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Choice Matters: A Solution to the Millennial Demand for Options

I think we can all agree that we are facing significant talent management challenges when it comes to Millennials. They are different, but can you blame them? Throughout the past few decades, the world has experienced major cultural shifts including dual-family incomes, incredible technological advances and a 24/7 marketing and news cycle that has changed the way society approaches both work and play. Having grown up in the midst of all this activity, younger employees are not only used to having information at their fingertips, but they also expect to have a choice in just about everything – more so then older generations had when they came of age and entered the workforce. Relocation is certainly no different and it’s important that we prepare for and address this change, rather than resist the shift.

Relocating Younger EmployeesIn the past it was customary for corporate relocation programs provide “defined benefits” whereby the transferee would be required to relocate themselves and/or family within a specific set of parameters. Typically, HR or a relocation management company would administer benefits based on policy tiers. If the relocating employee fell out outside of the benefit package assigned to their tier, an exception would be requested and either approved or denied.

Now things are changing. The new generation of employees isn’t interested in what the policy benefits are in general, or which tier they are offered. Millennials are interested in what works best for their lifestyle and personal career development. We need to adapt relocation services, and the way we administer them, to offer choices. Companies that are facing this challenge may want to consider moving from a relocation policy with tiers to a program with a point system.

This type of program assigns a point value to each relocation benefit. During the hiring or transfer process the employee is given a certain amount of points that they can use to create a custom relocation experience. The number of points can be assigned based on pay grade, title, new hire versus existing transferee, etc. Benefits are still defined, but not provided to the transferee in the form of a policy. Instead, the transferee receives a list of available benefits, along with their point values so that they can spend their points in accordance with the benefits that best suit their needs. For example, one month of temporary living may have a value of 500 points, lease break assistance 100 points, self-move 500 points, van line move 2000 points and so on. If the transferee is given 2500 points based on their assigned amount of points, they can spend their points and choose which benefits work best for them.

I think this type of program has some merit , but it doesn’t come without pain points – namely, an administrative nightmare. Traditionally, relocation managers handle benefits based on defined benefit policy tiers, not a mish-mash of variables. HR administrators who have this type of plan will have to rethink the way they communicate with transferees, since each employee will have a different relocation based on their selections. In a world where HR is having to do more with less this can be time-consuming and may even require additional staffing. Further, relocation management companies may have to come up with personnel and technology solutions to easily manage the different options.

Corporations that have younger employee populations now may find the challenges associated with a point system are worth tackling in order to boost their retention and acquisition strategies. They will certainly set the industry precedent for the many companies that will face this challenge sooner or later.

I believe that with a little creativity it’s possible to have a happy medium between offering choice and balancing the administration challenges. How about you?

Are your younger employees asking for more choices? How have you responded to this trend? What relocation policies are currently working for your business?

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VP, Client Services

VP of Business Development Northeast Region


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