by Matt Bradford

    Perfecting The Move: How Enhanced Relocations Can Help Win The Talent War

    The call of Alberta’s oil and gas sector can be alluring, but as industry employers know all too well, it takes more than the promise of good pay and solid work to attract talent to the north.

    Indeed, with industries across Canada vying for skilled labour, it falls on Alberta’s energy recruiters to make the prospect of a northern move as appealing and stress-free as possible. With this in mind, many are leveraging the assurance of personal and comprehensive relocations to help seal the deal.

    “There’s no question that a good relocation package plays an important factor in recruitment,” says Martin Robillard, Director of Relocation Services with the Alberta-based Highstar Relocation Group. “We’ve often seen situations where one employer won’t offer enhanced relocation support, and the candidate will take a job with a competitor because they will. And even when candidates are offered a relocation package valued at, say, $10,000, often times they will prefer to take support worth that same amount rather than be left to do everything themselves and assume the associated risks.”

    No doubt, demonstrating extra care when moving employees from point A to point B can be an effective incentive. The key, however, is to ensure the nuts and bolts of each relocation are tailored to the employee’s specific needs and wants. This is especially true for moves to remote locations, where resources may be limited and destination services more scarce.

    “Providing specialized support is a big thing,” says Robin Sherwood, Senior Relocation Specialist with Highstar Relocation Group. “It enables employees to really hit the ground running when they get on site. Because let’s face it: there’s a lot less stress in a move — especially when someone is tackling it on their own. A good relocation plan assumes that stress for them so they can do what they’re good at without dealing with all the questions they might not have answers for.”

    That enhanced level of support can take many forms. It can include helping employees sell their home, move household goods, or find a new place to live in tight remote markets. Or more ground-level tasks such as helping an employee obtain a new driver’s license, open a bank account, find a local doctor, or otherwise assist the employee and their family settle in to their new lives.

    “It also helps to make it personal.” says Sherwood. That means working closely with clients and employees throughout the process so nothing is left to chance and everyone is in the loop. “We have to understand that people are uprooting their entire lives, not to mention their entire family’s lives. There are a lot of implications that come along with that, so we try to keep things as personal as possible by keeping a majority of our services in-house, and making sure it’s our employees who are working with them every step of the way.”

    “It’s important to make it as personal to employees as possible, because that’s exactly what it is.”

    Technologies like custom mobile apps, tracking programs, and online client databases can also provide an extra level of relocation comfort. Tools like Highstar’s RedSky system, for example, is technology equipped equipped with the means to track virtually every detail of their relocation, and access vital documents with the flick of a finger. But while innovations such as these are advancing the relocation industry, Robillard insists it’s important to regard technology as a means to a more personal end, noting, “We see technology as a resource for us to manage the relocation, and not necessarily the culture of the relocation.”

    Without question, Alberta’s oil and gas industry is rife with opportunity. The challenge is getting today’s talent to buy in. And while progressive relocation support is but one tool at a recruiter’s disposal, it can go a long way towards moving talent in the right direction.

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