When Quality of Life Closes the Location Decision Deal
Just like beauty, quality of life is in the eye of the beholder. When it comes to choosing a location, it's a minor consideration for some. But for others, it makes all the difference.
Mark Crawford (Dec/Jan 10)
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been well documented that companies perform better when their employees
are happy in the workplace. Quality of life has a huge impact on
overall employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. "Employees
who are happier are more productive, miss fewer work days, and are more
creative, focused, and loyal," says Gigerich. "Quality-of-life factors
add value to a company's bottom line."
Sweeney agrees. "Quality
of life flows into personnel issues and ultimately productivity," he
says. "A high quality of life is particularly important for recruitment
- the ability to attract the best and most desired talent to your
location - and retention - having employees stay with the company
because they are satisfied with their quality of life. Job satisfaction
is positively correlated with productivity, and QOL will influence
that." He says dissatisfaction with QOL issues can lead to key people
performing below peak and ultimately leaving the organization,
disrupting productivity and increasing costs.
Cities that are
consistently mentioned when discussing a high quality of life include
Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Denver, Colorado; and
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Emerging high-QOL communities include
Albuquerque, New Mexico; Boise, Idaho; Greenville-Spartanburg, South
Carolina; and Nashville, Tennessee.
"Companies that choose to
locate [in Sacramento] are looking for a diverse and broad talent pool
and know that quality of life is important for recruiting and retaining
the best employees possible," says Tracey Schall, director of strategic
marketing for the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization.
Sacramento was among Fortune's 100 Best Places to Live and Launch a
Business (2008) and Forbes' Best Cities for Young Professionals (2008).
"We particularly see this trend when working with international
companies, especially those companies originating in Europe."
Vogt, CEO of a German solar company, recently set up operations in
Sacramento. "We see the U.S., and California in general, as being a
strong potential market for us," he says. "We also wanted to locate on
the West Coast because of our exports to Asia." Why did he choose
Sacramento instead of San Francisco or Los Angeles, or elsewhere along
the coast? He says the company looked at Oregon and Washington, states
that offered similar incentives to California. But in the end, quality
of life won out. "I have a 3-year-old daughter, and I just couldn't see
her in rainy Seattle." The city's parks, access to mountains and the
San Francisco Bay area, a thriving downtown, and abundant bike lanes
were also factors in the decision.