This post may seem to have a focus around HR's vacation time and it does in fact. HR in Global Mobility roles work extremely hard and peak season is during the vacation period which, for many, means interruptions throughout their holidays. We hope that this Yearly Planner will give you a better chance to take time off for real. Since, we have after 25 years in the business, figured out an ideal planning schedule and this can work well for you too. Moving staff is an intricate exercise and being able to plan it well is as important as any of your other tasks.
JANUARY - HR relax and plan period
After Christmas, we see a number of family moves and they usually adjust their arrival to the school year so their children will get a full school term which typically starts the 2nd week of January. That means HR needs to stand ready with Employment Certificates and to support on practical matters for local registrations and daycare.
Usually, this is taken care of by experts like ourselves, and that makes January a fantastic time for HR to have internal meetings, plan for the year, set up the necessary processes and to see that you are fully staffed to handle the goals.
It’s good to be prepared so you are not understaffed for too long, obviously, this depends on the general economy. Yet, it happens everywhere and here are some hacks to handle the bridge periods of being short of staff and holiday seasons.
FEBRUARY - The school is the first piece of the puzzle
Key personnel who move to Sweden with a family are often counting on International schools to be their solution. Yet, the queues can be very long, and for planning purposes, make sure to apply early for next term to stay ahead of others. Without the school placement taken care of the whole move can be delayed or even canceled later in the year leaving an important role unfilled.
MARCH - Work Permits
Even though we can offer fast work permits it’s still good to be ahead of the game. Depending on which type of permit you are looking for, different timelines will apply. During the holiday season, there are delays so again plan early and set the ball in motion so you have a firm and realistic start date.
APRIL - Plan for the vacation period and give a heads up to your Relocation Company
This is the time to oversee the staffing in the HR department and plan for the summer. New talents tend to come during the summer period before school starts. Coincidentally, this is when you’d like to go on vacation, which is entirely doable if you have made a good handover well in advance to your relocation company.
Talents are often told that work-life balance is great in Sweden and now the proof is in the pudding!
Can you go on holiday and still provide a great welcome?
Planning is the key. Not only the local HR team needs to plan, but your new recruit does too and the number of questions that need to be answered is bountiful. Understaffed government agencies will demand early planning to ensure a great welcome. We have a free online program to help new recruits succeed and you will find it here. It’s called Professional Inspiration and this course can help alleviate stress and increase cultural awareness along with a healthy relocation which can inspire new habits.
MAY - Home Finding is essential and the authorities are slowing down
Already in May, the many long weekends make life a little bit difficult in a busy season.
After Easter, whenever it happens, the housing market gets busy and it will die down the third week in June. This is a fairly short window of opportunity and needs to be used fully.
After having engaged in the war of talent you are now in the war for housing. Don’t expect the housing to get less expensive as the season matures, it’s the opposite. To be late into the season will require a lot more from you both in terms of having a smaller selection and higher prices. You may have to pay for things you wouldn’t have had to earlier in the season.
In May the shorter weeks do influence the speed at which local government compliance can be handled. This is when the winter planning comes in handy.
Even HR needs a proper vacation and companies with high volume recruitment or where the HR team is small means that you have to work hard now, but it’s also important to get time off. Read here for some ideas on how to have a relaxing holiday.
It can seem over the top to start planning the summer move-outs already now, yet you will be happy that you did. You have to coordinate the moves around everyone’s holiday schedule, a task that can give anyone grey hair. Cleaning companies and movers are very busy during this period and last summer we saw a slow decision on a move quote causing an increase in the price by 35%. The movers were fully booked by the time to confirmation came and alternate options, read more expensive ones, had to be found. There's lots of money to save on good planning at this time of year.
JUNE - Wrap things up BEFORE your holiday
Now things are really getting urgent if you want that relaxing vacation to happen. You will need to pull out all the data needed, and supporting documentation, before your holiday. Many companies have complex systems and not everyone has access, make sure to do your part before you leave and also ensure that your colleagues do the same or you will be the one to try to sort it out while they are away.
Here are some useful information to share with your new recruits so they know what to expect during the summer months. This is when you need to arrange for who does what and when?
Unless everyone in your office has the same capabilities it’s high time to prepare your relocation company for what you want them to do while the HR team is on a skeleton crew. That way only real emergencies need to be attended during this time.
Create clear processes, document them and share them with vendors, partners, colleagues, and your new employees that you are welcoming to your office.
When you deal with authorities who have their own puzzle to deal with and vacation time vacancies you have to cover all bases on what they may ask for beforehand. To do things thoroughly is extra important when time is a key asset.
JULY - Be available for lease signing, rental payments, and deposits
During July fast action is needed and to get a lease signed right away is crucial. If you don’t offer relocation services and employee is expected to handle this on their own this is the month where scams are the most common. At this point, they have already lost a lot of properties as corporate leases are preferred by landlords and they may jump into bad situations. We see this every year and to support and coach them during this period is important.
If you Snooze you loose
It becomes very real for these recruits and it’s good to have a plan B for them in case of need. What is your policy? Do you pay for a hotel or corporate apartments in case they are unable to find something or have lost money on scams? It’s a good idea to have thought this through and have a clear idea on the plan of action.
Most companies do sign leases and landlords are especially impatient during the summer as they are also typically on holiday at this time. It’s often a race and landlords will set ultimatums such as “unless you sign by noon I will give the property to someone else” as tenant prospects are easily replaceable. Have someone ready to sign right away even during July and make sure that a person has a Power of Attorney to sign for the company in case the person isn’t on the official records as a sole signatory. This is where you need to be part of the solution.
The relocation company is also there to detect scams and find safe rentals to safeguard your employee’s success in the market. To get the best support engage them right away so they can follow the process and scam proof it rather than asking for emergency damage control.
Plan for rental payments early, some countries have very high transaction costs for international payments, how about Brazil charging 22% of the amount as a fee! Often help is needed and it’s good to have planned this to have systems or a relocation company in place that will handle it quickly.
The biggest move in and move out days of the year is the month end of July and August 1st.
AUGUST - Welcome your newbies and be prepared for some problems
It’s showtime for the recruits, the recruiters, the teams and HR. The local registrations take a long time and can cause quite a bit of frustration not least when the banks are slow to open accounts so the salary can be paid out. It can actually take many weeks and while it’s not practical or even acceptable on any level it’s been a reality for a couple of years. Workarounds need to be in place for a smooth arrival and here are some ideas for useful exceptions to make things work.
For a successful onboarding, a day of orientation can be offered around not only what happens in the office but around all the things that will make life fantastic in Sweden. You can do a lot in a few hours, explain how things are in schools, how the medical system works, what rules of conduct are in place in apartment buildings and all the silent agreements people have in all countries and what is specific for Sweden. A lot of companies order this service from a relocation company or they do it inhouse as part of their onboarding program and we see great results from that. It makes a big difference for the people that move.
A warm welcome is essential and for inspiration click here and hopefully you will something that would work for you and our team.
SEPTEMBER - Your talents are slowly getting settled
Finally, most of your team is back at work and the overflowing inboxes are emptied and life goes back to normal. There are some administrative tasks left and the last few years a relocation process has become far longer due to administrative overload at the authorities and it will take us 3-4 months longer to have everything in place.
Some people have a hard time getting into the groove after summer so we have some tips on how to do it here and we also offer a free online course to give to your talented newbies so they can be as structured as their local colleagues. Get some MOJO into their lives and yours if you want to join.
OCTOBER - Recruiters are working to get the new batch of talents to arrive in January
You will have a nice breather for a few weeks before the new pile of work permits needs handling for the talents that will start after the new year. At this point, you know what is needed and you can plan well for Christmas. Many expats leave at the end of the year to be replaced by the new talents who come in January. It’s a mini peak season.
This means that there are many move-outs and some of them can take place right before Christmas or the days in between. The utility subscriptions often have 3-month notice so it’s good to review those now to be closed down without additional costs.
Brief the employees who are leaving on expectations for their departure. Handover condition of the property and the compliance pieces can be prepared now. More than one Christmas holiday has been filled with complaints and calls between landlord and tenant on the cleaning and condition of the apartment or house. This isn’t the spirit you want your employees to leave with. This can work very well with some preparations and now is the time to start. “The move out starts with the move in” is a saying in our office and this mindset has saved many headaches for us.
To have a swift departure is part of the employer branding and to have a great goodbye is part of that not only for HR but also for the company and Sweden. Helpful HR is a true asset and goes a long way in these situations.
NOVEMBER - Express handling of work permits for next year
Even companies without collective agreements with a union will need a union opinion as part of the process and this can take a bit of time.
While we have a fast track option for the application (10 days) there are other requirements which also take time and have to be processed before a recruit can legally and safely come to Sweden.
Depending on where the applicants come from, the processing time will differ in regards to the additional requirements such as leaving biometrics and getting the residence card. Some can come to Sweden to do it while others can’t. This is when you have to liaise closely and EARLY with your immigration specialists so you can map out a timeline for the perfect arrival date. There are workarounds and timely deployment is essential for most companies.
DECEMBER - New colleagues arrive after Christmas
The next exciting period this year is to welcome your new colleagues while Sweden is quite closed. While authorities are usually open, the opening hours are limited and the number of people working are as well which results in a lot of OUT OFFICE replies.
Just like in the summer, the December moves should be prepared in advance for a swift departure.
Again, plan the welcome and know who is in place and what needs to get done. The power of attorneys are great to have and whoever is in charge of the welcome should have the authority to act without delay. The teamwork between colleagues can provide a wonderful welcome even during the holidays.
If you are a small HR team then the relocation company is your obvious go-to so brief them early so they know what to expect for advance planning.
Prepare a nice list of activities for your recruits on where to see the best fireworks, Christmas movies, restaurants, ice skating and other fun things and for families. You can download our guide to get a list of nice activities to do with children. This will give your recruits an enjoyable first couple of weeks of their stay, and a calm end of the year for you.
If you’re planning to bring foreign talent to Sweden, navigating an unfamiliar culture and immigration process can slow you down. Thankfully, Nimmersion’s Immigration Guide to Bringing Foreign Talent to Sweden is here to help. Let’s get your new talent down to business.