How to Use Data-Enabled Relocations to Compete for Talent

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Feb 16, 2017

There has been a lot of focus on big data and the importance of using it to power a more efficient relocation program.  However, what we lack are practical insights and advice for actually executing such a program. We need to go beyond just analyzing cost metrics at a high level, and start digging into the data to identify trends that power forward-thinking decisions and initiatives. By finding the right cadence for analyzing data that helps us evaluate the progress of our relocation programs, we can take a more proactive approach to using data to predict trends and mitigate risk.

It is only when we know what data to evaluate, how (and how often) to evaluate it, and understand how to best convey key points to stakeholders, that we can truly grasp the power of our data. Once this is achieved, employers and their HR departments will have the power to uncover information that dramatically improves the success of an employee relocation program, while amplifying recruiting efforts at the same time.

Luckily, it doesn’t take a seasoned data scientist or a team of analysts to capture and analyze data. By knowing where to look and how to communicate the findings, we all have the ability to unlock valuable insights from our metrics and add another powerful tool to our HR toolbox.

Sourcing Data From Your Current Workforce

The amount of information we have available at our fingertips is remarkable — but what we need is the knowledge for how to tap into it. Your current workforce, from employees who recently relocated to employees who have been with you for years, houses a wealth of information. The hard part is finding a way to properly capture, analyze, and maintain that data’s quality, along with compiling it in a way that’s valuable and easy to digest.

The best place to get started is by involving your current workforce to serve as a lifeline for future relocating employees, empowering them with the information they need to make educated decisions ahead of time. Think of it this way: when you imagine the process of moving to your current city,  you probably found the best neighborhoods to live in and figured out the best routes of transportation after a few months of being in the area. But, by taking a proactive approach, you can source this valuable information from your current employees and provide it to relocating employees much earlier on. After all, who better to guide your transferees through their new city and new office, than those who are already have experience with the area and commute times?

Your employees hold valuable answers to questions such as “What is the best way to get to work?” and “What neighborhood should I live in?” or “Where are the best restaurants?” By asking your employees these types of questions and sharing their answers in both an easily digestible manner and in a visually appealing way, transferring employees can get insight into their new city from a trusted source — their future co-workers.

Assessing and Monitoring Your Relocation Process

We spend so much time focusing our attention outward, that we often don’t have the time to take a moment to look inward and focus on how our program is actually performing. You can’t track what you don’t measure, and unless we hold ourselves accountable, it will be impossible to make improvements over time to our program. With that in mind, the first step is identifying the areas in your program that you may not have a clear picture of—whether it’s how much time your team is investing in each relocation, or which suppliers are providing the best service.

This can be done by keeping track of things like:

  • How often is someone from your department in contact with a transferee?
  • Are the transferees getting the answers and guidance they need?
  • How much time is being spent advising transferees?
  • How does that correlate with the transferee’s satisfaction on the overall process?

Another area that needs to be tracked in determining your program’s success is your relocation policy. Many times, relocation policies are written and then never revisited again. This is not beneficial to the team or to the relocating employees. Dive into the data behind your policy. Don’t only look at which relocations failed, but also look at why they failed. For example, if you know that 3 percent of your relocations failed, find out what caused them to fail, points in the process where issues arose, and what the correlation is between the data. If you track and evaluate your data on a regular basis, you’ll be able to discover patterns and make smaller, more incremental adjustments as opposed to big decisions on an annual basis.

Amplifying Recruiting Efforts With Relocation Data

By shifting to a strategic and data-driven relocation approach, recruiters are able to not only find the best fit for open positions, but also incentivize and attract high-caliber candidates to relocate. This is especially important today given our current war for talent. It’s more critical now than ever before to provide competitive offers that include a strong relocation benefit to gain that competitive edge. It goes without saying, a strong relocation strategy enables recruiters to get ahead in today’s competitive job market, and it empowers them to assemble a world-class workforce.

A data-driven approach allows recruiters to build the strongest teams possible by enabling them with the information they need to identify skills gaps and recognize areas or regions with the highest volume of qualified candidates to fill those positions. When opening the search for talent across the country (or even across the globe), especially for niche roles that are difficult to fill like engineering, data scientists, or professional services, we give ourselves the best possible chance of finding the right talent. This is where it’s imperative to follow the data, identify regions with high-concentrations of quality candidates, and focus your resources in those areas, which in turn will cut down on recruiting time and costs. In doing so, you’ll be able to reach beyond just the options that are readily available, and ensure a positive ROI on resources and costs committed to the relocation program.

All things considered, by bringing data into the employee relocation and hiring strategy, companies have the ability to identify key trends, recognize regions of high-value candidates, and provide valuable insights into cost metrics. This allows us to formulate a data-driven hiring plan that tracks retention and turnover rates over time. Data — the way we collect it and the way we share it — has come a long way in the past 5-10 years, and we need to keep up with the trends. By using data’s impact to drive continuous improvement, we are setting ourselves and our teams up for success.