Last year, I paid someone to relocate for a position with our company. I had the person sign a contract requiring repayment if she left before one year. At one year and two weeks, she quit. Now I need to find someone else, and it’s looking like I need to recruit from out of the area again. Are there any tips you can give me for making sure that the person doesn’t run out the door? I need someone stable in this position.
Relocation can be very tricky. People choose where they live for a variety of reasons. Some people flit around the globe with no problem adjusting to new people and cultures, and others freak out when they move five miles away from Mom. You’d think the people taking a relocation package would belong to the first group, but sometimes people don’t know what group they are in until they pack up and move.
So here are some tips for making sure the person you’re hiring is going to be OK with relocating.
Don’t just bring out the candidate, bring out the spouse. Once you’ve made the decision to make an offer to a candidate, invite them to come visit (on your dime) with their spouse or significant other. Arrange for a real estate agent to show them houses, and talk about schools, neighborhoods, restaurants and other regional amenities. The spouse is often the most important factor in wanting to quit and move back home. After all, your employee has a new job to go to every day and can make friends at the office, but the spouse is often plopped into a new town with no job, friends or family. They are tasked with setting up everything from electricity to registering kids in school. The spouse needs to be on board, or the relocation will fail.
Be extremely honest. Companies often play up the good parts and neglect to mention the bad. While you should be honest in every job interview, this is more critical in relocation cases because you’re spending a tremendous amount of money up front, and you’re asking someone to uproot their entire life. Say straight out, “Here are the trials you’ll face,” and then list everything from repeated revisions requested from senior management and fire drills at 5 p.m. on Fridays to petty arguing between two departments. Don’t whitewash anything. Yes, your preferred candidate might run screaming after you explain that the senior VP is often irrational, but you’d lose that person shortly anyway.
Offer support on arrival. Your new employee will need lots of time off at the beginning, because moving requires time at the house. The new employee can’t even work from home until the internet is set up, and she’ll need to be at home to meet the installer. Cars have to be registered, new doctors found and so on. If there is a firm in your town that specializes in relocation, hire them to help guide your new employee through all of that. If you can, put together a welcome basket from the current staff with local foods, lists of trusted doctors, dentists and day cares, a list of good local stores, the best nonchain restaurants and anything else that makes your area unique.
Target your job search for people you think might want to live in your area. For instance, you can advertise jobs on Facebook to people who list your town as their hometown but currently live elsewhere. If you have a college or university nearby, try their alumni network — these people have already lived in your city and may be happy to return. Look for candidates in cities of similar size with similar amenities. A native of New York City will probably have more trouble adjusting to Sacramento than someone from Milwaukee or Colorado Springs.
Lastly, why did your previous employee quit at the one year mark? Was it really the relocation, or was it the company? Or (gulp) do you stink as a manager? If the last person quit and moved directly back to where she came from, you can probably chalk it up to a failed relocation. If she’s sticking around or moving to a third location, you probably need to evaluate if it was the job that failed, rather than the relocation. Now is the time to evaluate all of those things — before you attempt to recruit again.
Remember, the No. 1 reason people quit is they don’t like their manager, so make sure the problem isn’t you. Don’t give up hope. Sometimes new hires just don’t work out. Be extra careful the next time around, and you’ll have a good chance for a successful match.
Thinking about progressive company cultures probably brings to mind businesses like Google, Twitter, Facebook — companies with free snacks and bean bag chairs. But it’s not the toys and perks that create these cultures. Collaborative-style seating and ping pong tables are the side effects, rather than the catalysts, of enviable and innovative company cultures.
In a world with automated bill paying, direct deposits and DVR, you may be thinking “what will they automate next?” If you’re a business owner looking for seasonal help or another employee, then I have good news for you. Automating your hiring process can not only save time and headaches, but it can also help identify the best applicants easier than ever.
About 70 percent of my team are introverts, and all of them were here when I came on board as a manager. They won’t come together to solve problems. In fact, one of my employees told me, “I like to figure things out on my own.” It’s like each one of them lives on an island, and it’s too hard to take their boat over to collaborate. Any advice?