To retain highly-valued employees, many companies give employees the option to work from home, leave work early to attend their kids’ choir performance or, if they so choose, practically live at the office filled with gourmet meals, a gym and massages. But it doesn’t stop there: when employees want to move to a new city, companies are accommodating employees by providing a slew of relocation options or even the possibility to open a new office. It’s all in the name of avoiding the loss of a top-performing employee to another company.
While relocating employees can be expensive for companies, it can be well worth it to retain the best employees. Every year $9.3 billion is spent in the U.S. on corporate relocation, according to Worldwide ERC.
Let’s take a look at three ways that companies cater to employees’ desires to work from different geographic locations.
Whether an employee wants to move to be near his hometown, to be in the same city as his significant other or to explore new territory, companies often are eager to keep top-notch talent, even if that means keeping them in a new city. While 37 percent of relocations are new hires, 64 percent are current employees, according to Worldwide ERC.
Tech companies and consulting firms often have the flexibility to let employees switch offices since they have many offices and clients spread across the country. Bain & Company, the global consulting firm with offices in 32 countries, has a global mobility program that allows and even encourages employees to transfer between offices. When employees experience a new city and lifestyle, the exposure to cultural diversity advances them in their career development immensely, Eliza Scherrer, U.S. global mobility strategy leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, told Forbes. "[Encouraging location transfers] will help a company build loyalty. It will help you retain your people and it will grow them into better leaders tomorrow," she says. "All of that brings value to an organization."
Darci Darnell, partner who has worked in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and London Bain offices, has been able to expand her horizons and learn how to deal with multiple cultures. "The opportunity to call up the chief talent officer and say, 'I'm interested in doing something different' and for him to say to you, 'That's amazing. Take out your map,'" Darnell says in a Bain video. "[That's] an extraordinary moment in your career, a moment when the world is your oyster."
Opening New Offices
Similarly, San Francisco-based PR firm LaunchSquad allows employees to relocate to its New York, Boston and Detroit offices. All four of these offices were in fact started by a go-getter employee who wanted to live in a new city. The clients and additional employees grew from there, according to LaunchSquad. But not just any employee can open a new office. The employee must exhibit independence and leadership and have the skills necessary to be an office leader.
For example, one of LaunchSquad’s top employees, who had been with the company for a long time and had become an office leader, decided to move to Detroit, and the company wanted to retain her, according to LaunchSquad. Thus the Detroit office was borne.
"If we have loyal employees who are far enough along in their development and can work independently, we let them work from where they need to," says Meghan Cavanaugh, vice president of talent at LaunchSquad.
Enabling employees to transfer to other offices or even open new offices with the right expertise and leadership qualities has benefited LaunchSquad in keeping their employees happy and in recruiting high-quality talent. Many new hires in their San Francisco office are transplants and eventually want to go back to the East Coast. During the interview process, candidates are often told that after a couple of years with the company, they could relocate to the New York or Boston office if they want. On the flip side, employees who grew up in the Bay Area have the option to experience life on the East Coast by working from a different office for several years.
When employees relocate to a different office or open a new office for long-term expansion, they often generate new ideas and innovate because of their change in environment. The same benefit can be generated for employees who aren’t looking to relocate by sending them on a work-cation — that is, a vacation where employees work together from a new locale.
Take Dimagi, a mobile app development company with projects in more than 25 countries. To escape the extreme winter in the Boston offices, employees decided the ideal solution was to work from another country for several weeks. And so the Away Month program was born. Fourteen Boston-based employees were invited to the first Away Month in 2012 in Sao Paolo.
"The employees were driving this, and I wanted to support them," Jonathan Jackson, Dimagi’s CEO, told Inc. "From a business-development perspective, getting a better understanding of South America and scouting potential partners there made sense. But I wanted people to know that this wasn't just a way to party down in Brazil. They needed to be able to communicate with the team at home, and remote clients as well."
Employees who worked from Brazil said that they felt a deeper personal connection with their colleagues after the trip and developed energy and new innovations that wouldn’t have happened in Boston. After the great bonding experience, Dimagi hosted a second Away Month this year in Guatemala. One notable difference was that the company had grown to 80 employees, and the number of employees who traveled to Guatemala was three times the number that traveled to Brazil. The work-cation was just as successful as the first one. Employees generated new ideas and got a better understanding of their international markets.
"Away Month is an opportunity to promote a lot of ad hoc work discussions outside of the office and between different groups, more so than we do when we’re at home," Jackson said.
Whether employees are relocating permanently or for a month, switching environments causes employees to think outside the box and engage with colleagues in a new context.
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4 Ways to Expand Your Social Media Recruiting Strategy
Social media is ubiquitous, and companies are using it in many different and innovative ways for enhancing their sales, marketing and customer services. So why is it then that many HR departments still fail to see social media as more than a job board? Outside of the office, the same HR people happily engage with friends on Facebook, share news and ideas on Twitter, look at pictures on Instagram and send snaps on Snapchat. But when they put their work hat on they seemingly forget why they use social in the way they (and hundreds of millions of other users) do every day, and resort back to just posting jobs (in a boring way) on social media! Of course there is nothing wrong with job posting, and it's often an effective approach to reaching an audience, but not all of the time. According to LinkedIn, only 12 percent of the working population are actively seeking new employment. So, if all you do is post jobs on your LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook page, you are consciously ignoring the other 88 percent of the working population who might be interested in hearing more about your company in general. Creating and sharing interesting content about your company such as employee stories or volunteer days help bring your employer brand to life. It might even trigger people to reach out to you and find out more about your job opportunities. In truth, mixing up your social media feeds with a variety of content will provide more depth and candidate engagement. Here are four ways to expand your social media strategy and engage with new potential candidates. 1) Candidate Sourcing With people using an average of more than five social networks, sourcing talent via social media makes absolute sense. Branch out from just using LinkedIn and look to sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to search for and engage with prospective talent. Try search tools like Followerwonk to search Twitter bios for keywords and job titles, a clever Chrome browser extension called Intelligence Search that easily searches Facebook and using the search bar at the top of Google+. They will help you identify new talent. If you are looking to build social media pipelines then try Hello Talent. It is a great free tool that allows you to build talent pipelines from many different social networks by using a browser extension. 2) Competitor Monitoring Social media is a fantastic source of information and data. By using tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, you can monitor the social media activity of your competitors. Both of these tools allow you to set up search columns, where you can enter things like keywords, hashtags, Twitter names and track when any of these are mentioned on sites such as Twitter. You can use the interact or use the insights accordingly. 3) Resources for Candidates Consider your Facebook page (or Twitter channel) as a real-time customer services channel for you to engage and communicate with both new and existing candidates in the recruitment process. Provide links to your social media pages to candidates at all stages in the process and encourage them to visit the pages and ask questions about any part of the process. You can also share useful information about working for the company, including locations, employees and other relevant news. 4) Live Recruitment Events Not everyone can attend the many recruitment events happening every month. But by using social media like Twitter, Facebook Live, Instagram and Snapchat, you can easily provide live commentary for these events you attend or host. Real-time video via Facebook Live and interaction via Twitter chats are superb examples of ways to regularly engage with a live audience of potential candidates. With social media firmly established in our working lives, I question how much more evidence HR departments will need to fully embrace this "new" form of candidate engagement. Photo: Twenty20
Cartoon Coffee Break: Unconventional Recruiting
Editor's Note: This post is part of our "Cartoon Coffee Break" series. While we take talent management seriously, we also know it's important to have a good laugh. Check back every two weeks for a new ReWork cartoon. Missed the Recruiting Trends conference? From the state of recruiting automation adoption, to the role that the human element still plays in recruiting, our recap covers everything you need to know. Header photo: Creative Commons
The Latest Office Benefit Is Tackling Student Debt
Modern companies are more than just employers — increasingly, they are also gyms, cafeterias and even laundromats. As perks like yoga class, free lunch and complimentary dry cleaning become the norm, companies continue to push the boundaries on ways to attract and retain top talent by providing much more than a paycheck to employees. The latest in the slew of new workplace benefits? Student loan assistance. In April, Chegg partnered with Tuition.io to give full-time employees extra cash for student loan reduction. Then in September, consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers announced it would provide up to $1,200 to help employees pay off loans annually. As a benefit, student loan assistance programs are certainly still in their infancy— one survey found that only 3 percent of companies offer such a benefit. But experts say that may soon change as companies seek to differentiate themselves in a competitive hiring environment. "We think student loan benefits are poised to be the next big benefit; similar to what 401(k) matching was when it was first introduced," says Dana Rosenberg, who leads employer and affinity group partnerships at Earnest, a lender that offers student loan refinancing and works with companies to create loan pay-down programs. The Burden of Student Debt Such programs could be extremely attractive to debt-laden Millennials. Around 40 million Americans collectively carry $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, and the graduating class of 2015 was the most indebted class in history with an average debt of $35,000 (a superlative they won't hold for long come May 2016.) For employers looking to adjust benefits to correspond to the changing demographics of their employee base, student loan programs hit the mark. "In 2016, our employees will be 80 percent millennials, and we also hire close to 11,000 employees directly out of school each year," says Terri McClements, Washington Metro managing partner of PwC. With student debt often preventing young people from participating in 401(k) plans and reaching traditional life milestones, the benefit could potentially make a large impact on employees' financial and personal well-being. A study from the American Student Association found that 73 percent of people with student loans reported putting off saving for retirement or other investments due to their debt, 75 percent reported delaying a home purchase and 27 percent reported it was difficult to buy daily necessities. "Student loans can be a very stressful thing to deal with, so if we can give our employees peace of mind, that's great," says Caroline Gennaro, corporate communications manager at Chegg. The Allure for Employers Student debt assistance programs aren't just attractive to employees, either. Rosenberg says there are significant benefits for the organizations that offer them as well. "Employers that offer programs to help their employees get out from under their debt load are seeing big benefits: increased retention, more competitive recruiting and, perhaps most importantly, happier employees who have additional cash flow to put towards their life goals," Rosenberg explains. Rosenberg says happier employees are more engaged employees, who tend to be more productive. Studies show that companies with high employee engagement experience lower turnover and have double the rate of organizational success than their less-engaged counterparts. Student loan benefit programs may also lead to a more diverse workforce, attracting employees whose financial backgrounds meant they had to take on more debt for their education. "Diversity and inclusion are also very important to us, so the ability to offer this benefit can help minorities who come out of school with a higher debt burden," says McClements. A Promising Response Companies say the response to their student loan assistance programs have been overwhelmingly positive. Chegg has had more than 80 people sign up since they started their program this summer, and they've already eliminated roughly 86 years of collective loan repayments for their employees. Companies are also finding these programs are a way to differentiate themselves from organizations that may offer more generic benefits. "As a company in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are always looking to attract the best and brightest in the industry, and this benefit is a big draw," says Gennaro. Photo: Shutterstock