Hyperlocal Hiring

The BLS reports that 80% of hourly workers live within 5 miles of where they work. Snagajob’s 2017 State of the Hourly Workforce survey found that 70% of our hourly workers refuse to commute more than 30 minutes to work. When you take a look at your own total workforce, my guess is you’ll find the vast majority live very close to your place of employment.

Blue collar, white collar, it doesn’t matter. People would prefer, for the most part, to live fairly close to work so they don’t waste a ton of time commuting. Commuting hours are for the most part one of the biggest drags on balance. Sure you can be productive on your commute, but it’s not really what you would prefer to be doing!

I’m wondering what it would be like if an organization started “Hyperlocal Hiring”? What if you only hired people who were willing to live within 1 mile of your place of employment? Maybe 2 or 3 miles, but not more, the idea is you could walk or bike to work in a reasonable time.

I know of some local government services that already require this in certain positions. I knew a Fire Chief who worked for a city and one requirement of the job was he had to live within the city limits. This was a rather small town, so he was within that 3-mile distance for sure!

Play along with me for a second!

We already know that the millennial and GenZ workforce like to work for companies that have community involvement. If your employees work in the communities they live in, it makes it pretty easy for organizations to truly support their local community. High engagement equals longer tenure, increased productivity, etc.

The Advantages of Hyperlocal Hiring:

– Hyper-short commutes give employees better work-life balance

– Living close to co-workers build more natural, deeper relationships (if you have a best friend at work…)

– Working and living in the same community gives you a stronger tie to both, increasing tenure.

– It would seem the living/working in close proximity would drive a stronger culture as well.

Okay, I know you’re already poking holes in this theory, but just imagine this for a few minutes on the positive side. It could be extremely cool!

I’m sure an organization with 10,000 employees couldn’t pull this off as it would be super difficult and expensive to have housing for 10,000 employees in a mile or two radius of your place of employment. SMB organizations, on the other hand, could use this as a huge advantage in hiring and attracting that younger workforce. Of course, this also works better in urban settings, but I could imagine a billionaire building their own city!

Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans founder, basically went up and bought much of downtown Detroit and then moved this headquarters there. 5,000+ employees, modern company, downtown Detroit! If you don’t know the area, you either live a mile or two from the headquarters, or you drive out 30 miles to the suburbs.

There’s nothing that stops you from making a proximity of where someone lives a condition of employment. As long as it’s contractually agreed to up front, you would be fine. You can’t go tell someone they’ll be fired unless they move closer to your office, but new hires coming in can have this condition.

I know most of us would say, well, you’ll limit your candidate pool, so you just can’t do this. That’s my point! I want to limit my candidate pool to others who share this vision with me. To work and build a community in a micro-community with all of us involved! Yeah, Hippies! Come join the commune, but in a very modern, free-will, capitalist sense of being!

What do you think? Would you ever want to be Hyperlocal employee?

3 thoughts on “Hyperlocal Hiring

  1. So what do you do if the company is located in not a nice area? I will commute! Also hiring the hourly locals prove to be short lived.

  2. That would be a really cool experiment. It could promote an amazing, unique, company culture that could become competitive enough to inspire more people to gain the vision.

    Now, what billionaires do we know that we can convince to test it out. 😉

  3. I would LOVE to be a hyperlocal employee! Dealing with an hour commute definitely is draining, but it’s my dream job and we bought a house about eight months before I was hired. Oops! For the past eight years, two out of four of my jobs were within a mile or two, and I loved walking/biking to work for all the reasons you’ve outlined above. That said…I love living where I live now AND still being able to work for a company I love that happens to be 50 miles away.

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