Stockholm Subway Art/ Photo from visitstockholm.com / Photographer Victor Gårdsäter
Bringing new hires to Sweden is not always as easy and straightforward as one may think. There is remembering to follow all the legal rules set up by the Swedish Migration Agency. And doing everything you can to keep your new hire happy and stress free. Here are the 8 challenges that we see arise quite often for HR relocating employees to Sweden — and our suggestions for tackling them successfully..
- COST - Cost of living especially for housing is high in Sweden. If the compensation and benefits package doesn’t match the employee's expectations, the transfer often fails.
- CONFIRM YOUR COSTS AHEAD OF TIME, ESPECIALLY ON HOUSING – Get advice on current rental levels by a local expert. Large COLI (Cost of Living Index) institutes aren’t up to date on fast-moving markets. Check out our Housing Guide for more info on this. Set the right expectations from the start – a lot of people think they can rent a home in Sweden for a lot less than is actually possible.
- LEASE REQUIREMENTS NOT MET – A good example of this is when global policy states that the company will not support corporate leases. This is very problematic for the Swedish rental market, where a corporate lease is the norm. Most companies realize that the only way to truly support their new hire is to assist in every way to secure housing.
- SIGN A CORPORATE LEASE - Sign a corporate lease (important for the Swedish market) or change the components in the package offered to suit the local market. The expat may have to buy a property, in which case the relocation program should be adapted to cover that.
- LACK OF SPEED WITH REGARDS TO THE LEASE – The legal department at the company wants to review the lease and fails to understand how fast the Swedish market works, which can result in losing the property and having to start the home finding process all over again.
- PLAN & PREPARE CORPORATE LEASE PROCESS AHEAD OF TIME – get the legal team ready with a sample corporate lease before the home finding so you can act immediately once a property had been secured. Delays in signing the home lease often result in the home finding process having to be repeated - a time consuming process and unnecessary cost.
- TIMING – A move is initiated off-season making it difficult to move a full family without disrupting education and causing difficulties in sourcing properties off-season.
- PLAN YOUR TIMING APPROPRIATELY - Move people at the time of year that schools can accept the children and the housing market is active. Otherwise, you may need to try to find temporary accommodation which, in Sweden, is extremely difficult. Also, children tend to be happier when they move before the start of a new school year.
- PRE MOVE ASSESSMENT MISSED - Failure to really explore the situation of all parties involved to see if everyone is on board for the move.
- PLAN AN AREA ORIENTATION DAY. IT’S A GREAT INVESTMENT - Disgruntled partners and spouses are the most common cause of a failed relocation. Offer a local orientation day before signing the employment contract. Spending a full day together with a couple/family is very enlightening. It also allows the relocation company to raise the alert on any potential red flags issues that should be considered and dealt with before the relocation takes place.
- EXPAT CULTURAL CHALLENGES – The person relocating finds their new country difficult/annoying/hard to understand.
- GIVE CULTURAL TRAINING - Cultural training before and after arrival is key to making it easier for employees both personally and professionally, as well as being hugely beneficial to their families. We offer an online cultural training program here.
- TWO INCOME HOUSEHOLD REDUCED TO ONE - Altered and limited resources as a result of the loss of one income can create a significant challenge.
- FACILITATE SPOUSE’S CAREER WHEN POSSIBLE - Offer Career Spouse Assistance with resumé writing, language classes and a plan to get the spouse into the workplace, if desired. Sweden welcomes skills and while Swedish language is required in a lot of companies, it is also the home to many global firms where foreign backgrounds can be an advantage
- STRESS – The relocated employee is under strain and has psychological and physical health issues, which also lowers productivity during the first few months.
- OFFER WELLNESS ASSISTANCE - Establishing healthy habits and alleviating stress is hard when you do a cross-border move – we have developed a 12-week Healthy Relocation program to help.
We hope these solutions will help your transfer run smoothly. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us for a complimentary consultation.