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Hiring Tips & Insights: Attract and Retain Developers With a Standout Relocation Package
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Attract and Retain Developers With a Standout Relocation Package

22 September 2023, by Simone Markham

Offering new developers relocation benefits can improve your talent acquisition, brand image, and employee experience. It could also mean retaining the great talent you’ve worked hard to attract.


Considering the rise in demand for remote work amongst developers, you need to offer a standout relocation package to remain an attractive option for high-quality candidates. An effective relocation package can also assist your employee in starting their new role seamlessly and on time.

Any relocation process is costly and time-consuming, so it’s important to ensure you can retain the talent you’re relocating. Below are some tips for creating a standout relocation package.

The challenge: attracting top tech talent in a remote world with a relocation package

The majority of developers work remotely or have the option to work remotely:

9 in 10 developers in the Netherlands now work in a remote set-up, while 92% of their South African counterparts have the option to work from home.

In addition to developers wanting to work remotely, your company is competing for top tech talent against remote-first companies already set up to hire developers globally.

The demand for skilled software developers remains high. Companies that hire only from their local market may struggle to find enough top tech talent compared to companies hiring from a global talent pool.

Offering remote work may not be an option for your company

Despite the increase in remote working options we’ve witnessed post-COVID-19, perhaps your company cannot hire remote workers for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Setting up employment compliance and payroll specific to the developer’s country of residence takes resources and time that your company may not have.
  • Your company requires employees to work from an office. This could include consultancy-type companies that require their employees to work from a client’s office or meet with clients regularly, and the clients may not offer remote working options.
  • Perhaps it’s just better for your company to build your business and grow the team culture in person.

Whatever the reason, your company may not be able to offer remote working options. A standout relocation package should address some of the reasons why the candidates in your hiring pipeline might be apprehensive about international relocation.

Relocation is a big step for candidates

The relocation process can be scary for anyone who is not experienced in it. Offering support to these candidates in your relocation package will assist in addressing this fear of relocation. Considering the time and resources it takes to hire from a global talent pool, you wouldn’t want a developer rejecting your offer because they’re surprised by standard employment practices in your country.

A standout relocation package should show developers in your hiring pipeline that your company invests in their employees’ growth, improving your brand image and talent acquisition.

If your company is willing to put in the time and money to relocate employees, you should invest in other factors your employees are concerned about, like their professional and personal development.

With growth being the fourth reason developers stay in a job in South Africa, and the third for developers in the Netherlands, it could be more of a priority than remote work for some of your candidates. These candidates may be more willing to take on a supported relocation process to address their growth.

By including relocation benefits, you can help your company compete in the current tech hiring market.

How to make a standout relocation package

There are multiple factors to consider when creating an effective relocation package. Keep in mind that the package will depend on the individual you are relocating: Where they are relocating from, do they have a family and the regulations they’ll need to meet to relocate compliantly.

The most important things to focus on to ensure a good candidate experience include:

  • Personalised elements that focus on the individual you’re relocating
  • Country/city-specific insights that assist with:
    • Undergoing relocation admin processes as seamlessly as possible;
    • Integrating into the new country/city and company.

1. Make sure the relocation benefits focus on the person you’re relocating

A great candidate experience during the hiring process will not only help to ensure retention, it will also help with future hires as developers often spread the word about negative experiences. Relocating costs a lot of time and effort from the company, so you want to ensure you are doing everything within your control to make it a smooth and enjoyable experience for candidates.

Here are 3 ways to ensure a great developer experience:

  1. Weekly check-in meetings prior to their relocation

    After accepting your offer, the employee will need to begin the process of applying for a visa and/or work permit if they are relocating internationally. It’s useful to set up a weekly meeting with the employee to check in on processes like these, as well as offer support and insights on other factors.

    These meetings are also helpful to provide connections to other services such as:

    • Realtors to assist with finding accommodation;
    • Employment regulation experts to help them determine what kind of documentation they’ll need to prepare.

    It’s a good idea to continue these check-ins once the employee has relocated to ensure they feel supported in settling in.

  2. Collecting your employee from the airport when they first arrive

    When the new employees arrive, keep in mind that they likely don’t know the country, or how to get anywhere, and may be drained from the trip as well as the processes leading up to it.

    It’s helpful for them to know they will at least have transport from a friendly face to their accommodation and some help to start settling in.

  3. Arranging social events with other employees

    The relocated employee may not know anyone in their new country/city besides the connections made through work.

    Company-arranged social events can help integrate the developer into the team. Additionally, it may help them in finding their feet socially and culturally.

It will be worth it to ensure the new team member feels supported as they will be more likely to stay in their role if they’ve had a good experience settling in. The resources you invest in to make this process as smooth as possible will go a long way to developing a relationship based on trust and loyalty.

Building loyalty with employees leads to longer-term relationships where an employee can contribute more meaningfully to the company’s mission.

By feeling supported by their employers at the beginning of the relationship, employees are more likely to feel excited about their new role, despite the immense effort it’s taken.

2. Help your new employees start on time by giving them relevant information about their new home

Other important elements to include in an effective relocation package is guidance around the country/city-specific admin processes and insights into living in the country/city.

It is a good idea to share physical guides on the city and/or country with your relocating candidates as part of your standout relocation package.

OfferZen includes the following topics in the city-specific guide sent to relocating candidates:

  • Information about visas and registration
  • Guide to banks and insurance providers
  • Information about housing
  • Translators and language learning
  • Inisght into the working culture of the relevant country
  • List of available communities and coworking spaces
  • Cost of living calculators
  • Information about public transportation
  • Income tax and mandatory benefits
  • Links to expat blogs on living in the city

Information your new joiners will need to get up to speed in their new home

Before the employee lands in their new country/city and they can start work, there are multiple logistics to be resolved that are often dependent on country-specific regulations. This may include support in:

  • Citizenship-related admin;
  • Setting up bank, tax and healthcare accounts;
  • Understanding public transport systems or acquiring permanent transport;
  • Setting up a mobile phone;
  • Setting up accommodation.

There will still be plenty more to organise, so it makes sense to offer your employee some relief in the process.

The time your employee takes to relocate and settle will be faster if you support them through these processes over having to arrange all the admin themselves. Without experienced support, it is more probable that the relocating employee may make a mistake at some point in the admin processes.

For example, the relocation process from South Africa to the Netherlands is complex and involves a number of steps that need to be completed in a specific order. It could take longer than expected if the employee is not aware of all the steps and is then unable to begin their new role on time.

By offering support in these processes, you’re ensuring your employee can settle in and start their new role sooner after relocating with little to no surprises.

Delaying your employee’s start date could be detrimental to your business, especially in a consultancy-type company, where being able to organise timelines with clients in advance by providing the requisite skills timeously is a competitive advantage.

Consider using a relocation service to streamline your process

Managing the admin behind setting up and offering these relocation packages is a whole other consideration for employers.

Relocating employees is most likely not going to be something an employer needs to offer employees every month, so it may not be worth having an internal department focused specifically on this. It would also be a challenging mission for an HR Specialist that has little experience in relocation.

Relocation packages require a lot of resources and using a relocation service may be better for your company’s capacity and budget.

Whilst relocation packages are costly and time-consuming for a business, they may be essential to building great developer teams in the future. However, arranging all the details as well as covering the costs may be too overwhelming for smaller businesses.

In these cases, there are companies that offer services to assist. Companies like Settly and Localyze assist employers with relocating talent from anywhere in the world to certain locations. They manage:

  • Visa processes
  • Bank account setup
  • Health insurance setup
  • Tax registration
  • All other admin related to relocating someone to a new country

Considering the time and effort it will take to set up a relocation package, as well as the costs involved, hiring an external partner to arrange your employee’s relocation process may be a great option.

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