Inside Relocation

a fresh perspective on all things relocation

Relocation: Strategic Planning Leads to Top Talent

Many companies, whether a small start-up or a big brand, believe they have a comprehensive relocation program, but in most cases, it is disconnected  from the rest of the company objectives.

But just throwing money at a so-called relocation program, with no coherent strategy, is unlikely to do anything for a company’s growth and revenue goals.

For many companies, relocation is a necessary evil – the programs are archaic, inflexible and create liabilities for both the employee and the company.  Or, there is virtually no program in place at all, thereby putting productivity and cash out on the line.

This is true of a massive number of companies, ranging from small entrepreneurial start-ups, to big corporate businesses.

The paradox is that most of these same companies would not think to execute the rest of their business activities on a whim, but carefully plan their activities to the smallest detail. They are scrupulous about tying results to marketing efforts, and meeting quarterly revenue goals.

When asked when was the last time they reviewed their relocation strategy, most say, “Strategy? What strategy? You mean program. We look at that all the time.” No, I am not referring to the policy or program, but the strategy, in that the way it is used to attract and retain top talent, and adding to the bottom line.  

Creating and managing a relocation strategy in this ad-hoc way, in the hope that you can continue to do what you’ve always done and get different results, is likely to be as effective as throwing money out the window, hoping that boomerangs back as doubling your ROI. It’s just not going to happen.

Strategic relocation can, and should, involve identifying your overall business goals, talent acquisition goals, and the platforms used to meet them. If you are a mid-cap company anticipating a large growth spurt over the next 1-3 years, then your relocation strategy needs to reflect what’s happening in today’s real estate market and talent market. If you are a Fortune 500 company looking to make a group move of say 100-200, or more, then your strategy needs to be flexible in all areas of your policy, especially if you are looking for 100% retention. It all depends on what you are trying to achieve.  

And when I say relocation strategy, I mean a structured, organized set of activities, for which you have planned, to help bring your relocation strategy to life. Relocation planning doesn’t have to be a necessary evil; it’s a great way to express an excitement and engagement with employees and new hires in an open, honest way, and it has to be properly coordinated in order to avoid the relocation disasters which have become so ubiquitous in the industry recently.

It is more realistic, and likely to provide more predictable results if you plan how to leverage your relocation strategy creatively, by collaborating with the executive teams that are impacted by relocation, such as Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Marketing and Finance.

Lastly, your relocation strategy must detail your People Strategy aims and objectives. The old adage of “what gets measured gets managed” comes into play here. Besides, if you don’t have a relocation strategy, how will you know when you’ve achieved your objectives?

Working with a large domestic company, the executive team came to me with a problem. They finally found a superb EVP candidate they wanted to bring in from the southeastern US to the Northeast. They had made the offer and he had accepted. But there was a hitch. Relocation benefits were never discussed, and once they began to delve into the candidate’s real estate situation, they then delved into his financial situation. And then they realized it was a bust. The company wasn’t prepared to spend the kind of money required to help the candidate make the move. After all the time (and money) spent on the search, and then offer negotiations, they came to  find out the candidate could not afford to accept the position. Case in point where relocation planning would have come in handy.

To conclude; yes, it is necessary to have some forethought around relocation, and yes, you could continue to throw money at your program and forget about it.  But if you are battling the War on Talent, your relocation strategy could mean the difference between maintaining status quo, and wildly exceeding any expectations.


November 10, 2010 Posted by | corporate relocation, relocation | , , | Leave a comment