Finland Relocation Services specialises in facilitating the relocation process for international staff coming to work for in Finland and Finnish people heading abroad. Photo: Heidi-Hanna Karhu

Finland Relocation Services: Business minded and big hearted

Research has shown that moving house ranks among one of our most stressful life events. Make that a move from one country to another and you will have most people tearing their hair out. Happily, however, help is at hand.

“We’re here to make the whole relocation process a whole lot easier,” Petri Lautjärvi, responsible for marketing and business development at Finland Relocation Services Oy, explains.

For around two decades now, the Espoo-based Finland Relocation Services has been helping companies make sure that their staff members’ international moves run smoothly and according to plan. They are the only business in Finland that specialises in relocation services.

“We were the first business to offer this sort of service in Finland and, for a long time, we remained the only service provider. In the 1990s, people weren’t really familiar with the term ’relocation’ and there still isn’t a straightforward Finnish translation for it, although there are now a number of similar words. People tend to talk about things like kansainvälinen liikkuvuus, asettautumispalvelu, maahanmuuttopalvelu and sopeuttamispalvelu,” Marjo Lautjärvi, Finland Relocation Services Oy’s CEO, points out.

Finland has taken a huge leap forward as a country in the past twenty years. Until fairly recently, people arriving in Finland struggled to obtain copies of official forms and other documents in English and had to conduct all their business in either Finnish or Swedish. These days, however, many places also offer services in English.

“Many people moving to Finland are positively surprised at how well people speak English. In France, for example, the situation can be very different indeed,” Petri Lautjärvi comments.

In fact, such is the standard of spoken English and so keen the locals to keep honing their skills, that expats can often be deterred from learning the language.

“We would always encourage everyone to at least pick up a few basic phrases, such as kiitos, anteeksi, hyvää päivää and näkemiin. Making that little bit of effort will always stand you in good stead, no matter where you are,” Marjo Lautjärvi says.

On your marks, get set… get your keys… go!

Finland Relocation Services Oy specialises in facilitating the relocation process for international staff coming to work for in Finland and Finnish people heading abroad. The package they offer includes everything from the physical and practical moving process to helping their clients get settled in their new environment. In addition, they are also happy to attend to a whole host of errands and other everyday tasks, whether big or small, on their clients’ behalf.

“We really do attend to everything imaginable, including property hunting, dealing with officialdom, finding childcare and sorting out pet vaccinations. I like to say that we provide a full service from the cradle to the grave. I have even attended at a birth,” Marjo Lautjärvi says.

Finland Relocation Services usually deal directly with the employers but they are also delighted to hear from private individuals. It is up to the client to decide at what point they want Finland Relocation Services to step in.

“We prefer to get stuck in as early as possible as people find it easy to adapt to their new circumstances as long as things keep going as expected. Expectation management is vitally important,” Petri Lautjärvi reveals.

The employer also decides how long the Finland Relocation Services contact person remains in contact with the client.

“We have the resources to make sure that our clients hit the ground running when they arrive. We hand them their house keys – along with a set of wings and off they fly. Usually, we will keep in touch for a couple of months but our clients are welcome to turn to us even after that. We also automatically get in touch whenever it’s time to renew any official paperwork. Some people prefer to have more support than others. What we set out to do is to furnish people with the tools and skills they need to help them settle in in their new home,” Marjo Lautjärvi explains.

Having access to information about their new destination and knowing what to expect in practical terms helps to alleviate the impact of any culture shock people might experience.

“It is vitally important that we inform our clients about the social conventions and communication styles as well as the social and organisational hierarchies that prevail in their destination countries. Armed with that information, people can embark on both their professional and social lives with a sense of confidence. You need to know how to communicate with people, otherwise you will run into difficulty.”

Happy wife, happy life

It takes a lot of skill and empathy to be able to relate to people from a number of different cultures in the correct way. Staff at Finland Relocation Services possess that happy knack.

“We need to make sure that our people are able to put themselves into our clients’ shoes. For that reason, all our staff have lived abroad themselves,” Marjo Lautjärvi says.

Relocation services are set to become more mainstream in the future. Already, both employers and employees recognise their utility and value. It is no longer necessary to persuade businesses that outsourcing their relocation services is a good idea. Both the employers and the movers themselves save a lot of energy with an external organisation attending to all the practicalities.

“The staff who relocate are fully productive from their first day onwards and our service will help to foster a sense of commitment to their new country of residence. High-quality relocation services also have a positive impact on the employer’s image. With the benefit of positive word of mouth, the organisation will find it easier to recruit next time they are looking for highly qualified staff internationally,” Petri Lautjärvi says.

A number of factors influence how the newcomers settle into their new country. For those making the move solo, the job matters much more than for people with families. In some ways children can also be useful in helping their parents to develop a sense of belonging in the new setting.

“The old adage of ’happy wife, happy life’ remains pretty accurate to this day. It is really important that the husbands and wives also feel settled. Whether they are looking to work, study or undertake some voluntary work during their time abroad, we are on hand to help them identify the best options for them. We really can’t overestimate the importance of finding something worthwhile to do.”

“You can’t live people’s lives for them but we do work hard to make sure that they have the opportunities they want and we also encourage them to exercise their own sense of curiosity,”

In their line of work, the staff at Finland Relocation Services witness at first hand how much smaller the globalised world has become. It no longer matters what country you are from.

“Work that involves human-to-human contact cannot be performed by a machine or gadget. People have a need to hear and be heard. Our relationships and social networks matter to us. Our job is to promote them and strengthen them,” Marjo Lautjärvi says by way of a conclusion.

Find out more: