Relocation programs are catering to a new generation of talent but how do their demands compare to those of seasoned workers?
By Zee Johnson
Employee sentiments and the benefits they value most are changing, and that’s partly due to a new generation of workers settling into the workforce. These generational differences paired with shifts in the global economy have left mobility companies strategizing about how to appeal to an array of talent and satisfy both experienced and younger employees.
Recent PEW research found that at the end of last year, 50.3% of U.S. adults over the age of 55 had retired. And projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that by 2029, Millennials will outnumber all other age groups in the workforce, with about 38.5 million employees, more than double the projected number of baby boomers (16.5 million workers).
As seasoned workers age out of the workforce, priorities and perspectives are bound to evolve and businesses will have to keep up with these shifts to continually deliver a fulfilling experience.
Tiffany Crozier, president and CCO at Corporate Relocation International (CRI), thinks being receptive of industry adjustments and employee viewpoints can help companies stay ahead of the trends that will ultimately influence policies and offerings.
“Innovation and flexibility are at the heart of everything today whereas before, everything was so structured and there was a very traditional set of benefits,” she says. “Companies are listening more to their employees and new hires about actual needs versus trying to make everyone fit in the same box.”
And at her company, the benefit that young workers desire most is flexibility.
“Younger workers have seemingly expected more flexibility within their packages with the ability to flex with their specific needs and have choices as to how they utilize the benefits being offered to them,” she says.
Recent Deloitte research found that 75% of Gen Z respondents said they preferred a flexible work model, as did 76% of Millennials.
Angela Tan, vice president of client services for CapRelo, agrees that younger generations require flexibility, but more than that, she says they want to take part in workplace decisions. “I wouldn’t say they are requiring more in terms of benefits, but they are asking for more transparency and to be part of the decisions and how the monies that are allocated for their relocation are spent,” she explains. “They are also holding us more accountable for the why behind the benefits and challenging us to move forward into the future and think about what’s next.”
Some benefits younger workers value include:
- lease cancellation;
- first month rent payment;
- security deposits;
- furnishings allowance; and
- household goods movement.
On the other side of that, Crozier says that seasoned workers most desire a program with a great structure, like those that offer home sale benefits like buyer value options (BVO), guaranteed buyout (GBO) programs, temporary living support, and household goods moves. “Now that we’ve edged into a buyer’s market, from a real estate perspective, many will be counting on and looking for GBO programs as they seem to be a bit more conservative in nature and want to ensure they have some sort of sale at origin before moving,” she says.
Tan says that experienced workers seek these benefits mainly because they aren’t making decisions just for themselves but are also considering how their families will be affected. “Seasoned workers tend to be more financially established, and consequently are more likely to be homeowners with dependents,” she says. “These workers still care most about traditional benefits including real estate support like home sale and home purchase, movement of their household goods, and temporary accommodations for their housing transition.”
And with the housing market being red-hot, employers must take this into account when building a benefits package.
Michelle Brescia, CEO of Arc Relocation, says the current market has had a huge impact on the industry and transferees’ ability to accept assignments. “The housing market and inflation have taken a significant toll on the relocation industry,” she says. “Relocating employees are struggling to purchase new homes due to the competitive nature of the market, with many homes receiving multiple cash offers far above list price.”
But the current housing market is just one of the many challenges that have forced mobility companies to strengthen their agility when it comes to supporting key talent, regardless of age. Crozier says that the pandemic helped her company prepare for the unknown through their adoption of technology. “We quickly pivoted to a virtual environment as did our ecosystem partners,” she says. “Technology became more of a necessity than ever before, but relocation management companies and their partners had to quickly adapt to deliver support and services that were traditionally done in-person.”
Senior VP of Business Development for Global Mobility Solutions Sam Hoey says that her company’s newly implemented technology now allows for greater overall efficiency. “Data can be received from our clients and pushed into our systems, which allows for events to trigger automatically in our systems, improving the speed and the accuracy in which we deliver.”
This efficiency also provides the ability to obtain an unobstructed view of a program from all angles, allowing leaders to see how they can best serve everyone. “From sales to service, [we’ve] established metrics that allow us to consistently evaluate our processes from the very first touchpoint we have with any company and its workforce,” Hoey says. “From a customer service perspective, we closely monitor and track metrics surrounding each unique transferee, spanning employee satisfaction, customer service response times, the time it takes to reimburse transferees for out-of-pocket expenses, and other metrics around each service delivered to that employee.”
Tan says technology has been a game changer for the entire industry. “The single biggest difference in the industry now versus then is advances in technology,” she says. “Technology has allowed for greater information sharing and globalization. As an industry, now we can deliver smarter, faster services worldwide with more flexibility, agility, and customization.” She also notes that the data stemming from technology is incredibly valuable and key to identifying opportunities, predicting and measuring company impact, integrating systems, and more.
The workforce is always advancing, and top companies are working to ensure they cater to all workers, seasoned, current, and incoming. And age group aside, all wants and conditions should be met by leaders with acknowledgement and action.
“Every worker, seasoned or younger, is a real human with a real life and real needs,” Tan says.