Relocation as a Strategy to Lure Candidate Talent

The current recruitment landscape has forced employers to pursue candidate centric hiring and consider talent outside their geo targets. A candidate centric approach puts the needs of the candidate first and focuses on building relationships with talent who are a quality fit for an organization. Traditional recruiting is employer centric and puts the company’s needs first, but the state of the current job market and low unemployment has altered this dynamic. Because candidates are now in control, they are able to be selective and may accept or reject a job offer based on their overall candidate experience. To broaden their talent pool, many employers are opting to offer relocation services to lure top candidates, especially to regions and industries where recruitment is highly competitive.

Career mobility programs have gained momentum with remote work options being built around satellite city hubs with scheduled in person face time built into an individual’s work schedule. At LLoyd, we are also seeing employers of all sizes willing to structure remote cultures rather than convince employees to uproot their lives and relocate. However, at Steinway Moving & Storage, LLoyd’s strategic partner for corporate relocation services and leadership contractors, business remains steady for employee relocations, particularly for Gen X workers who are the most likely of any age group to agree to relocate. An Indeed Survey reported that 65% of those born between 1965 and 1979 were willing to move for a new position, providing they liked the relocation city/state.  Even more recently, a OnePoll survey revealed that 75% of knowledge workers would leave the major cities they currently reside in if they could perform their work as well living elsewhere.

Matt Schwartzberg, Steinway’s President notes that moving is regarded as one of life’s most stressful experiences, surpassed only by death and divorce. Schwartzberg’s firm wants to remove stress from the relocation experience for both the candidate and the employer. “Our goal is to help companies get their recent hires into their new homes seamlessly so that their focus can be on making an immediate impact without distractions or disruptions to personal workplace productivity.”

Employers who build a relocation plan into their Talent Acquisition strategy must do their due diligence to provide the big picture to candidates so that they can make an informed decision. Surveys show that the better the candidate experience, the greater the chance of accepting. Employers must know the average cost of living for their region including housing costs (for renters, buyers, maintenance, insurance), groceries, dining out, recreation, medical care, household and personal goods, transportation (licenses, taxes, vehicles, insurance, fuel, commutation) and income and sales tax.

A PWC study revealed that less than half of all enterprise employers have a formal mobility plan/policy.   Basic features of a Relocation Program include:

  • Reimbursement expenses associated with the physical move including packing, moving and storage in the destination city
  • Reimbursement for move-related property transactions (real estate fees, some or all of the closing costs)
  • Any costs relating to turning on/off of utilities at both ends of the move
  • The cost of moving one or more vehicles

Optional but typically negotiable items include:

  • Costs for house hunting trips (usually one or two)
  • Transportation Costs to the destination city and/or car rentals
  • Temporary housing varying from 30 to 90 days
  • Storage fees for household goods until the new residence is ready

Matt Schwartzberg notes that most small companies offer lump sum payments to their new employee and some have preferred vendor programs catering to executive level and title – for example pack and unpack are more likely for C-Suite hires. His firm provides a Move Coordinator who is the employee’s move manager and in tiered programs there may also be a Concierge who helps unpack, organize and set the new home up efficiently.   An employee who is given a lump sum, which is a popular strategy, chooses his or her own moving firm and pricing is determined by weight of shipment, destination, packing and so. Schwartzberg indicates that the bulk of employee relocations happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day to accommodate school schedules when younger children are involved.

His firm, Steinway Movers, does local, regional and national moves and handles storage around the country, especially when there is a short term home (temporary residence) and then a final destination upon closing.  Candidates who have lived through a relocation process are quick to tell you that you should know exactly what the company will cover before accepting an offer because afterward it will be too late to negotiate. Candidates are usually asked to sign a relocation contract or repayment agreement indicating that if they leave their new employer or are fired with cause, before a certain amount of time (generally two years), they will be required to repay the money spent to relocate them. One satisfied candidate told us, “There is no better time for a new employer to show you how much they value you than at the time of a relocation discussion. It will tell you a lot about their culture and employee value proposition and offers insight on how you are likely to be treated once employed!”

Any kind of career move involves some level of risk, when relocation is part of that, the risk grows in size. But job candidates may want to think about this quote attributed to Nelson Millarspeaks a leading networking blogger as they make their decision.

“If you don’t take risks, you will always work for someone who does.”

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