What are the Top 5 points an employer should consider with a self-move by a relocating employee? Usually a self-move occurs when an employer offers a Lump Sum payment in their relocation program. In traditional Lump Sum relocation programs, relocating employees receive a specific amount of funds for relocation. They also work with a Relocation Management Company (RMC) to select the services they want to use for relocation, within the parameters of their employer’s relocation policy. Some relocating employees may choose to use their lump sum payment to arrange a self-move.

What does a Self-Move Entail?

A self-move may include the relocating employee and others such as their family members doing any number of the following physical tasks:

  1. Packing boxes
  2. Disconnecting appliances and electrical equipment
  3. Lifting and moving furniture and appliances
  4. Loading items into a truck or vehicle
  5. Driving long distances
  6. Unloading items from a truck or vehicle
  7. Unpacking boxes
  8. Reconnecting appliances and electrical equipment

Considering these tasks, any number of them could result in injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illness by Industry, most occupational injuries that employers log and report fall into one of these three categories:

  1. Sprains
  2. Cuts
  3. Fractures

A self-move could easily result in similar injuries to a transferee or one of their family members. It is easy to imagine such injuries if you have any experience with moving anything yourself.

Top 5 Points an Employer Should Consider About Self-Move

Looking at the tasks and logistics of a self-move, an employer should consider whether it is a good option to allow relocating employees to direct their own moves. Points to consider include:

  1. Potential for injury to the employee or their family member and resulting claims
  2. Loss of employee productivity due to the self-move
  3. Liability against the company that may result from unforeseen incidents
  4. Declining employee morale if company culture is seen as uncaring
  5. Public relations issues for any catastrophic occurrences

What Does This Mean?

Employees and their family members may be at risk of injury during a self-move. Employers may have liability for any issues that otherwise could have been preventable. Morale may decline if employees perceive the company does not care for their well-being.

What Should Employers do?

Employers should consider the potential for any risks that may arise if a transferee chooses to self-move as part of their Lump Sum relocation program. They should consider the duty of care they owe to employees who are managing a self-move. Employers should work with a qualified RMC with the knowledge and experience to help them examine issues, risks, and concerns. As a result, employers will reduce risks to relocating employees and their family members.


GMS’ team of global relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients develop relocation programs to ensure successful moves for transferring employees. Our team can help your company understand how to reduce risks to employees and their family members that may result from a self-move.

GMS was the first relocation company to register as a .com. The company also created the first online interactive tools and calculators, and revolutionized the entire relocation industry. GMS continues to set the industry pace as the pioneer in innovation and technology solutions with its proprietary MyRelocation™ technology platform.

Global Mobility Solutions is proud to be named and ranked #1 Overall, and #1 in Quality of Service by HRO Today’s 2019 Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Contact our experts online to discuss your company’s relocation program and issues relating to employee self-move, or give us a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.

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Senior Vice President, Domestic Services Nancy has over 35 years of experience in the real estate and relocation arena. Her real estate, relocation, and management experience is exceptional. She is responsible for the leadership, training and mentoring of new and existing coaches, ensuring the team is delivering the highest levels of customer service possible. Nancy holds the Certified Relocation Professional (CRP) designation.

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