Hiring on a New Level

Did you know that a whopping 80% of hourly workers live within a 5-mile radius of their workplace? Another study found that 70% of individuals avoid commutes over 30 minutes.

It’s obvious: proximity matters.

No matter if you wear a blue collar or a white one, most people prefer living near their workplace. Who wants to waste time stuck in traffic or on crowded buses or trains? Commuting, even if it can be productive, usually throws off work-life balance.

I created this idea of “Hyperlocal Hiring” years ago. Imagine if companies exclusively recruited individuals to reside within a 1 to 3-mile radius of their premises. The idea is simple yet transformative – making a community of employees who can conveniently walk or bike to work, minimizing commute stress and maximizing efficiency.

The benefits of Hyperlocal Hiring:

  1. Enhanced Work-Life Balance: Hyper-short commutes translate to happier, more balanced employees.
  2. Stronger Bonds: Being close to each other helps coworkers form stronger relationships, making the work environment more unified.
  3. When employees live and work in the same area, they become essential members of their communities, which boosts their involvement and job retention.
  4. Cultural Cohesion: Being close together helps everyone share the same beliefs and values, making the company culture stronger.

Skeptics might have good points, especially about how doable and big we can make Hyperlocal Hiring. Sure, it could be tough for huge companies with thousands of employees. But for smaller and medium-sized businesses, it’s a great chance to get and keep awesome employees, especially younger ones who really want to be part of a community.

Now, you might be thinking about how limiting the candidate pool could work. But that’s the great thing about Hyperlocal Hiring – it’s not about having lots of options, it’s about getting the right people. When you bring in folks who believe in creating lively little communities, you build connections that go beyond just working together.

So, should we give the Hyperlocal revolution a shot?

Why Did Amazon Decide on Having 3 Corporate Headquarters?

So, the biggest news of the week is Amazon finally made a decision on where they were going to build HQ2 and come to find out instead of just one location, Amazon is splitting the job lottery into two prizes and both Washington D.C. and New York will get an Amazon Headquarters. Okay, it’s probably really about 4 Headquarters since they’re really focusing a ton of the supply chain talent in Nashville, but who’s counting!?

I never really thought Washington D.C. or New York City had a chance because I was thinking about stuff like the ability to actually move around! Turns out Amazon’s real decision point came around brain power. Now, I know what you’re thinking! There are absolutely no brains in Washington D.C.! Hello, is this mic on!? Also, have you been the urine-scented streets of New York!? Joking!

If you look at the U.S. and did a heat map around higher education institutions you would find a gigantic section of the Eastern seaboard is shaded a bright red! From Boston to New York to Philadelphia to Washington D.C. you can’t find a more concentrated area of higher education in the world! Amazon’s newest HQ2 and HQ3 will be strategically located right amongst those areas!

The largest employers in the U.S. look like this:

Walmart is stupid big, but almost all of their employees are onsite at stores.  Accenture is huge, but again their employees work in every medium to large city in the country, not a one big headquarters. FedEx is basically the US mail service. Go down the list and you’ll most of the largest employers are not headquartered centric, but location-centric.

Amazon is the lone giant employer who has most of its employees in office buildings. Knowing they were going to have to hire 50,000+ employees, there was really no one location in the U.S. that could have handled that need for talent in such a short time. Washington D.C. and New York are probably two of the places that can handle 25,000 new jobs, each, without crippling every other employer in the market. And, this will still cause a giant disruption in those cities as people will be moving around like crazy.

An additional 5,000 white collar jobs in Nashville will be an incredible amount for that market, especially in the key skills they’re looking for which are desperately needed everywhere in the U.S. right now. Better dust off your employee engagement strategies and update your compensation models, Nashville employers! 2020 is going to be a tough year!

This decision signals one other potential massive shift for IT. Washington D.C. was already a pretty big IT hub with all the government work, but now moving this many IT related jobs to the East Coast could begin a big shift away from organizations believing you have to be in Silicon Valley to hire IT talent. Amazon will bring and grow IT talent for the entire east coast and strengthen those cities as large IT hubs worldwide.

Amazon definitely didn’t help workers out from a quality of life standpoint. Both D.C. and NYC are awful in terms of cost and commute, at least in California you get sunshine in your closet of an apartment!

The decision for me showed that Amazon truly looked at labor markets and demographics (and some giant tax breaks – which, let’s be honest, everyone was willing to give) as the major decision points in the location of the new headquarters. The U.S. demographics over the next decade should be a major concern for large employers. More workers will leave the workforce than are coming into the workforce, so you better be close to where we tend to grow white collar, educated workers.

This is a win for higher education as much as it is for Washington D.C. and New York City.

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?

Want to live like a rock star? Move to Detroit!

Glassdoor recently published a list of the Top 25 Cities where your pay will go the furthest. Who topped the list!? Yep, it’s DETROIT! GD found that the Cost of Living ratio in Detroit is 50%! That basically means that when living in Detroit you get to use 50% of your income for things other than bills! What is the Cost of Living ratio in San Fransisco (the lowest of all American cities)? 11%! Basically, you only get to use, for your own enjoyment $.10 of every dollar you earn in San Fran!

What is the Cost of Living ratio in San Fransisco (the lowest of all American cities)? 11%! Basically, you only get to use, for your own enjoyment $.10 of every dollar you earn in San Fran!

So, if you read this blog a couple times you know I’m a fan of Detroit! Everyone loves a comeback story and Detroit might be the single biggest comeback story on the planet right now. Being at the top of this list just confirms what others in and around the Midwest have already been seeing.

Here’s the Top 10 in order:

  1. Detroit, MI
  2. Memphis, TN
  3. Pittsburgh, PA
  4. Cleveland, OH
  5. Indianapolis, IN
  6. St. Louis, MO
  7. Cincinnati, OH
  8. Birmingham, AL
  9. Kansas City, MO
  10. Louisville, KY

So, what jumps out about this list?  For the most part, it’s mid-sized, midwest cities.  Low cost of living. Four seasons. A lot of Applebee’s restaurants (at least that’s what the people on the coasts think!). One southern city on the list in Bham – which I hear from Kris Dunn and Dawn Burke is a hidden treasure.

I’m a midwest guy, born and raised. Went to college in the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Have visited every big city in the U.S., multiple times. Big cities are great, but not the best place to raise a family. California’s weather is awesome if you like paying $1 million dollars for 700 square foot home next to a highway.

The reality is startups and Fortune 500 companies are beginning to see what Glassdoor found in putting this list together. Google has a growing campus in Ann Arbor, MI, located about 40 miles from downtown Detroit, about 15 miles from the Detroit airport. It’s easier to attract and retain a Midwest workforce than it is when you’re primarily trying to recruit to the coasts.

This is especially true when your workforce starts to get to the age where they want to settle down, start a family and buy a house. Sure, it’s fairly easy to get college-aged kids to relocate from the midwest to California, New York or Boston. The trick is keeping them there! In Michigan, I see this every summer. The kids come back to have their weddings. Once they’re back, they begin to feel that pull to stay ‘home’.

This is why Midwest companies that are great at recruiting all have some sort of Boomerang recruitment strategy. Most are diving deep in their databases to find students who graduated over the past five years and building a database of 1-5 year experienced pros they are reaching out to constantly, ‘welcoming’ them to come back and enjoy the riches of the Midwest!

Tech Companies Should Move To Detroit!

You might have seen this chart recently over at Business Insider:

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 11.10.07 AMWe all probably got this. It costs a TON to live in San Fransico! Way too much. You’re crazy if you want to start a tech company in San Fran.  So, what do all those super smart folks do? Yeah, stay west coast and just go a bit more north to Seattle, still expensive, but seemingly cheap in comparison to San Fransico!

It’s one of the main reasons Austin, TX became a hotbed of tech startups and headquarters about a decade ago. Relatively cheap to place to live. Access to a major university (Univ. of Texas), which gives you young, talented, tech savvy folks. Nice weather.

Here’s the magical formula to picking a place to house your tech company:

  1. Access to talent.
  2. Place people want to live.
    1. Good weather.
    2. Hip vibe.
    3. Affordable. (not necessarily an important factor – but increasing in importance!)

Give this magical formula, I’ll give you the number 1 destination of new tech startups!


Well, actually it’s Ann Arbor, which is about a 15-minute drive from Detroit’s International Airport, a Delta hub and one of the nicest airports around. Which means direct flights to almost everywhere. Home to the University of Michigan and great talent pipeline (Michigan State is also 50 minutes away). So, you have two Giant universities and roughly 80,000 students within easy driving distance.  A ton of other smaller universities within a 50-mile radius as well (Eastern Michigan, Wayne State, Oakland Univ., Univ. of Toledo, etc.).

It’s super cheap to live. Ann Arbor is a great college city, with access to the bigger Metro Detroit area within a thirty-minute drive. Access to someone of the world’s largest freshwater lakes. Toronto is an easy, cheap flight, or 4-hour drive away.

Okay, you won’t get super nice weather. You’ll get four seasons, midwestern work ethic and so much more for your money you won’t understand why anyone ever went west to begin with!

Oh, I hear you. What about the talent?  The Detroit Metro Area is one of the world’s largest engineering centers in the world! You know about all the auto companies, but what you don’t know is that Google has been growing an empire in Ann Arbor for years, and doing it quietly because they don’t want others hoarding in on the secret!

So, yeah, Seattle is way cheaper than San Fransico. You only have to pay 35% of pay towards rent. In Detroit, you only have to pay about 15% of your pay towards rent!

Detroit! The new San Fransico! We even have a bridge!

T3 – CoPilot by NuCompass

Today on T3 I take a bit of a departure away from my normal talent acquisition technology offerings and review a new product from NuCompass called, CoPilot.  CoPilot is a new, affordable cloud-based solution for managing relocations. It’s a comprehensive platform that empowers employees to manage their move and access our vetted partners online, while giving you full visibility and budget control.

Being a person has gone through three corporate professional moves, I can tell you it can be a major stress and pain in the butt! Relocation is also a pain for TA pros who end up, usually in most organizations, doing most of the heavy lifting when it comes to relocating new employees as well.  This is why CoPilot intrigued me so much.

When I relocated I used one of those traditional relocating companies. I had a ‘relocation’ agent I had to work with at a third party company, and having this middle person was more of a hassle than a help.  I constantly wished I could just get online and set this stuff up on my own and not have to deal with the middle person all the time. In today’s world, I think more people, especially younger employees, think I like I do. Let me do it myself!

5 Things I really like about CoPilot:

1. The obvious one! Employees get the flexibility to manage their own move, under parameters you set, in a really easy to use dashboard that lays out everything for them, with links to vendors that are pre-negotiated and they select who they want.  Don’t underestimate the power of the freedom of choice as a benefit in relocation!

2. Full estimation tool built in to the software to give you and the hiring manager an estimated cost of relocation, before you even make an offer. Full electronic signature and all forms are auto-generated. Makes starting a completing the paperwork process for relo a breeze!

3. Online expense reimbursement that let’s employees take pictures of receipts and upload them for reimbursement. Plus, the HR team has full access to all the reporting in real time through the dashboard.

4.  Dashboard allows HR pros to manage exceptions completely online, and you can choose what employees see and don’t see. You can also give the flexibility to allow employees to move dollars around to other benefits of the relocation they want to use more than others. Again, giving each employee the feeling this plan was designed specifically for them and their move.

5. Live online chat function for quick answers to questions. Face it, people don’t want to pick up the phone and make live calls anymore! But, CoPilot let’s them do that as well, if needed.

CoPilot was one of the cooler things I’ve seen the very uncool relocation space in a long time.  The other great benefit is the cost! The system costs like $250 per move! No matter how many people you are moving, so it makes it a great option for SMB HR shops that don’t make many moves, but still want a very professional well designed relocation plan.  Also, great for organizations that need to make a ton of mid-range moves and don’t want the full expense of a traditional professional relocation company.

If you do any amounts of relocation, CoPilot is definitely worth a demo!

T3 – Talent Tech Tuesday – is a weekly series here at The Project to educate and inform everyone who stops by on a daily/weekly basis on some great recruiting and sourcing technologies that are on the market.  None of the companies who I highlight are paying me for this promotion.  There are so many really cool things going on in the space and I wanted to educate myself and share what I find.  If you want to be on T3 – send me a note.