Crown World Mobility (CWM) released the five major Gen Z and Millennial trends disrupting global mobility and promoting innovation within the industry. These practical and strategic highlights were recently presented to the global mobility and human resources audience of Worldwide ERC by Crown World Mobility Global Practice Leader Lisa Johnson as part of a keynote webinar titled “Are you Really Ready for Gen Z Relocation?”
“As Gen Z joins Millennials in representing more than half of the global workforce, we’re experiencing a youth movement that is forcing companies to rethink how they operate more than ever before,” said Johnson. “This demographic’s high expectations and emphasis on well-being is creating a greater need for companies to uncover innovative ways to provide emotional, human-centered experiences designed to engage and retain talent.”
The following is an overview of the key insights and trends highlighted during the “Are you Really Ready for Gen Z Relocation?” webinar:
1. Key Characteristics of Millennial and Gen Z Employees are Driving Workplace Changes
Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1986) are a fun and diverse group that values transparency, communication, collaboration and, most importantly, an effective work-life balance. They are continually pursuing new opportunities to advance their careers, with the average Millennial having a minimum of 3 jobs within five years of graduating.
Gen Z (those of working age born after 1997) value many of these same ideals and, along with Millennials, have ushered in an era where mental wellness is as important as physical wellness. They function well in multi-sensory environments and quickly adapt to technical changes, which often drives their desire for a fast-paced worked environment. Yet, they don’t just want to work for any company, instead favoring socially responsible employers offering jobs with a deeper purpose. While they also prefer self-service, on-demand tools, they still need access to leadership and a manager that actively supports them.
As a whole, the youngest Millennials and oldest Gen Zs are driving businesses to better understand the importance of an improved employee experience from device-friendly work environments to communal and shared opportunities. Many organizations have already committed to enhancing convenience and simplicity through innovation in technology and program communications. They are also emphasizing new and creative ways to engage and retain talent, from pre-decision and pre-departure support to promoting a soft landing for employees and families through policy orientations, new location welcome packs, cross-cultural training, community support and other destination services. This support should also include regular check-ins and mentorship throughout the entire experience and eventual repatriation.
2. DIY and Cash Options are Popular Among Younger Employees
Many global mobility professionals continue to be weary of DIY and Cash Options. In fact, many respondents to our 2018 Employee Choice Survey labeled them as “risky” or “challenging”. However, as the amount of Gen Z and Millennial workers continues to grow, this line of thinking is becoming increasingly outdated. Lump sum and managed lump sum cash options are easier to explain, reduce administrative efforts and offer younger employees the flexibility and lower costs they desire. While many older executives are still reluctant to conduct any heavy lifting themselves, DIY options are very effective for lower-level employees and recent college graduates—especially single individuals with small households or younger employees that enjoy moving.
3. Traditional Relocation Services Are No Longer the Most Effective Option
The average Millennial or Gen Z is a digital native that is generally open to new adventures. However, as many of them are often strapped with the financial burden of student loans, credit cards and other debts, they often have differing expectations than their older and more fiscally stable counterparts. This demographic prefers options like the ability to easily use rideshare programs or public transportation, or typically doesn’t possess enough physical assets to warrant complicated moving processes. Many of these younger employees would rather their companies dedicate time to crafting services that help them efficiently assimilate into their new environment and feel comfortable as quickly as possible after arriving.
Traditional relocation services are also hindered by the meteoric rise in popularity of co-living and alternative housing options. Companies like Bungalow and WeLive are offering fully furnished, affordable apartments with flexible, short-term leases. These not only ease the burden of moving but offer a sense of community that fulfills the needs of Gen Z and Millennials to feel welcomed and supported.
4. Mental Well-Being is as Important as Physical Well-Being
Mental and physical well-being initiatives help recruit and retain talent, and positively impact productivity. Whether managing an ambiguous assignment, struggling to meet rapid deadlines or navigating internal conflicts, there are a variety of factors impacting an employee’s ability to feel comfortable, healthy and happy.
Millennial and Gen Z employees expect to work in an environment with a work-life balance that expands beyond traditional benefits such as maternity leave and flexible hours. They want to work for an employer that cares about both their physical and mental well-being and offers benefits supporting a wide range of priorities such as access to healthy food options and encouragement of physical activity to mindfulness and flexible healthcare. For mobility companies looking to prioritize employee well-being, there are four key pillars for managing the stress of an assignee:
Functional – Are they equipped to do the job and will they benefit from the experience?
Cultural – Do they have the global mindset and adaptability needed to be a cultural fit in their intended location?
Physical – Are their physical and medical needs able to be met on this assignment?
Lifestyle – Does this assignment offer them the familial structure they need and the ability to continue managing their responsibilities back home and pursue their hobbies and passions outside of work?
5. Global Careers Need to be More Accessible to a Diverse Population
74 percent of companies in our 2019 Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Survey agreed they value mobility/relocation in relation to career advancement and 64 percent value international experience as part of future leader development. Therefore, it’s evident that mobility must be a critical component of a company’s overall D&I strategy. More specifically, inclusive mobility focusing on reducing barriers and enhancing diversity.
As this survey also showed that only 29 percent of companies currently include mobility as a key part of their D&I strategy, there is clear need to assess potential gaps and take the proper steps toward becoming more inclusive. This includes, but is not limited to, increasing the number of female assignees, LGBTQ employees and dual-career couples, creating low-cost and agile opportunities for millennials and employees from business-critical emerging markets, and adding policy flexibility to support nontraditional family dynamics.
Additionally, with 41 percent of respondents admitting they were unaware of any D&I examples in their program, it’s equally important to increase visibility of inclusive mobility within your mobile population. There are many easy ways to do this such as posting photos on your company’s website, intranet or marketing materials, offering unconscious bias training for managers or HR involved in the selection of employees for international relocations or assignments, or just simply sharing diversity statistics about your relocating employee population within your company.