Losing great candidates citing relocation constraint? Here’s how you can avoid it
Whether it is a high profile tech company like Infosys or Wipro or an established conglomerate like the Tatas, companies are having a hard time to keep the best and the brightest in the house. With millennial employees willing to relocate for a better job, HR has its job cut out. A recent survey found that young adults under the age of 35, senior executives, business owners, and unmarried adults are likely to consider relocation.
But, organizations need to evaluate how they can balance their relocation incentives with employee desires in order to fill key skill gaps. A failed relocation assignment doesn’t do anyone any good. It’s expensive and disruptive. And what might have started out as a positive experience could lead to a very unhappy employee or the loss of an employee.
HR needs to look beyond financial incentives to entice employees to relocate, underlining the need for companies to include alternatives in their relocation programs. Here are some of the factors to keep in mind while wooing outstation candidates:
Salary: When candidates consider relocation, they are not just looking for a hike in their salary. There will be compensation differences between cities depending on their Cost of Living Index. They become more pronounced when the candidate has to make the move from a Tier-II to Tier-I city, especially if they own a house where they live in. The double whammy of home loan EMIs and rent can take a toll and therefore these factors play a role in the candidate’s decision to join a company. It is important that the HR considers these important factors before they provide a salary offer: Cost of living differences, quality of living standards, benefits in new location etc. Show that you are willing to negotiate the salary, while emphasizing the company’s benefits and other perks such as flexible working hours, transportation facilities, training and development opportunities and paid time off.
Relocation Assistance: Moving homes especially to a new city is not an easy task especially when you have a family, children or your elderly parents living with you. One of the first things that a candidate who’s looking to move to another city will seek is relocation assistance. They will expect the company to cover expenses such as packing and moving, storage of belongings for a period of time, short-term lodging in the destination city, cost of moving vehicle, finding a home in the destination city etc. Keep these factors in mind while designing the relocation assistance. If your company does not provide relocation assistance, you could consider offering candidates a one-time joining bonus to take care of such expenses. You may also help them find a home quickly in the new city by introducing them to property dealers/agents etc. Moving to a new city isn’t easy and the relocation package will provide the candidate everything they need to know about the company’s culture.
Spousal Income: Organizations hoping to encourage employees to accept outstation assignments should consider an individual’s personal and professional situations from a holistic perspective. There will be a disruption in the household income level and also a discontinuity in the spouse’s career due to the relocation over a period of time. Spousal dissatisfaction, adjustment, and issues associated with his/her career development are the most common reasons for relocation failure. While no company has contractual obligation to provide spousal income, he/she plays an important role in the success of that job. Hence, it is in the company’s best interests that the HR addresses the spousal income issue. You can help by providing job search assistance, or introduce them to other employees who made the move as well; the new connections could help them find a job quicker. Put them in touch with networking resources or organize events and activities to make them feel more involved.
Provide Cost of Living Context: Cost of living is the amount of money it takes to sustain a certain level of living, including basic expenses for goods and services such as housing, transportation, food, clothing and household goods. We would recommend that the HR factors in the cost of living into the salary for the said location, before offering any kind of compensation. HR needs to gather data on housing, transportation, healthcare, groceries, utilities etc. and use that data to adjust the salary’s purchasing power as the cost of living differs from city to city. Remember, the candidate will look to at least match their current standard of living with the new salary and will want their compensation to adequately cover all the expenses in the new city.
Family Structure: Most relocation packages are focused on the financial aspects of the move. However, other factors such as care for the elderly & children’s education also heavily influence a candidate. Family interests pose crucial challenges and HR would do well to deal with them early on by asking a few key questions: Will the new city have social support structures that the candidate can rely on? Who will take care of their parents? Ask the candidate if they’ve been to the city before. As a hiring manager, you can help alleviate relocation concerns by being more flexible about the joining date or help them with finding the right school/college to tide things over.
Job relocation is a source of stress for the candidate. How the company handles the details will play a large part in determining what employees think about the experience down the road.