Employee housing solutions have emerged as more than just an instrument of active HR policy over recent years. From hotels on the Baltic Sea to craft businesses in Munich and medium-sized tech companies in the Main region, more and more German employees are choosing to support their employees with housing solutions.
The role of employee housing in attracting talent
Finding and retaining highly-qualified and motivated personnel is a major challenge for many companies. Employee housing can be a vital unique selling point in the competition for the most qualified specialists. By offering their own housing, companies increase their attractiveness, boost employee loyalty and simultaneously enhance the job market, their brand.
Addressing housing challenges in metropolitan and rural areas
In metropolitan areas, affordable housing is often scarce. However this lack of suitable housing also extends to rural areas, especially impacting trainees, young professionals and temporary project staff. They often crave a sense of community or social options. Employee housing serves as a solution to this housing problem, bridging the gap between urban and rural demands.
How can company housing solutions help employees?
Hybrid work and remote working are becoming the norm. Employee housing solutions therefore play an important role in onboarding new talent, both from Germany and abroad.
Temporary onboarding apartments streamline the integration process, helping new employees feel immediately at home in both their new company, and possibly their new home.
Housing solutions also benefits employees working on short-term projects at specific company locations. They want a high-quality living situation that extends beyond the anonymity of a hotel.
Furthermore, offering employee housing as a benefit is highly attractive to potential talent who are looking for specific advantages from an employer.
How do employee housing solutions benefit the employer?
Managing employee apartments and housing often generates a constant, low return on investment for employers. Companies are also able to put existing company land to new use by using it to construct employee housing solutions. Mixed-use concepts can also preserve the land’s original function.
By providing their own housing solutions for employees, companies gain the freedom to shape the housing to their own unique specifications. It can also be an important factor in retaining skilled workers. Investing financial resources into housing solutions allows employers to make themselves permanently attractive to existing and new talent.
Collaboration is key to building effective housing solutions
If your company has decided to implement employee housing as a benefit, the next natural question is: How do we do build apartments or housing for our employees?
Current trends put emphasis on collaboration as the key to success. Local housing experts are available in every area to provide construction and management expertise. There is also the possibility for your company to join forces with neighbouring companies in order to strengthen the community. This benefits the job market and enhances people mobility strategies.
Conclusion: Employee housing is beneficial for both employees and employers
Employee housing solutions are a unique selling point for attracting highly-qualified talent from around the globe. It also serves as a benefit for employee retention, fostering a community atmosphere and therefore ensuring a stable and content workforce.
Seven Questions about employee housing
1. Why should employers prioritise employee housing in their global mobility strategy?
Housing markets in German cities are visibly strained, which sheds light on critical challenge: the scarcity of affordable housing.
In today’s world, traditional solutions like financial compensation in the form of higher wages do not help. But the strategic implementation of employee housing provides your company with a competitive advantage in acquiring and retaining qualified employees.
By providing accommodation solutions for employees, your company secures a clear advantage in the global talent acquisition race and also improves your brand and employer image.
Top talent is in high demand these days and the provision of housing solutions is a compelling incentive, particularly for sectors like public utilities and transport companies. It goes beyond the standard collective agreement, known in German as the Fachkräftearivvertrag, allowing your company to stand out and been seen as a forward-thinking and supportive employer.
2. Can we manage employee housing without becoming real estate managers?
Absolutely! There is no need, or expectation, for your company to get involved in real estate management. The solution lies in smart collaboration and partnership with certified housing and service companies. You can take the hassle out of housing management by utilising these experts to handle tasks that fall outside of your business scope.
There are further practical advantages to this approach, too. Local housing experts will ensure your employees have essential services within close proximity. They can also help you strategically build or obtain seemingly simple things like parking spaces close to your operational site.
Collaborating with specialists in the know allows you to stay focused on what you do best: your business. You gain solutions to the employee housing problem that meets the unique needs of your workforce, thus increasing employee satisfaction, ultimately leading to more overall success for your company.
3. How can companies implement employee housing solutions with limited knowledge of the industry?
Companies with limited housing knowledge can successfully implement employee housing solutions by partnering with local housing companies or contractors. These experienced specialists handle everything from planning to construction right through to apartment management.
It is a practical approach that proves extremely beneficial and allows you to focus on your core operations.
4. Is land ownership a prerequisite for providing employee housing solutions?
Simply put: No. Your organisation does not need to purchase new land to build new accommodation for employees. As mentioned previously, partnering and collaborating with local housing companies or real estate professionals can prove to be of a huge advantage here.
It is possible they have existing properties in their portfolios that can be leased out to your company on long-term rental agreements through strategic cooperation and occupancy rights.
5. Is it worth the effort for a few employee apartments?
One possibility here is to partner with other local employers who are also searching for employee housing solutions. Together, it is possible to make the project economically viable and will also create a community spirit. In Germany, you can use business associations or the Industrie- und Handelskammer (IHK) to initiate these collaborations.
An alternative is to simply work with real estate agents to secure the required number of apartments in a local housing complex.
6. How many apartments should we build?
You are not expected to build accommodation for your entire workforce. Start by providing housing solutions for the most critical employees.
You can also offer temporary housing for new employees, particularly if you work with a large remote workforce, or for employees on short-term contracts. Accommodation can also serve as a practical and beneficial starting point for employees moving to your area for your company. This enables a much more efficient onboarding process for the new employee and allows them to find their own long-term accommodation with less stress.
7. Is employee housing a new concept?
Companies, particularly large corporations, have historically provided housing for employees. Good examples here are the towns and settlements built around factories from the 19th and 20th centuries.
However, modern employee housing projects differ significantly. It’s now possible to get tailored solutions that fit the needs of any company, regardless of their size, region, industry or demands. Companies do not have to burden themselves with completing the entire project. They can utilise specialist services and collaborate with other employers to open the doors to a diverse range of opportunities.
Employee housing may seem like a complicated project to start. But with the collaborative tools available today, it is possible for any company to enhance their employer competitiveness and employee satisfaction by providing accommodation solutions. In a world with more globally active workforces, employee housing options also enables more talent mobility and remote work.
We would like to thank the sponsor of this article: Regio Kontext.