Not all employees are willing to wait to be approached with an assignment or an opportunity to relocate. They’re making it happen – now – by asking! As the number of self-initiated relocations increases, more companies are realizing that they need a more formal way to address these unique requests. Here’s what the research says:
In our opinion, this is all quite surprising when an equally notable trend of reluctance to relocate is in play.
Touted as the “hand raisers”, this demographic tends to be dominated by young, ambitious talent who are tired of waiting for the right international assignment opportunity to come knocking at their office door. Instead, they are taking the initiative to carve out their own overseas developmental opportunities.
Recognizing the talent management value of this employee cohort, Weichert sees organizations rethinking their packages, with some opting to provide a la carte benefits and/or lump sums dependent on personal circumstances that offer a higher level of customized support.
Why should we be paying attention to the hand-raisers? Because the war on talent rages on! The demand and availability of highly skilled talent continue to be skewed, with the odds stacked against organizations worldwide as they grapple with finding innovative ways to motivate, develop, and hold on tightly to their top producers. From a talent management perspective, employee-initiated mobility is a valuable strategy in retaining employees, by providing them the support to gain skills, reach career goals, broaden horizons, and promote your company culture. Moreover, offering mobility support can improve compliance with legal requirements, duty of care challenges, and DEI initiatives which in today’s world are critical to the safety, security and well-being of company’s talent.
Organizations that are attempting to cater to a self-initiating population agree that one of the biggest challenges is gaining the buy-in from leadership, particularly if the existing mobility process follows a more traditional approach of tapping a candidate on the shoulder to present an assignment opportunity. This is where the proper marketing of this alternative assignment type is critical. From a talent management perspective, self-initiated moves should be accredited for their potential as:
Another challenge faced by organizations is drawing a clear distinction between assignments/transfers that are company and employee-initiated. Since budgets and the level of support are inevitably going to differ for each, it makes it challenging for mobility managers to set well-defined objectives and expectations when approaching each employee-led request.
I am frequently asked how to determine whether or not an employee should receive support for such a move, and what are the qualifying factors.
Here are some basic questions that should help HR and Talent Management stakeholders structure a policy for employee-led mobility and set parameters around if and how requests will be treated differently and whether or not there is a defined business need for the relocation.
Diving into these discussions earlier on will allow for a more streamlined initiation process once the program is in place and will help establish defined expectations for both the employees and internal stakeholders.
Typically, these policies and packages are comparable to those offered to a new hire and, at a minimum, will include visa, immigration, and tax assistance services. Some policies go further and include final move expenses, household goods shipments, as well as a modest allowance to cover remaining miscellaneous expenses. Some companies will adopt a core-flex approach for these relocations, providing more robust “flex” options to higher-level employees, such as home-finding trips, destination services support or real estate expenses, among others.
The number of employees taking the initiative to carve their own relocation opportunities is only primed to increase over the next few years as the appetite for upskilling opportunities surges among today’s workforce. This trend, paired with the ongoing war for talent, solidifies the fact that flexibility and accommodation of alternative assignment types are necessary to sustain a healthy, competitive mobility program.
In a climate where talent is so pivotal to business success, are you doing everything you can to ensure that the loyalty and engagement of your staff is a priority?