Why this Swedish tech firm lets its team relocate abroad for one month each year
What would your business gain if it was able to relocate abroad for 30 days?Guest blogger Johnny Warström
Company relocations often take place for practical reasons, such as accommodating a company expansion, or an office redesign. However, the opportunity to work abroad can be used to implement a new professional approach.
Moving offices, or cities, kickstarts a company into assessing the way it operates. It can motivate and encourage employee performance, and enhance both internal and public perception of the business.
Mentimeter, the Swedish-based interactive presentation platform, has adopted relocation with great success. Every year, the company relocates the entire team to a new city somewhere in the world. Its team work abroad for an entire month. With internationally renowned clients, scattered across the globe, this practice has become an essential part of Mentimeter’s core business strategy and has contributed to the building of an innovative and successful company.
THE FIRST OFFICE RELOCATION
Mentimeter’s first relocation occured in 2016, when the company was invited to the 500 Startups prestigious accelerator program in San Francisco. Mentimeter took the decision to move the entire office to the tech-hub for four months.
The move proved so successful that office relocation was made an annual feature of company life at Mentimeter. The following year, in 2017, the team relocated to Barcelona for four weeks.
This year, the chosen location was Lisbon. Named by Wired magazine as one of Europe hottest startup cities (2018) and chosen to host this year’s Web Summit – Europe’s largest startup conference – Lisbon was an obvious choice for a fast-growing tech firm ike Mentimeter.
WHAT MENTIMETER HAS LEARNED FROM OFFICE RELOCATION
International relocations have helped Mentimeter understand different corporate cultures. The moves have also provided a change of scenery for employees and the opportunity for the company to experience different ways of working. The firm believes this is integral to building an innovative, global and fast-growing company.
Since this initiative started, the staff retention rate at the company has been 100%. Despite the fact that this is only one of the many benefits that Mentimeter offers its employees, the continued implementation shows the popularity of the programme among employees.
WHERE TO RELOCATE YOUR TEAM
Mentimeter’s relocation takes place every year in February, however plans for relocation begin around six months before.
The first step is the most important: picking a location. For Mentimeter, the key is to find somewhere that reflects the company’s core values. For example, startup and technology companies might want to aim for innovative cities that can spark creativity and offer inspiration.
Mentimeter decides it’s location based on criteria such as how forward-thinking the place is, the climate and temperature at the destination, and most importantly, the culture and inspiration that the destination has to offer employees.
HOW TO RELOCATE YOUR TEAM
With longer trips such as these, offering flexibility to employees is essential. Employees should be able to opt-out if they feel the location or timing of the relocation is not suitable for them.
For Mentimeter, the process of relocating is all about personal and professional development, therefore making the trip inclusive to all, no matter what their circumstance, is essential. If employees are unable to join the relocation for the full time, they are able to come for as little time as they wish. Staying true to their core value of inclusivity, this year, the team have also introduced the option for family members to join the trip.
THE CHALLENGES OF THE SCHEME
The relocation process doesn't come stress free. There is a lot of planning and administration with organising such a trip. Mentimeter believes that it is important to ensure that the whole team is involved in the decision-making process. Therefore, employee feedback before, during and after the trip helps ensure these relocations are such a success.
These trips don’t come without a significant cost either, but the benefits gained from such a trip, such as improved team-spirit, increased cross-team integration and business growth, ensure that the rewards of such a trip can outweigh the financial cost.
As companies grow and the team becomes bigger, the planning process of group holiday and away-days become more complex and relocation programmes might need to be altered, but at Mentimeter, talent management – including the relocation programme – is one of the most important investments.
Johnny Warström is CEO and co-founder at interactive presentation platform, Mentimeter