Radius Indiana- A Case Study

By Natalia Wolting  • Mar 25, 2024
Daviess County Family Enjoys Ice Cream

Attracting Remote Workers: A Study of Radius Indiana and MakeMyMove

The rise of remote work has presented a unique opportunity for communities across the United States to revitalize their economies by attracting new residents. Radius Indiana, a regional economic development organization representing eight counties in southwest Indiana saw an opportunity at the beginning of the pandemic to attract high-income talent to stimulate economic growth through a strategic partnership with MakeMyMove, a data-driven relocation platform.

Challenges and Objectives

In 2018, Jeff Quyle, President and CEO of Radius Indiana, set out to put in place a new long-term strategic plan to drive economic growth. He knew that for Radius to achieve its growth goals, a new vision was necessary. After careful evaluation, he decided it was time for a change. “Our prior strategy was very reflective of the old model of economic development which focused on enticing businesses to move to the area,” Quyle says. “When I along with our other Board of Directors looked at what the demographics and environment had become in recent years, we found that it was time to shift our focus from just focusing on how to attract businesses to move the area – to also targeting high-income talent through the growing remote work trend.”

After hiring a consultant to conduct a study on what different strategies were available for attracting remote workers to relocate to the area, one of the tactics included in the study was a partnership with MakeMyMove.

Why MakeMyMove?

After reviewing the report, it didn’t take long for Quyle to connect with Mike Rutz, one of the co-founders and CEO of MakeMyMove to begin the conversation. Radius Indiana was immediately drawn to MakeMyMove's data-driven approach, collaborative work style and responsiveness. “The people at MakeMyMove have a reputation for understanding the value of data and how to aggregate large amounts of it to determine why remote workers would consider relocating and what factors could persuade them to move to our community. It was the most scientifically valid method I had heard of up to that point.”

The partnership also gave Radius Indiana access to the company’s Mover Recruitment Studio which helps communities engage and manage their pipeline of potential movers. Some of its features include:

  • Collect candidate data to help with recruitment

  • Engage and manage the pipeline of recruits

  • Get notified when new applicants apply

  • Deploy custom, automated messaging for each step of the process

  • Review and verify candidates’ applications, data and contact information all in one place

These tools give Radius the ability to market to and engage with users based on their unique characteristics. “Being in a rural region we have come to appreciate that there are unique attributes that are appealing to certain movers such as small school systems that parents can easily engage with and the ability to find a house with things like a yard and garden at a relatively affordable price.”

Engaging with Movers

Quyle says that one of the first lessons he learned through the program is how crucial it is to quickly respond to potential mover's inquiries. “When a potential mover requests information and has a desire to understand what one of our communities has to offer, it’s important to put their needs first and be able to provide them with a reply as quickly as possible.”

Radius Indiana has also learned the importance of actively welcoming and engaging with new remote residents once they relocate to the area. These efforts include:

  • Hosting regular mover welcoming and networking events

  • Planning activities based on mover's feedback including hikes in Hoosier National Forest, a beach party at Patoka Lake and an immersive Amish cooking class

  • Serving as an ongoing resource for movers new to the area including offering assistance with finding housing, connecting with local businesses and accessing community services

Economic impact generated by IMPLAN

Success Stories:

The partnership between Radius Indiana and MakeMyMove has yielded positive results. As of March 2024, the program has attracted over 51 new households and 137 individuals to the region, with an average household income of $83,000. Based on household size and income, economic results generated by IMPLAN estimate that the new annual economic impact of this partnership at $2.76 million per year.

Kristal Painter, COO of Discover Southern Indiana says that the partnership has attracted movers from all over. “We’ve had people use the program to move from Costa Rica, Ecuador, Columbia, Scotland, and Guatemala and 19 states including California, Texas and Florida. The job roles of some of the new remote movers include Software Engineer, VP of Clinical Operations, Mechanical Engineer and attorney. Additionally, movers have come from diverse backgrounds, further enriching their communities.

As one example, Quyle shares a story of a couple from Peru who moved from Chicago to Orange County, Indiana with their four-year-old son. They left behind an expensive big city apartment in search of a smaller, safer community to settle down and raise their family. After touring the region, they signed a lease right away given the friendly culture and welcoming environment.

Painter also noted that combining MakeMyMove’s marketing expertise with tourism marketing for the region is something that they have found to be effective. “For both DSI and Choose Southern Indiana, we're essentially "selling" the destination or the region to a prospective visitor or resident. For the Choose Southern Indiana program specifically, we are also highlighting specific industries such as "defense" or "nursing" that just launched and the employers in the region while also marketing the housing available in each community. We like to highlight that the cost of living is lower in Southern Indiana but also explain at the same time that the quality of life is high and desirable.”

Radius Indiana's successful attraction and integration of new remote workers highlights these key lessons for micropolitan regions nationwide:

  • Modern digital recruiting can tap new talent anywhere

  • Compelling lifestyle and career messaging inspire interest

  • Community events foster ongoing engagement and retention

  • A partnership through MakeMyMove powered effective large-scale recruiting

Looking Ahead

Quyle says the information MakeMyMove has provided Radius Indiana on how the market is changing has allowed them to be adaptable to what trends are impacting potential movers to the area. “I think since the pandemic we’re seeing a continuing evolution in what remote workers are experiencing and it’s gone from everybody working remotely to a combination of hybrid and remote workers. The working population is shifting quite a bit and the folks from MakeMyMove are helping us stay abreast of what’s going on and how our message needs to resonate with these changes.”

Given its ongoing success, Radius Indiana plans to stimulate remote recruitment efforts in the coming years by:

  • Hosting mover integration events quarterly rather than biannually

  • Continuing to combine remote worker and tourism marketing

  • Ensuring participating counties dedicate resources to sustain the initiative

  • Monitor data and trends to optimize strategy

Quyle also says that none of this would have been possible without the partnership with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. “We see the IEDC partnership as an important asset in two ways. One - it helps us with the cost of the incentive program. The IEDC financial partnership on top of the obvious community revenue payback that new residents bring to our region helps to make an even more convincing case for why we need to maintain this investment in our local population. The second important positive element of IEDC's engagement is that it gives credibility to our population attraction effort by demonstrating that the agency has evaluated this program and approved it as something to include in the economic development tool kit.”

Radius Indiana provides an excellent model for orchestrating and measuring rural remote talent initiatives. Their blend of modern digital recruiting and community-building engagement through their partnership with MakeMyMove can drive transformational economic outcomes for current and future regional partners. Other communities throughout the country can use a similar strategy to counter population decline through the attraction of remote talent.

At MakeMyMove, we help communities grow by recruiting new residents. To get your community started, contact us here.