Are the hybrid and remote working models here to stay? Countless studies have shown that employees want the ability to work remotely, at least part of the time. One study showed 83% of workers prefer a hybrid model. Another survey, by the Pulse of the American Worker, stated that 87% of people want to work remotely at least 1 day each week. According to a Harvard Business Review article, over 90% of employers will have a hybrid working model for knowledge workers in 2022. There has been much debate as to whether hybrid and remote work is good for business and whether they have a positive or negative effect on company culture. Putting all debates aside though, if you ask an HR professional, they might just say that offering hybrid or remote work schedules has become part of their employee retention and attraction strategies. In fact, 78% of HR professionals surveyed by Crain’s Future of Work survey said, “flexible schedules and remote working are effective ways to retain workers without spending money.” If these stats are true, what does this mean for the future of employee relocation and global mobility?

Employee Relocation as a Recruitment and Attraction Strategy

The truth is, relocating your employees to an area they want to live will help with your organization’s employee retention and attraction rates. There was a time pre-pandemic when organizations traditionally only relocated employees for a specific business need. Perhaps organizations could not find the talent they needed in an area so had to relocate existing or new employees. Also, as companies become more global, the necessity for global coverage with actual staff in specific locations became commonplace. These traditional reasons for domestic relocations and international relocations are still taking place even though many companies have a hybrid or remote working model. WHR Group, Inc. (WHR) alone continues to relocate thousands of its clients’ employees each year to over 120 countries worldwide for a variety of organizations from the US government to Fortune 200 corporations, including companies that allow hybrid or remote work.

With the hybrid and remote working model in place at so many organizations, mobility and HR professionals have a new reason to include employee relocation assistance in employee benefits. WHR has seen a trend with its clients who are using employee relocation as part of an employee attraction and retention strategy. Employees are interested in so much more than just compensation. Given the new working models, employees want to choose where they will work, while others would jump at the opportunity to relocate internationally to work at their organization’s other locations.

In a Prudential’s Road to Resiliency survey, three-quarters of the workers surveyed factored benefits into a decision about staying or leaving a company. In addition to compensation, employees who were planning a job search ranked more flexible work schedules and mobility opportunities very high on their list of priorities, with some remote work options as the most important reasons for them to stay with their current employer. 

The Great Resignation

The “Great Resignation” has created a whole new set of employee retention challenges for organizations. According to Fox Business, a recent survey by The Muse reported that the majority of workers who quit their jobs during the Great Resignation regret doing so. Approximately 72% of the 2,500 millennial and Gen Z job hunters polled said they were surprised by what their new roles entailed or that companies were different from what they were told during the interview process. This trend is just one more reason why having successful strategies in place for employee retention is so critical.

Internal Mobility Programs

In the current war for talent and candidate-driven market, the tables have turned on employers. Now the hiring process is often focused on what the employer can offer the candidate. One such way an employer can win in this war is through internal mobility programs which include, among other things, allowing an employee to advance in their careers, or even change careers, internally as opposed to leaving for another employer. This internal mobility might include relocating the employee to another office if they can grow their career more successfully at another location. The result of this includes decreased employee turnover. This is where global mobility and internal mobility intersect. It makes sense to reassign an employee based on their career interests as opposed to losing the employee to another company, especially if that other company is a competitor.

A recent Forbes article explained it well, “Companies will need to consider a concentrated effort on building a “culture of mobility.” What exactly is a culture of mobility? “A culture of mobility exists when organizational leaders encourage internal career moves that allow for equal opportunities and growth for everyone in the workforce across the organization. Whether recruiting new talent or developing your existing workforce, by enabling employees to build internal career paths, you allow your employees to feel more like a part of your organization’s overall mission and vision.”

Employee Wellness Initiatives to Attract and Retain Talent

The idea of keeping employees happy to retain them is not really a new one but as the talent shortage has increased, employers have been forced to think of new ways to retain and attract employees. According to a Harvard Business Review article, “In 2022, organizations will adopt new employee well-being measures that capture the financial health, mental health, and physical health of their employees to more accurately predict employee performance and retention. Wellness will become the newest metric that companies use to understand their employees. For years, executives have experimented with different metrics, such as employee satisfaction or engagement, to understand their employees. In 2022, organizations will add in new measures that assess their mental, physical, and financial health.” It makes sense that if an employee’s mental or physical health will be improved by allowing them to work from a different location, then employers will need to be sure they have also incorporated employee relocation/global mobility benefits into their strategies.

Moving Forward

What’s the solution to retaining good talent and attracting the best employees to your organization? How do employers overcome the Great Resignation? Will internal mobility programs help keep employees and attract new ones? Does revamping an organization’s wellness strategy help? Since the hybrid and remote working model may be here to stay, consider incorporating employee relocation and global mobility into your company’s attraction and retention strategies.

WHR can help. Please contact us to discuss your employee relocation strategies and policies.