Those who took a look at the XING Arbeitgeberatlas when it came out a while ago quickly realized that there are big local differences in how employees rated their working conditions. Much of that will obviously be due to individual company culture, salary levels, career opportunities, flexibility, work hours and all that. However, another important factor, which we run into time and again during our consulting work, is simply the company location.

I am not thinking about those who are strongly rooted in their community, have built their social networks there and want to stay there, those who are plain and simply not willing to leave their home turf at all. It is candidates who are ready to relocate for a job and even show interest for a company itself who still instantly say no when they hear at what location exactly they would be working.

What does that imply, then? It means that when choosing a location for a new branch or office, companies would be well advised to not only consider factors like the price of land, taxes or subsidies, but also the availability of trained workers. If those are not beating down the doors in search for work, as it is currently, choosing a location where the quality of life is such that new employees and especially their families can feel comfortable settling there. Something that often leads to trouble in international HR should not be underestimated when looking for personnel within Germany as well.

Of course it’s rarely possible for an established company to pack their bag and move to an area more attractive to potential candidates. That is not reason to completely ignore the issue, though. It might pay to think about measures to improve one’s own attractiveness enough that people no longer care so much that the office is located in the middle of nowhere.

Company-provided daycare for employees’ children can easily counter the missing infrastructure in the area for young families. Once the children hit the age to go to school that becomes more difficult, but even there some help in organizing everyday life can go a long way. A shuttle service helps out when the public transportation system is lacking, especially if flexible work hours and the occasional home office allow people to once in a while avoid the long commute.

To complete the package add a few offers for leisure time activities for general personal welfare, and of course all the amenities of a high salary, helping to raise the standard of living for the company work force.

All of this costs money, no doubt – which brings us straight back to the initial point. At the end of the day when choosing a location one has to consider a whole list of factors like available infrastructure, land prices, construction costs, and subsidies. One should not, however, to include the employees into that equation, otherwise you might end up with a great branch with top-of-the-line equipment that nobody with any measure of choice will want to work at.

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