The Seattle technology market is hotter than ever. Demand for jobs is strong, but as with all the major technology hubs, finding and keeping good talent is harder than ever. With Amazon recruiting thousands of new employees each month, smaller tech companies in the Seattle area will have to change their game to stay competitive.
With all that demand, companies are having to import talent at a faster rate than ever before. Seattle companies are well-positioned to take advantage of rock-star technologists who don’t want to, or can’t afford to, live the Bay Area lifestyle. Prices here aren’t low, by any means, but they thankfully aren’t yet what SF is seeing. (Want to be shocked/amused/horrified? Check out our favorite weekly read, Apartment Sadness).
What does this mean for you, a venture-backed technology startup in Seattle? It means that to attract the kind of talent you need, you’ve got to up your offer.
Pop quiz: Do you know what relocation benefits Amazon offers? This certainly isn’t the full list, and isn’t offered to all employees, but many facing relocation to Seattle can expect the following:
- full service moving assistance, including packing of all belongings, shipping, and shipping cars
- plane tickets and rental car
- fully paid house hunting trip prior to relocation, or a stipend
- corporate housing for 30-60 days, or a housing stipend
- storage of your belongings while in corporate housing
- career counseling and job placement help for the spouse
- assistance with selling their current home, including up to purchasing the home and reselling it themselves
- signing bonus
- lease termination coverage if you break a lease in order to move
That’s a lot of assistance. Why does Amazon put such a priority on relocation?
Because it sets the tone for the relationship between the employee and the company, and shows the employee how much they are valued.
It also benefits the company. Relocation is a stressful time for a new employee, and their ability to produce meaningful work and get up to speed at a new company is directly related to their ability to focus while at work. When they are worried about where they will live, where their kids will go to school, or when their spouse will find a job, there isn’t much time left over to think about the job.
Smaller companies could never be expected to offer the kind of relocation packages that Amazon can offer, but there are things you can do to help employees feel supported and important during their transition.
Moving is a scary process, and employees have dozens of questions at any time. They range from the logistical (how long does it take for my stuff to get from my old house to my new?) to the subjective (is Renton a safe area to live?)
One of the best things a company can do to reduce stress and make the relocation process smooth is to communicate, every step of the way. Let employees know what to expect, who they can contact with questions, and a timeline of events.
Offer a landing place
Employees who know they don’t have to scramble to find housing are able to better focus on doing their jobs. Giving employees 1-3 months of paid housing, in a comfortable, furnished apartment, gives them the breathing room necessary to sort out their new life, while still making progress professionally.
Delight and surprise employees
Small things make a big difference. Arranging for airport pickup, having a doggie welcome kit waiting, or stocking the fridge with essentials are just a few small ways you can show a new employee that you care.
Find a buddy
Pair up a newly relocated employee with a Seattle native; or, better yet, connect their spouse or partner with a Seattle native that can help the family navigate the city. Building connections can make or break an employee’s experience, and can mean the difference between staying with the company and migrating back to their home city.
For less than $10,000, you can create a meaningful experience for a new employee and their family. Your attention to their relocation process will show that you are excited they are here, and will in turn make them excited to work for your company.
Start things off right by investing in them, and they will stay loyal to you.