• Julie Balzer

Retain Before You Hire; Make That Offer "Sticky"

Updated: Oct 7, 2019

Hiring and relocating people are expensive ventures, and losing those people to churn drives up talent acquisition costs even more. In today's candidate-driven talent marketplace (can we all stop saying "talent wars"?) many growing companies have resorted to throwing large sums of money into comp proposals in an effort to close candidates. How can we sophisticate the process to make offers "stickier" (more likely to close, and with higher retention rates)?

The mobility manager of a Silicon Valley based firm told me recently that 95% of their domestic relocations are lump sum because her team isn't brought into the process until after the candidate accepts. By then, they have missed the opportunity to create what she calls "pivotal moments", or opportunities to listen to what each person needs. "We need to partner with the talent team earlier. If we could lead with empathy rather than just automation, we could shorten the employee's time-to-productivity and save money on each relocation in the process." Cost savings aside, think about how much "stickier" the offer would be if it included the specific services and accommodations, AS DEFINED BY THE CANDIDATE, to feel secure about moving to a new city or country.

How do we create the time and the space for those "pivotal moments" to occur before the job offer is put forth? Why not include a Destination Services consultation as a closing tool? Here's what it looks like:

Step 1: The candidate passes initial screening, is interested, viable.

Step 2: Hiring manager interviews for role and team fit, but typically cannot ask about marital status or dependents (it is unlawful to ask).

Step 3: Talent/HR circles back with candidate, offers a free consultation with a third party "relocation concierge".

Step 4: The DSC (destination service consultant) works with candidate to define and calibrate expectations for lifestyle, housing, commute options, education, faith communities...pertinent details they may not feel comfortable discussing with their potential employer. This may include physically picking them up and showing them around the area by car.

RESULT: Candidate feels more empowered to make a decision, and to convince their partner or spouse and family to move.

Engaging a Destination Services Consultant early will also help with retention. The following are direct quotes from families who moved to Silicon Valley, but whose expectations were not properly addressed:

“We’re feeling pretty disillusioned. We knew housing costs were high, but now we’ve been here a month we’re coming to terms with the fact that if we stay, our kids won’t have the big yard to run around in. My husband’s company painted a rosy picture of the Silicon Valley lifestyle, but this feels like a sacrifice. I just don’t see us staying for very long.” -Family from US (Midwest)

“I thought I had things pretty well planned out, but now that we’re here, it feels like we moved to another planet. As the trailing spouse, I do not qualify for a work visa, so I’m forced to put my career on hold . And when I showed up at the DMV, they told me I would have to reschedule my driving test for a time when someone with a CA drivers license could accompany me. Apparently it was ok that I drove to the DMV with my Canadian license, but once on premise state law doesn’t allow me to physically move my own vehicle to the starting line!?” -Family from Canada

“We moved here 2 months ago for my husband’s job, and I just can’t figure out how to make friends. I go to the parks and found a toddler music class, but I only seem to meet nannies. How do we meet other families? I feel so isolated.” -Family from Hong Kong

As a boutique, local firm, Valley Welcome is in a unique position to directly address each relocating candidate's needs and expectations ahead of a move to Silicon Valley.

Our approach is consultative and personal, supporting the talent teams who foster region's unparalleled pace of innovation.

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