Award season has arrived—not just in Hollywood, but in UrbanBound (UB) world, too. 2020 brought us many impressive nominees, as our smart, creative clients accomplished amazing feats during a most challenging year. But, sadly, there’s only one 2021 Relocation Program of the Year Award. So, without further ado, we proudly reveal this year’s winner is…Zillow Group, honored for its visionary approach to employee relocation during the pandemic!
Our annual client Relocation Program Award is based on five key criteria: vision, company culture, employee experience, use of system reporting data, and plan innovation—all of which Zillow exemplifies. Zillow, America's most-visited real estate website and a trailblazer in the industry, has been an UrbanBound client since 2018.
“While many employers struggled with last year’s abrupt shift to a remote work model,” says UrbanBound CEO and Cofounder Michael Krasman, “Zillow not only embraced the idea of a permanently-distributed workforce, but quickly expanded its relocation program to give employees support and flexibility in choosing where they want to live.”
Zillow gave “delocating” employees access to our online portal, which not only features moving guides, timeline planning and tracking tools, but access to our vetted supplier network. This ensures competitive pricing and smooth, no-surprise moves—with relocation consultants available to coach them along the way.
Zillow’s Winning Relo Philosophy, in Its Own Words
We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Zillow’s Relocation Program Manager, Katie Coss, about the innovative program and the strategy behind it—a compelling conversation we’ve recapped here.
UB: How does your relocation program align with the Zillow culture?
Katie: Zillow’s mission, to help people unlock life’s next chapter, naturally applies to supporting our employees when they relocate. It’s important to us that everyone who moves is empowered with information, tools and connections, whether they're Zillow customers or Zillow employees.
UB: What part does your relo program play in your company’s success?
Katie: Our distributed workforce model allows a majority of employees to work from wherever they’re happiest and most productive. It’s a more inclusive, more personalized, more flexible and more efficient way of working, and it sets Zillow apart as other companies plan a return to the office-based status quo.
Since we shifted to this model last year, many employees have decided to move. We went from having employees in 26 states to all 50. We're proud that our flexible relocation options let employees choose what works best for them, including a new benefit of access to the UB portal and a Relocation Consultant to advise them along the way.
For Zillow employees who do need to perform their jobs in a specific location, we offer even more robust relocation support, making it a cinch to move to their new hometown so they can focus on settling in and starting their next chapter with us.
As we look to hire about 2,000 more people this year, expanding our workforce by 40%, our relocation program is ready to support recruitment from what is now a wider talent pool than ever.
UB: How has UrbanBound enabled you to execute your relocation programs? Do you have a favorite feature?
Katie: I am a huge fan of the entire UrbanBound interface. They make it easy for me to manage our relocation program because I can access all the information I need regarding employee move status, spend, and utilization within a few clicks. More importantly, UrbanBound’s technology is very user-friendly and convenient for our employees. My favorite feature is the timeline, because it helps employees stay on track with upcoming tasks and milestones, and can be customized by their Relocation Consultant.
UB: What advice would you give to other companies trying to build a competitive relocation program?
Katie: Your relocation program, like any employee benefit, should make employees feel valued and supported. At Zillow, flexibility and employee experience are priorities in our relocation program because they’re priorities throughout the company. When designing your program, make sure what you offer aligns with your company’s culture.
Leveraging Relocation Benefits to Build Success
Zillow’s bold move not only made life better for employees during a difficult time, but sets the stage for future company growth.
“It’s a brilliant hiring and retention strategy,” notes UrbanBound Cofounder Jeff Ellman. “Not only do Zillow’s workers get to choose where they live and work, their employer is actively helping to make it happen.
This will set Zillow apart in a competitive market, especially as more traditional employers force workers back into the office.”
So, congratulations to Katie and Zillow for winning this year’s Relocation Program of the Year Award! We look forward to seeing your strategy pay off.