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Note to Employers: Keep Up with the Needs (and Demands) of Millennials Abroad

Ingo Priebsch, Business Solutions Team Lead at InterNations, shares his take on Millennials as part of the global workforce and why it is beneficial for employers to keep up with their needs — and sometimes demands.

In this era where Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are becoming more prominent players in the global workforce, global mobility and HR teams should continually adapt and shift focus in terms of how they support the relocation and integration of this generation’s international hires and foreign assignees.

Millennials, who are forecast to make up around 35% of the global workforce in 2020, are more family-centric and have a different idea of workplace expectations than, for example, the older Baby Boomer generation. Many Millennials prioritize family over work and often put their kids ahead of their careers. Young, well-educated Millennial mothers and fathers want to find a way to balance their career expectations and parental responsibilities. An employer that helps foreign assigned and internationally hired Millennial parents to strike this balance will be the most attractive to work and travel for.

What Makes Millennials Tick?

Millennials are not willing to be moved from Point A to Point B because of an organization’s need. They desire personal and authentic attention. Employers have to offer flexibility in expat packages and not be limited to a one-size-fits-all “toolbox” and approach. This includes assisting them with more personal aspects of life abroad, such as active support with their social integration.

These new generation employees are not willing to sacrifice as much for the job as previous generations may have. For them, enjoyment and well-being generally play more important roles — which is exactly why global mobility and HR teams need to tailor the benefits offered to them.

Millennials look to meet their own needs before contributing to meeting those of an organization. It’s quite simple: They will not move abroad unless their individual needs are met. So, HR and global mobility teams must examine the individual needs of each person they would like to send abroad on an assignment or hire across borders.

What are the Great (Relocation) Expectations?

Millennials have high expectations of their employers. They not only expect more assistance when moving abroad, but also different types of support. They want to have a choice. For employers, there is only one focus area: Ask them what they want and need on a highly individual basis.

Unlike previous generations, they do not keep a job and then hold onto it for as long as humanly possible. Therefore, organizations need to go the extra mile to gain employee satisfaction while abroad as this will ensure global talent retention and successful foreign assignments.

This is also where integration abroad comes in, playing a vital role in the whole relocation process and expat lifecycle — not just in terms of settling in at work, but settling in overall in the new country. For Millennials, personal growth is important and moving beyond just the next career step and they want this for their partner and family too. Therefore, good work-life balance, as well as a healthy personal and social life outside of work are important.

The expectations of these employees include personalized offers from employers that suit their personal needs — allowing them to have autonomy and make individual decisions. Moreover, they want to use the offerings whenever they want, wherever they want, and in whichever way they want. Thus, employers should also deliver a framework for social integration, such as peer-to-peer support, during their entire stay abroad.

What are the Repercussions of Inadequate Support Abroad?

If employers don’t do this, the unfortunate reality is that these Millennial employees may ultimately resign as they are more prone to job-hopping. It is also important to note that they resign faster than any generation before because they are the best-qualified generation ever with the highest certainty of independence.

The alternative is for employers to better support them, which will lead to benefits for the organization too. Millennials are achievement-oriented, confident, and ambitious. They are more international team players who want to be involved and tend to seek new challenges abroad. They are much more open minded than previous generations. That makes them a very productive workforce — if they receive the right balance of support.
Employers that support Millennials abroad beyond just the workplace and tailor support to their needs, will see the impact that this has on the organization’s success. How? In terms of their time-to-productivity at work and overall satisfaction abroad, for example, as this leads to a greater chance of successful foreign assignments, talent retention, and ultimately better results for the organization.

It’s worth it! After all, they are the generation that will dominate the future workforce.


Ingo Priebsch_Business Solutions Team Lead at InterNationsAbout the Author: Ingo Priebsch is Team Lead Business Solutions at InterNations, which provides solutions for global mobility and HR professionals to ensure successful foreign assignments and improved international talent retention. He has over 20 years’ experience in the national and international HR consultancy field. He holds degrees in educational sciences and human resources development from the Helmut Schmidt University and the Technical University of Kaiserslautern.

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