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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Alexander Mann Solutions wins Cornerstone OnDemands sponsored categories at the TIARA 2020 Talent Solutions Awards
Here at Cornerstone, we absolutely love to hear inspiring stories and share them far and wide, especially when they are about talent management! We were recently headline sponsors of the TIARA 2020 Talent Solutions Awards. These annual awards, hosted by TALiNT International, celebrate excellence across the RPO, MSP and Talent Solutions marketplace, and recognise the wonderful ways companies are demonstrating exemplary growth, innovation and leadership. For 2020, it was the usual great awards with a bit of a difference. As we know, everything has now moved online – even this year’s Convergence! But this didn’t seem to impact the TIARA Talent Solution Awards at all. Despite not being able to celebrate face-to-face, the event was filled with laughter, engagement, and most of all, lots of fun! This year, we also supported the Best Use of Technology Award as well as the Overall Winner. The winner – triumphing in both categories – could not be more deserving, and so we duly wanted to pass on our huge congratulations to Alexander Mann Solutions! Alexander Mann was awarded the Cornerstone OnDemand Best Use of Technology Award for their brilliant ‘Find Your Fit’ technology solution. The platform offers users personal preferences and assisted future growth through interactive videos, personalised one-to-one calls, and a dedicated platform to match skills with current roles within the organisation. The solution had 1,200 employees enrolling within just six months of implementation and is continuing to improve every day. Find Your Fit helps employees to understand how their organisation functions better, including the areas that are growing the most rapidly. In turn, this helps employees to develop the skills they need in order to take advantage of these developments to enhance not only their personal career progression, but overall business performance. After all, businesses don’t innovate, people do! The judges commended this entry for “the clear way in which an innovative technology solution clearly delivered in results”. The judges also applauded Alexander Mann for demonstrating customer care by really listening to client’s individual challenges and using inventive technology solutions to help design a custom built solution that helps to support the overall internal career options and pathways available to each organisation. The award was accepted virtually by Stephen Gordon, Recruitment Tech Lead at Talent Collective/AMS. In addition to being awarded Best Use of Technology, Alexander Mann was also recognised as this year’s overall winner of the Talent Solutions Awards. Chair of Judges, Jim Richardson highlighted that “the overall winner is based on the organisation that consistently demonstrates excellence and innovation across all of its activities”. Both Peoplescout and Guidant Global were highly commended by the judges for their brilliant work, but ultimately, Alexander Mann took home the award for demonstrating consistently high standards across all areas. Jim Richardson added that although Alexander Mann has the resources to support many initiatives, it has still managed to deliver consistently on large scale and complex global projects. This is a phenomenally impressive achievement that all of us at Cornerstone also wish to say a huge congratulations for! The other winners and nominees from this year’s TIARA Talent Solutions Awards have highlighted more excellent work and brilliant stories across the recruiting sector and HR community. For the full list of winners, check out the TALiNT International’s September/October 2020 edition here.
Blog: Why HR need to lead the agile change journey
It's been going on for a while now - the shift towards more agile and flexible companies that quickly can adapt to the fast-changing times of today. Organisations that are unable to make this move are gradually losing competitiveness and finding it more difficult to prove themselves against smaller and faster players. Those who recognise the need and are able to create new conditions for the business, in the form of new structures, will survive and flourish in tomorrow's economic reality. Agile HR can be viewed from two different angles; How HR should work together within the HR team and what / how HR should deliver value to the business for which they exist. All HR processes that are part of Talent and People Management will be different when you start working agile, and each of the processes have their specific tools and working methods. Here we will look at HR from a more general perspective, to get an overall understanding of how the HR role, and the corresponding deliverables, change in a company that wants to increase its business agility. The goal is to focus on creating better workplaces through the development of teams and individuals, throughout the whole organisation. Small and medium-sized companies are easier to change, as they have less hierarchical structures, and often a more decentralised business, where everyone has an ability to make the decisions that need to be made, locally rather than centrally. The larger and more complex a company is, the more systems, processes, and structures there are that cannot be easily and quickly changed. Although it is possible to change a department in the organisation, some issues might remain that forces the department back into the central structures. This happens because it is not possible to isolate a specific part of the business. You can compare it to an attempt to change a rubber ball. It changes when it is being squeezed, but when you let go, it quickly returns to its old shape. However, there is one functional department in most large organisations that can influence all the other parts at once – HR. In many large companies, HR controls; ● Leadership programs and development ● Change management ● Organisational development ● Employee engagement ● Employee training and skills development ● Rewards and bonuses ● Recruitment ● Goal setting and performance reviews ● Long term mix of employees All these processes or areas flow through the entire organisation. These are the structures that can support, or prevent, a more radical change towards a more agile company. It all depends on HOW we work with processes and programs. They can be developed in a way that, paradoxically, prevents performance and commitment. Or they can optimise performance and employee satisfaction. HR struggles with criticisms, it is accused of being some kind of "organisational police", which hinders performance and commitment by implementing Talent management processes in a way that was intended to increase the same. This needs to change. HR has been in the back seat for too long and now it is time to take responsibility for a change in how to support the organisation. Because it is about people, and relationships between people, this is the key to how the company performs as a whole. It is the system that fundamentally needs to change, not the people. We do not need to do more things or implement complicated frameworks and methods. Instead, we need to understand how we can make it easier for people to make their best contribution to the company, by providing supportive structures, instead of hindering structures. It is through more experiments and by trying different working methods, that one can find the best path for each organisation, and each team/individual. Here, the agile principles and the agile mindset serve as a guide. Agile tools and frameworks work sometimes, but not always. The only way to continually improve is through constant learning, which also means that we sometimes fail. Companies that learn faster than others, and turn that knowledge into new ways of working for employees, but also new products and services for external customers, gain a competitive advantage and will be the winner of the future. HR has the power and the ability to design the structures that aim to either support or make it harder for employees to contribute in creative and innovative ways. If HR sticks to the old, traditional ways of working, the consequence will be rigid and non-agile organisations that use inefficient systems and processes. HR can either hinder or support the change, so HR must show the way. By providing opportunities for alternative and more agile working methods, and by focusing on value creation and value flows for the internal and by extension also external customers, HR can lead companies through changes that no other department is capable of. The next blog chapter will dive into HR's changing role.