How Do You Tell A Client That Their Relo Program Sucks?

I have a client whose relo program and coinciding early onboarding process is an absolute comedy of errors. When I try to let them know, I get the age old reponse that "this is how we've always done things around here."

The more I speak about how important the candidate experience is, the more defensive some get. "We've done it this way thousands of times." Yet the same company has trouble retaining > 24 months . . . .

. . . Meaning they come back a lot, which is the irony: Their retention problems keep me engaged with them . . . but my better sense wants to help more than purely talent acquisition.

Some clients want you to set up an indepth Strategic Sourcing program . . . not realizing there if there are incongruencies between the employment brand and onboarding process, the bank of trust can become depleted early on.

Yes, I know the typical internet response: "Find a new client" . . . but when you're well niched and make decent $$$ working with them, firing clients isn't always the best approach.


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Comment by Joshua Letourneau on August 20, 2008 at 8:32am
Maren, trust me that this is what I want them to not only admit . . . but actually act on. Often, I see people leaving conferences or staff meetings "squared away" . . . to only regress back to their comfort zone when they're back in the saddle.

Part of the challenge is getting an organization to first admit that a Employee Lifespan of < 24 months is poor . . . and from there, backward architect where the problem lies. That's an art form in and of itself, because I'm sure there are 'other' problems, but what you and I know is that you never want to start a new marriage off on a bad foot.

As we're 3rd parties, I believe that candidates confide in us more than an internal employee/recruiter - we're safer because telling the truth won't come back to haunt them down the road. Therefore, you and I are more inclined to hear the little issues, the little concerns, etc. that are never mentioned to HR or the Hiring Manager.

But when it's us that brings these issues up, we're told that "we're seeing things." :) Such is the essence of being a consultant, right? People love to be surrounded by those that tell them how great and superb they are, but it's the friends and partners that keep it real that we most respect over the long term.
In the words of Samuel Johnson, "Advice is seldom welcome. Those who need it most, like it least."

P.S. Technology is an accelerator, but I don't see it changing industries as much as it's been touted to over the last decade (we're all sitting here still waiting on the technology drum roll). We go through an economic slump every 5-7 yrs, so times like these are nothing new. Clients that don't address the problem now will be right back in the same situation when the next downcycle occurs. The challenge is that by the time they start to address the problem, we're leaving the downcycle and it's easier to get by with sub-par relo/onboarding practices in an up-market :)


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