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Motivating and Retaining High-potential Employees With Relocation Services

Finding and keeping key talent is still tough in today's labor market. That's why some of the nation's largest firms have figured out how to link motivational HR programs with resources that help employees.

March 1, 1999
Related Topics: Relocation Management, Motivating Employees, Retention
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Finding and keeping key talent is still tough in today’s labor market. That’s why some of the nation’s largest firms have figured out how to link motivational HR programs with resources that help employees. Combined, these resources help employees figure out if a new job in a new location is their best move, and find relocation for the move—meanwhile giving the companies the biggest bang for their buck. Here are three companies’ approaches that have been deemed best practices by Chicago-based consulting firm Arthur Andersen.

Johnson & Johnson
The New Brunswick, New Jersey-based company’s relocation services program is designed to address the major concerns of transferring families, such as obtaining mortgage financing, buying and selling homes, making the moving and transportation arrangements, identifying appropriate schools and helping spouses find new employment. Counseling is also available to help deal with relocation apprehension.

General Electric Co.
GE’s finance organization values diversity of work experience and encourages movement among businesses. Because of the size of the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company’s finance workforce, full-time human resources professionals are available to counsel and coach people about development moves. One effective tool is a career-planning trade-off chart that helps people understand which experiences will develop their abilities and which career moves make sense. Some of the trade-offs include: same business versus new business, field versus corporate and manufacturing versus service. The chart helps individuals see where a move might broaden their experience or where another might not be as advantageous.

Colgate-Palmolive Co.
At New York City-based Colgate, which has operated in 20 countries around the world for more than 50 years, the key development moves are outside the United States, particularly in emerging markets. This is a change from the past, when it was thought that the size of the U.S. market ensured that high-potentials could obtain the necessary experiences without venturing overseas. Despite this new awareness of the global nature of leadership, the company is having difficulty finding high-potentials who are willing to move. To battle this problem, the company is making a strong effort to "raise the profile" of people, accepting development moves in emerging markets in the hopes that their example will inspire other high-potentials to make similar moves. The company also emphasizes that such postings are a prerequisite for major management positions at Colgate.

Source: Global Best Practices, Arthur Andersen, Chicago.

Workforce, March 1999, Vol. 78, No. 3, p. 92.

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