Will Talent Continue to Stand Out in Site Selection Decisions?


t the onset of a brand new decade, talent was a clear leading factor in the site selection process. The period of extended economic growth the United States had been experiencing created tight labor conditions in many markets. In turn, these competitive markets resulted in the need for companies to invest in a more in-depth analysis of underemployment as well as non-traditional labor sources and training resources available in other markets. Further examination was also needed to forecast future workforce trends based on current trends and demographic data. Now, as the world and economy have come to a halt almost overnight, will talent continue to shape our tentative next steps forward? Let’s take a look.

Businesses Will Take Talent for a Test Drive

Even before COVID-19 changed the economic outlook, companies were already brainstorming new and creative ways to address workforce challenges. One of the most innovative approaches Ginovus clients have implemented is a “try it before you buy it” model to a new location. This test drive methodology is focused predominantly in the technology industry and other office-related projects. Clients establish operations in a co-working space in the two finalist markets for a period of 90 – 120 days to evaluate the workforce in real-time before making a permanent location decision. This approach can also be a strong draw for talent to gain access to the resources of a company while having the flexibility and convenience of the co-working space.

How Communities Make Strong, Available Labor Their Leading Story

Communities will continue to be a key partner and communication champion for the talent in their area. Whether it is the community itself or the region as a whole, this network of resources has the clearest perspective on talent based on firsthand relationships with companies in the market. They can also combine this information with the abundance of online job posting data that provides insight into real-time labor market dynamics for job openings, salary levels, and benefits. Then, by collecting the gathered information into digestable graphs and charts, it becomes a vehicle to share the area’s talent story. When a site selection consultant comes calling, this easy to digest information allows interested companies to quickly draw conclusions about current conditions and future labor market trends.

How Quality of Place Goes Hand in Hand with Talent Attraction and Retention

In the quest to attract and keep top talent, companies must think beyond a role or skillset and immerse themselves in the world surrounding their current and future teams. The best and brightest in their respective fields want to invest in communities that offer an ecosystem of inspiration and growth potential. A community with an excellent quality of place provides a vibrant cultural scene, mass transit options, engaging outdoor spaces, and stress the importance of community diversity and inclusion, among other amenities. When an area consistently draws top talent, the area benefits from the innovation and productivity created together by these individuals that leads to future economic growth for everyone.

Here at Ginovus, we are seeing more and more clients asking for evidence of areas investing in quality of place. This perspective demonstrates a focus on talent in the market and having a long term vision to ensure talent availability and quality for now and in the future. The critical distinction for site selectors and their clients is to understand the difference between rhetoric and reality when evaluating quality of place as a true site selection factor.

How a Global Pandemic Could Change Where We Find Talent

As we are still working towards the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic here in the United States, the short-term impact is underway as companies and governmental entities are trying to stop the bleeding of furloughs, layoffs, and restructurings scenarios. However, this unforeseen shake-up has also created matchmaking opportunities for companies to acquire hard-to-find skills. It will also encourage business leaders to think more broadly about where and how they can find the specific talent needed to realize their goals. The reality and necessity of remote working may have opened up new opportunities for areas that can offer a relatively fast Internet connection. What other factors may also become new heavyweights remains to be seen.

Companies will always need talent to implement their vision and be successful. While it may take some time and patience for our national and global economy to regain its footing, we expect talent to remain prominent as businesses decide where to establish their next business location.

Larry Gigerich serves as executive managing director of Ginovus and a proud member of the Site Selectors Guild.