43% of graduates relocate to start a job. The best have multiple job offers, and 70% would renege on a job – so providing a great employee experience to your mobile talent can help you attract and retain A Players. Here’s what you can do with almost no extra budget to smoothen graduates’ relocation, at scale.
A guest article by Nitzan Yudan, CEO of Benivo
The job market is mobile. 1.1 million people relocate for work in the UK every year. 43% of graduates do.
Moving house to start a new job is one of the most stressful experiences in life.
What do companies do to support their relocating employees?
- Most senior employees get comprehensive, end-to-end red carpet treatment.
- But graduates either receive no support; or only get selective support: The employer provides a few specifics, such as temporary accommodation or a small bonus. Beyond that, they are on their own.
And herein lies the problem.
Because despite the employer’s good intentions, selective support still leads to disappointment.
How good intentions result in failure
At Benivo, we constantly measure employee experience: How do those graduates who receive scalable, comprehensive support when moving house, rate their employer – and the results are staggering when compared to scenarios with only ad-hoc, selective support.
The main complaints in the selective group are about lacking relevant information, feeling left alone by an unresponsive HR department, and not knowing who to turn to. Some say that their moving experience left them with a worse opinion of their employer.
Is this entitlement? Ingratitude?
By no means. It’s just that being under a lot of stress makes people far more sensitive to actual or perceived slights or neglect. And that feeling can linger.
Comprehensive relocation support as a differentiator
The best graduates often have many companies vying for their attention. No surprise that 70% of them are willing to renege on a signed offer.
To provide relocation support beyond cash for a hotel room can make a huge difference in retaining graduates between job acceptance and Day One.
The most important conceptual step is to transition from selective to comprehensive relocation support. Look at the move through the graduate’s eyes and allow for flexibility. Not all graduates have the same challenges in their move. And most importantly: Frustration often stems from uncertainty and no one to turn to.
So what specifically can companies do to create a great relocation experience at scale without breaking the bank?
The best examples for low-cost, comprehensive relocation support at scale
1. Create a growing relocation playbook
Most companies issue a relocation guide, covering topics such as accommodation, family matters, settling-in admin etc.
The secret lies in creating it as an evolving document that anyone can contribute to. Moving from the Encyclopedia Britannica to the Wikipedia model.
We use Google Docs, but SharePoint or Dropbox work as well. Give editing rights to as many people as possible and motivate them to contribute.
2. Accommodation support
Finding a home is the biggest time drain. Reduce the workload thus:
- Provide a neighbourhood guide – which affordable areas have good access to your office?
- Recommend estate agents you trust
- Inform about market quirks. Assume zero prior knowledge. You can copy existing online resources.
- Get paperwork done in advance. Don’t make the employee request a proof of employment – issue it as a matter of course.
- Encourage doing viewings on evenings and weekends, if possible.
- List standard clauses in rental contracts and highlight some that shouldn’t be in there
3. Provide a forum for solution crowdsourcing
Create a Facebook group, invite past relocators, and ask them to contribute. Invite all the currently relocating employees to ask questions there.
Be an active group moderator. When someone asks a question that doesn’t get answered, step in and help out. Or encourage others who might know.
On a regular basis, distill the lessons learned in the group, and add them into the playbook.
4. Provide a named point of contact
This should go without saying, but many companies fail to provide it. The employee should have one person to speak to throughout the entire process, no matter where they are. This person doesn’t need to solve everything but at least point the employee in the right direction.
There is a unifying theme in the above advice: Show that you care.
A relocation is an opportunity to grow your employer brand by massively improving the employee experience. Your graduate hires will remember that you helped them in a time of stress.
As Maya Angelou said, people will forget what you said and what you did – but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Don’t make your job starters feel unsupported in their time of need.
If you want to learn more about the studies we conducted and the methodology used, contact me on LinkedIn.
Thank you to the London Business School community who contributed to our research.
Care to learn more about welcoming early career employees? Download our eBook The Art and Science of an Outstanding Company Welcome.
About the author:
Nitzan Yudan, moved house 7 times, started a new job 10 times.
Nitzan is the CEO of Benivo – helping employers of choice make every relocating employee welcome with innovative technology. Clients include Google, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Vodafone, and Hertz.