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Relocation Policies Across the Generations

I’ve written about Millennials and menu programs in the past and, as a team, we have certainly covered the generations in our EBooks. But, the discussion is important. As we all know, the makeup of the average assignee/transferee pool continues to change with the progression of the Millennials into the ranks and the exit of the Baby Boomers. For the first time ever, we have four generations working together – and that’s diversity that people rarely think about in the grand scheme of the diversity conversation.

According to a study conducted by The Moving Experience, 35.6 percent of employees between the ages of 20 and 24 will relocate for work over the course of a year. When it comes to employees inRelocation Policies for Workforce Age Diversity the 25 to 29 age range, this percentage drops to 30.7 percent. These numbers make sense because this age group is in the process of finding and securing jobs after college. Further, Millennials are known as the “first global centric generation.” They are genuinely enthusiastic about traveling to different parts of the country, as well as the world, and are extremely resilient when it comes to navigating a change in environment and culture. Relocating to gain work experience and enjoy career growth serves as an added bonus.

While Generation X and Baby Boomers will still relocate, they aren’t as hungry for it as the Millennials and, the older they are, the more reluctant they may be to leave their homes and communities. The leading edge of these generations are far more likely to have established ties to their current home, such as family, kids, home ownership and hobbies. As such, they may be more likely to accept a temporary assignment, rather than a full relocation.

The willingness to relocate, and the age of the average transferee, however, aren’t the only shifts to notice. Job benefits and corporate culture are important to all generations, but the ideals look different to each. Every group has their own set of expectations. Millennials, for example, value flexibility and options. They want their benefits to include perks such as working from home, or the ability to customize their relocation package to suit their individual needs and preferences. As such, companies are offering more lump sums to relocating transferees, which creates choice for Millennials. While they will respond well to lump sums, it is also important to consider that they are young, inexperienced and will still need the help they don’t think they need.

Further, it’s important to consider the demographic of the employee moving to ensure the benefits offered are suitable. If you have an overwhelming number of Millennials in your relocation pool, you probably want to allocate funds to rental resources, settling-in services and even extra paid vacation days so that they can explore on their own. If you relocation pool is still predominately Xers and Boomers, then much of your relocation budget is going to go to household goods moving, home sale programs and temporary living.

Ultimately, while the impact that the Millennials will have on the workplace has been talked about ad nauseam for years, it’s important to realize that the eldest Millennials are already in their early 30’s and taking on management positions. If they are not in your relocation pool today, they will be in short order and you should be prepared.

Ultimately, relocation is an ever changing industry because the workforce is always changing too. It’s important to keep up with the new workforce and to offer relevant benefits to keep employees happy and productive.

How are you handling age diversity within your organization? Please share below.

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