— it’s a necessity
By Lynn Greenberg
+1 914 844 0575 or firstname.lastname@example.org
(published originally in MOBILITY)
Millennials Want to Live Abroad
A PwC study of new graduates indicates that by next year, millennials will make up 50 percent of the global workforce, and to them, development and work-life balance are more important than financial reward. In fact, the same study notes that 71 percent of millennials expect and want to do an overseas assignment during their career. This is great news for employers looking for global growth, but successful mobility requires planning and support systems. According to an April 2018 article by Fluency Corp., a study by BGRS reports that, while mobility is incredibly attractive to millennials in the workplace, relocation assignments have a 54 percent failure rate. With competition for top talent as fierce as ever, organizations need to find better ways to make assignments successful.
According to Achim Mossmann, principal of global mobility services at KPMG, one of the core ways companies can improve success of assignments is “by eliminating the number of touch points and by providing information to employees at the push of a button. There needs to be an application that integrates all of the necessary information for stakeholders and relocated employees onto one platform, such as a web portal and apps.”
Especially for millennials, who are used to having everything easily accessible at their fingertips, enhancements such as this will make the process significantly more effective for everyone involved.
A top reason why employees return early from assignment is missing their personal support network of family and friends and difficulty making new friends. This is especially true among millennials.
According to a report done by IMPACT Group, 41 percent of millennials worry about making new friends on assignment. When you are adjusting to new experiences, it is friends you need the most, which is why supporting employee well-being is much more than a “nice to do”— it’s a core, competitive business need.
Acclimation concerns such as where to live, finding resources, and fitting into the new office are also high on the list.
According to Andrew Walker, GMS-T, director of global mobility and total rewards at EY, “The often cited No. 1 reason for failure within the employee mobility industry is the assignee’s inability to adapt—or more specifically, the family’s inability to adapt—to the host location.
If the family unit, whatever its size, doesn’t settle into a groove at home in the new location, it becomes that much harder for the relocated employee to be successful at work. This is often why an early return occurs.”
Giving relocated employees a trusted network of other relocated employees to get advice from before and during the move can alleviate a lot of the stress, as well as improve the social and acclimation process.
The Most Vulnerable Time
Contrary to popular belief, the most stressful time for relocated employees and their families is often right before the move. Once a relocated employee accepts an assignment, companies offer their employees an average of four weeks to move and report to their new job. This is not a lot of time for employees to pick up their lives, make new arrangements, and move. These mobile employees are seeking trusted and curated advice on their new city—not recommendations from strangers on Google or TripAdvisor. Questions such as where they should live, where to enroll their kids in school, and which pub shows their favorite sports team are just the tip of the iceberg and should not be underestimated.
Chad Sterling, CRP, GMS, CEO of Altair Global, states, “Our studies and focus groups indicate the largest stressors and productivity declines during an assignment occur when finding suitable housing and settling into a new community. Cutting resources in these areas can be devastating to a rock-star new employee, only adding to frustration and stress.”
Giving the mobile employees a trusted network of other mobile employees from whom to get advice before and during the move can alleviate some of the stress and improve the acclimation process.
International mobility creates extraordinary opportunities for the employee but can also create challenges for that employee’s spouse or partner, who can be burdened with anxiety over challenges ranging from learning a new language and adjusting to a new culture to building a new life from scratch. While assignees have the stability of their workplace, partners are often forced to find a new job when they arrive and/or take care of the logistics of acclimating the family.
An EY study asked assignees, “What are the most common reasons for a failed assignment?” The No. 1 reason was the unhappiness of the family. Joanne Yee, regional mobility manager, APAC and EMEA, at Bayer, states in this study, “In today’s modern world, support for the partner of the assignee is essential if the assignment is to be successful. It shouldn’t be underestimated—the challenges from both an individual and family perspective that the partner of an assignee also has to overcome in adjusting to life in a new country. If the family is happy, then the assignee will be, too.” Because relationships are an essential factor in settling into a new environment, and the spouse’s dissatisfaction negatively affects the employee, companies should invest heavily in the spouse’s well-being.
An effective technology strategy to engage and retain workers is critical to the business’s bottom line. EY’s Walker says, “I see global mobility heading squarely in a digital direction. While some excellent applications and systems are on the market, we still have a longer way to go to deliver an intuitive, consumer-grade technology experience for our stakeholders, whether they be business leaders needing to make informed mobility decisions, mobility program operators, or the assignees looking for more holistic support available in the palm of their hand.” As the world is becoming more technologically savvy, innovative technology is expected in the workplace. Millennials, especially, who are used to social networking, blogs, wikis, and curated information based on geolocation, will work best when similar technologies are integrated internally.
These tools will allow this generation to connect and collaborate with colleagues in ways that are most natural to them, leading to enhanced efficiency within the organization. This carries over significantly into the mobility space, as using technology to reduce churn and improve the well-being of relocated and mobile employees will be pivotal for companies to adopt and promote. Giving relocated and mobile employees technology to source trusted recommendations on their new city and find the people they know and should know—even before they go—will be a necessity for ensuring success of assignments. This cutting-edge technology is making its way into the industry primarily through third parties.
“Creating the right support for new, multigenerational, and multilevel employees will increasingly demand investment in technology, in resources, and in truly innovative thinking,” says Robert Martini, vice president, strategic innovation, at BGRS. “Increasingly, blending organic investment with strategic partnering may best position companies to deliver the flexible solutions that truly advance company talent goals and employee experience.” M
(published originally in MOBILITY)