Every generation of employees has very different needs. This hypothesis seems definitely true when looking at mobility, which is seen with different eyes by different generations. To successfully motivate its employees, a company needs to be reactive and understand these preferences, adapting its global mobility programs to them.
According to many surveys, experience is at the center of Millennials’ conception of mobility. They will be satisfied with a firm that provides them with a diverse experience and the possibility to ‘change time and space’.
They are also a generation that is more connected with their peers than the former ones. For Millennials, travelling more means sharing more on social networks and involving their friends. They tend to compare the countries they have been to and they are competitive on this field. Hence, they are often willing to move even more than once in a short time span.
Is it possible to generalize?
For Generation X, international relocation is more linked to career advancement. They know that if they accept to move, especially in a far-away emerging market, they are likely to obtain a position with more responsibilities as well as many opportunities to prove their value.
Anyhow, it is not always possible to generalize. Surely different generations do show different preferences towards relocation, but it remains a very personal thing.
For example, Baby Boomers are getting more and more involved in discovering new countries as they get older and therefore free from raising children. While Millennials, always considered as flexible and ready to change their lives, sometimes seem way more oriented towards their ‘little comfortable world’.
What firms actually do
As a result of the difficulty in finding a clear pattern, companies have not been much adapting their compensation plans for mobility. They tend to use lump sum allowances that can suit every generation.
Furthermore, times have much changed since the crisis. More and more companies cut costs on relocation packages and many expats nowadays accept retribution and benefits tailored on the local market standards.