Failure to communicate relocation options can create a retention problem
- Employees who aren't aware of their company's relocation and mobility options are taking their talent elsewhere, according to the Mobility in Focus: Identifying the Talent-Mobility Disconnect report, an online survey of 1,000 professionals by Wakefield Research for Topia, a global mobility management company. Of the 99% of employers that offer relocation or transfer programs, only about 40% of their workers said they don't know about these programs or their employer doesn't offer them. Topia concluded that poor internal communication created the disconnect between what employees know and what employers offer.
- Topia said that besides fueling turnover, the disconnect also prevents employers from building a leadership team from within. Of the respondents polled for the report, more than a fifth said they've left a job because they were denied the chance to transfer to a new location at the company. More than half of those who considered leaving said they would reconsider quitting for a chance to relocate, even if they weren't given more pay or additional benefits.
- The time and cost involved in setting up a relocation and transfer program, known as global mobility management (GMM), can challenge HR executives, who Topia said spend 28 hours a month on administrative tasks associated with relocation. The company said, however, that advancements in GMM technology can help resolve some of the time and costs.
Employers often relocate or transfer employees, even new hires, to open a new operation, to replace a departing executive or to fill a skills gap elsewhere in their organization. Shuffling staff can be a wise strategy in a tight labor market, allowing employers to avoid the expensive external hiring process. And some employees are seeing a transfer as a career boost or even a benefit. Julie Knight-Ludvigson, Topia CMO, previously told HR Dive that mobility is becoming an attraction tool. But to work as a viable benefit, relocations must align with workers' career goals and not just an organization's staffing needs.
Some recent research has challenged the idea that workers have hopes to transfer to a new location. The Census Bureau has reported that only 11% of workers transferred in 2011, compared with 20% in 1985. A Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. study found that fewer workers, including job seekers, are willing to pack up and leave their current locations to work elsewhere — and in a tight labor market, workers call the shots. Technology may also affect this trend, as it allows people to work online almost anywhere for an organization that accommodates remote work.
While these reports may indicate that workers aren't keen on moving from Chicago to Shanghai, they don't go against Topia's findings that employees want to move up or around within their current companies. They're so willing, in fact, that many workers will take a promotion without a pay raise.