Helping Your Relocating Employees Find the Right School

For employees with families, choosing the right school is a critical piece of the relocation puzzle.

Case in point: in one survey, 73% of home buyers said that school district quality influenced their housing search. That same survey found that 78% of buyers who bought homes in their school district of choice gave up other coveted home features—i.e., a garage, big backyard or updated kitchen—in order to seal the deal.

That’s because home values in top-ranked school districts are priced up to 49% higher than the national median, and houses in those districts sell faster than others.

In other words, finding a home in a great school district is generally more challenging—not to mention expensive—for relocating employees. Think about it: before they can even start a home search, they need to do their school research, identify their preferred district(s) and target specific neighborhoods accordingly. Whew!

That’s why assisting your employees with school searches will facilitate smoother, speedier moves—and why you should make this part of your relocation package, if it isn’t already.


What School Information Do Relocating Parents Need?

Evaluating school systems involves weighing and comparing a number of factors. Fortunately, there are national rating systems that help parents do just that. Typically, these are based academic data points such as standardized test scores, state rankings, student-to-teacher ratios and graduation rates.

Beyond academic performance, many parents want to know about things like school district priorities, extracurricular activities/athletics—even the diversity of the student body. They may also care about PTA/PTO involvement, the logistics of transportation and the availability of before and after school care.

Of course, not every “good” school is the “right” school for any given family. For example, the availability of special services—such as a robust IEP system for kids with special needs or an advanced placement program for gifted students—may be a deciding factor.

It’s a lot of information to digest, especially for relocating employees on a tight timeline, but you can make it easier.

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Helping Relocating Employees Get the Skinny on Schools

Referrals to Top School Rating Systems

Relocation providers can link employees to reputable, publicly-available online sources, such as Public School Review, and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

In addition, your relocation provider may provide employees with access to private, subscription-based databases. For example, at UrbanBound, relocating employees are free to explore Neighborhood Scout, the most comprehensive database of hyper-local real estate data.

NeighborhoodScout puts a wealth of intelligence at employees’ fingertips, including highly-detailed school info. It provides nationally-comparable school rankings, test scores, class size, learning environment and budget for nearly every U.S. school and district.

Better yet, it allows employees to conduct highly-personalized searches (based on factors like desired school quality and class size), and receive neighborhood-level recommendations—a great place to start the home-buying search.

Introductions to Leading Real-estate Agents

Obviously, experienced real-estate agents know the top school districts like the back of their hands.

Ideally, your relocation provider has developed a network of high-performing real-estate agents that understands the priorities of relocating employees, speaks their language, and can help them hone in their best options from Day One. This can be a real time and stress-saver.

Access to Coworkers’ Recommendation

Few things are more valuable than school referrals from parents who already know the area. Unfortunately, most relocating employees don’t connect with these parents until it’s too late, but pro-active relocation providers have an answer to that, too.

For example, UrbanBound’s Co-worker Insights program allows current employees to share tips and recommendations with their soon-to-be colleagues, providing invaluable real-time information that can narrow and speed the school search.  

And that’s not all. Employers can also tweak their relocation policies to offer generous coverage for house-hunting trips—say, building in extra time to tour a prospective school or two. It’s a small investment that translates to big benefits in the long run.

The bottom line is, for relocating employees who have kids—or plan to—finding the right school is a very big deal. Making that process easier will speed their relocation and help them settle in faster, which translates to more focused, productive employees.

It will also help you burnish your brand as an employer of choice—and earn you straight “As” from your people.


Human Resources Today