Location decisions are typically driven by financial factors like real estate, costs, corporate taxes, or government incentives, with talent considerations taking a back seat. Even when real estate teams and CFOs take talent requirements into account, they often lack the granularity that HR leaders can bring to the table.
The COVID-19 pandemic created an opportunity for many organizations — and an urgent necessity for some — to rethink their office location strategy. The new and critical variable is talent. With many organizations now expecting the hybrid workforce model to be permanent, the best location strategy will consider access to talent and variables that affect employee experience in addition to the traditional real estate and tax considerations.
Gartner's research shows that 72% of CFOs expect their corporate real estate footprint will decrease over the next two years, and 35% are shrinking their real estate portfolio now.
Traditionally, location decisions are primarily driven by real estate, costs, corporate taxes, or government incentives, with talent considerations taking a back seat. HR leaders need to bring talent to the fore, providing granular talent intelligence that senior leaders can add to the equation as the organization sets its location strategy.
By including talent strategies, the businesses will drive long-term business resilience and competitive advantage.
Talent-first strategies will drive long-term business resilience and competitive advantage.
Talent variables in location strategy
HR leaders can have an impact on location strategy even if certain decisions have already been made. For example:
When no hub locations have yet been chosen, this presents a perfect opportunity for HR leaders to elevate the conversation to a more strategic view of how location strategy fits into workforce planning.
Four benefits of a talent-first location strategy
When HR leaders do manage to embed talent considerations and intelligence into location strategy, they equip their organization to capture four key benefits.
Progressive HR functions have been guiding location strategy post-COVID using the same foundational principles that have served them well in the past, layering in data on emerging trends, and challenging traditional assumptions around how and where work gets done.
The original article by Scott Engler, vice president for advisory, and John Mattox, senior principal for advisory at Gartner, is here.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of HR&DigitalTrends. Image credit: iStockphoto/peshkov