Employee-Initiated Moves: Telling Takeaways from Our Latest Survey 02.26.2024 | Gina Grover

The dynamics of the corporate workplace certainly aren’t what they used to be; some of this we can chalk up to pandemic-induced shifts (the dawn of virtual over in-person events and meetings, and the new hybrid workplace), and some are the result of a widespread talent shortage that gives employees the upper hand in voicing what they need and want to progress in their careers.

From a mobility perspective, these changes present unique opportunities and challenges for employees and their employers. For employees, there is greater acceptance (and encouragement) to proactively seek out opportunities to relocate for personal or professional reasons. Keen to hold on to their valued talent, employers are more motivated than ever to make these opportunities happen, but that means finding ways to align these employee-led requests with business needs.

As the trend of employee-initiated relocations rises, more clients have been asking us how other industry players are handling these requests and how to go about developing more formal processes for this mobile demographic. With little existing research in this area, we seized the opportunity to bridge the data gap with the industry’s most comprehensive study into Employee-Initiated Moves. With 60 participating corporate clients, this research revealed some telling trends and best practices for managing this unique (and growing) employee demographic. Here is a peek at three telling takeaways from this survey:

The Need is Growing…

Employees with valuable and in-demand skills are increasingly recognizing they are a hot commodity across various geographic locations. By seizing the initiative to relocate, they can pursue new opportunities, expand their networks, and enhance their career prospects.

The widespread adoption of remote work has played a pivotal role in facilitating employee-initiated relocations. With the ability to work from anywhere, employees are no longer tethered to a specific location by their job requirements. This newfound flexibility is encouraging and empowering individuals to pursue relocation opportunities that align with their personal preferences, whether it’s to be closer to family, enjoy a better quality of life, or explore new surroundings.

And More Companies are Leaning In…

Our study revealed that, even if a company doesn’t promote employee-initiated moves, they are willing to consider it to retain employees:

  • 95% of companies support employee initiated moves to retain talent
  • 47% do it to support employee’s desire to develop skills

Budgets are shrinking and the competition for skilled talent remains high; these companies are challenged to look for ways to grow their talent pipeline from within, and employee-initiated moves can help to meet those objectives. Companies that proactively and mindfully support these arrangements will come out on top, retaining their valued talent, and attracting candidates who don’t feel like their current employers are listening and responding to their needs.

…But Many Still Lack Formal Processes.

The volume of employee-initiated move requests is on the upswing and more companies are open to making these opportunities happen, but most are primarily approaching this move type on a case-by-case basis, resulting in a lack of consistency around the following factors:

  • What constitutes an employee-initiated move?
  • How are costs covered?
  • Who is eligible?
  • How is a move requested?

Why is formalization good? Though it may seem counterintuitive, standard frameworks benefit both the employee and employer because they build consistency; this means faster processes, better communication, greater equity, and when done right, lower costs.

Stay Tuned!

The rise of employee-initiated relocations represents a fundamental shift in the way companies and employees approach workforce mobility. By empowering employees to take control of their career trajectories and pursue relocation opportunities that align with their goals, organizations can unlock new avenues for talent acquisition, employee engagement, and retention. However, navigating the challenges associated with this move type requires careful planning, communication, and support from both employers and employees. Psst: our study can help with that! Stay tuned for the launch of our full report findings to build processes and policies for your employee-initiated relocations that are fit for today’s world of work!

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Written by Gina Grover

Drawing on over a decade of mobility and consulting experience, Gina works directly with Weichert’s clients across multiple industries to identify solutions through proven research and benchmarking. Gina is a Minnesota native (you betcha!) who woke up one day and decided to move to Florida with her family.


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