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    « Your Help Requested: The Only HR Technology Survey that Matters | Main | WEBINAR : Talent, Succession, and Zombie Identification »
    Thursday
    Jun142012

    Relocation, company growth, and asking the right questions

    Editor’s Note: Today’s post is the final in a series brought to you by Allied Van Lines, proud sponsor of the “2012 Workforce Mobility Survey”, designed to capture the voice of HR on topics related to workforce mobility. Allied has more than 75 years of experience in corporate, household and international relocation.)

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    Here is the simple plan for today's offering -

    First, I'll drop two simple, but related charts from the Allied 2012 Workforce Mobility Survey.

    Next, I will spend a sentence or two expressing disbelief, incredulity, and general hand-wringing about what the numbers are telling us about our, (that's the collective 'we', not you, dear reader. We both know you are better than that), inability to do the most simple, basic, yet important things well.

    Last, I will issue a general plea for all of us, (again it's them I mean, not you), to try and do just a little better. 

    Sound good? Here goes.

    Chart 1 - Getting to the question of 'How important is relocation, and by extrapolation, flexibility, commitment, and possibly even drive in whether or not you're likely to become a big shot in this organization?'

    Wow, turns out it is pretty important. Especially in very large organizations where 60% of respondents indicating for VP and Director-level roles, relocation is required for career advancement, and almost half indicate its requirement for Business Unit leader roles. Since relocation is a requirement for advancement into these very senior, and likely critically important roles, you'd think just about all organizations would have a great handle on just who amongst the potential internal candidates for these roles would be ready, able, and willing to actually relocate for one of them.

    Right?

    Chart 2 - Guess again, an incredibly small percentage of respondents, even in large companies, indicated they were actually tracking employee's willingness to relocate.

    We've heard the story about a zillion times in various formats and ways over the years. The world is shrinking, US companies are looking for growth all over the world, and tapping into markets like China, India, Brazil and more, are becoming keys for many organization's strategies. But in order to make those kinds of strategies possible, to say nothing for less-ambitious but still tricky domestic-based expansion efforts, it will almost always require at least some ability to deploy internal talent in new locations. In order to drop a new store in Topeka, or open a new regional distribution center in Singapore, it is highly likely someone, (probably several someones), will have to go live in Topeka for a while. But based on the survey data in the above chart, it seems like about 88% of companies would have no real idea who might be a good candidate for that kind of primo assignment, because they never bothered to ask anyone.

    So here's the wrap-up and the plea. There are lots and lots of things about HR and Recruiting that are really complex, difficult, and simply hard to do. Employees are unpredictable. Managers can go off the plot. Technology that is supposed to make it all better sometimes, unfortunately, lets us down.

    Yes, much of what comprises these kinds of the talent processes can be downright perplexing and maddeningly frustrating. But not all of it is hard. Some things are actually kind of easy, like keeping track of people's ability and willingness to pursue new assignments and relocation roles. It is just a question. Ask it once a year, maybe at annual review time, maybe on their service anniversary, maybe at the company picnic, whatever.

    But when the simple question isn't asked, and the data to answer the CEO when he or she wants to know if we have the talent to tame a tough market like Topeka does not exist, well then we, (them, not you), look really silly. And the shame of it is that we might have lots of other things that will make us look silly that are out of our control, we really should not be helping anyone make that case.

    Many thanks to Allied for the opportunity to participate in the shaping and analysis of the 2012 Workforce Mobility Survey.

    And sure, making it a little bit fun probably won't hurt.

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    If you would like to learn more about Allied Van Lines, please check out their website or blog. And if you would like to get more information from the Workforce Mobility Survey, you can click here. It’s definitely worth checking out.

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