new job and your mind is back at home, worrying about how they are coping with a new day in a new city.
  3. Team Effort Remember, The trailing spouse now is in a precarious position. There is an imbalance in the couple which will be pronounced due to financial dependence. The trailing spouse may have to give up their own job, status and established position in order for you to move ahead. This can be humbling in the best case and cause divorce in the worst case. Balance the scales when you divide up duties around the move. Give them support and help them find resources to get back to work after the family is settled. Using words like we and team and never using ‘I’ goes a long way during the transition.

Lastly, remember this is just transition. If you were to map your whole life on a radar screen from the time you were born to the time you die, this transition doesn’t even make a blip on the screen. Try not to have this life transition chew up your marriage, but instead make it an adventure for the entire family.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Elizabeth. If you or someone you know would like to connect with Elizabeth, check out her website www.elizabethlions.com or send email to Elizabeth.lions@gmail.com. You will enjoy connecting with her!

Call to action: A great relocation starts with great communication. Ask your employee what you might do to help make the transition smooth for the spouse/family, then reach out to your moving partner for options. It could make the difference for a successful relocation.

This has been “A Relocation Minute” on “Trailing Spouse” with Bruce Waller, for more information on relocation resources call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com.
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