What to Consider When Relocating Millennial Workers

By Roy Maurer Feb 21, 2017
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More than 8 in 10 U.S. Millennial workers are willing to move for a job. About the same proportion said that relocating is necessary to achieve career goals, according to a study from relocation services provider Graebel, headquartered in Aurora, Colo.

Sheryl Hopkins.jpg Sheryl Hopkins, senior vice president of HR at Runzheimer
But stereotypes persist about relocating Millennial or Generation Y workers, as this age cohort has a penchant for job-hopping, according to Sheryl Hopkins, senior vice president of human resources at Runzheimer, a relocation consulting firm based in Waterford, Wis.

Hopkins discussed that issue with SHRM Online, as well as considerations for relocating members of what is soon to be the largest generational demographic in the U.S. workforce, the benefits of relocation for this group and how they differ from previous generations when it comes to moving for work.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Managing Employee Relocation]

SHRM Online: What are HR professionals' challenges regarding relocating Millennial workers since this cohort has become known for changing jobs frequently?

Hopkins: Fifty-six percent of HR managers say it's more challenging to entice Millennials to relocate than older employees, according to Runzheimer research. Seventy-eight percent of HR professionals admit they're less likely to relocate Millennials due to their reputation for job-hopping. We haven't seen these expectations shift much yet; however, I think we'll start to see these attitudes change in the next several years. Business leaders and HR teams are beginning to recognize that some of the general stereotypes are not the detractors that they're portrayed to be. Once you can get past this notion of a job-hopping stereotype, they'll seriously begin to consider the vast benefits of investing in and relocating Gen Y talent.

SHRM Online: How is relocation for Millennials (Generation Y) different than for other generations?

Hopkins: For Millennials, relocation isn't necessarily a priority or something they feel pressured to do. Businesses have to cater to the needs and preferences of this age group. One of the most important priorities is the ability for them to continue to grow and develop in their career. What skills will they learn? How will [those skills] move them up the ladder? Employers who can clearly articulate the value of relocation will find Millennials are much more receptive to moving.

This generation is also much more focused on ensuring that a move is right for the entire family, including the career of their partner or spouse. Young job seekers are more likely to want relocation bonuses and family or spousal assistance than Baby Boomers.

Personal tech stipends and a flexible work schedule are also much more valuable to this generation than others.

An office in an undesirable city is a top deal-breaker for Millennials when contemplating whether or not to move for work. If your business is still searching for a market to expand to, think about this: Most young job seekers would prefer relocating to urban areas in Pacific or Midwest region states.

SHRM Online: Has relocation itself been changed by this generation?

Hopkins: Because there is such a strong stereotype around Millennials' work habits and attitudes, fewer companies look at relocation as an option. Rather we're seeing organizations source talent from the cities where they need employees.

The problem with this is that relocation has serious benefits. Company culture and retention are two important factors to consider for companies deciding between relocation and hiring new talent.
By relocating employees, company culture remains consistent throughout the entire organization. Relocated talent will bring the values and culture from their current organization to the next. Hiring new talent sometimes means a disconnect of culture and values varying from location to location. Relocation ensures that a company's top workers are staying at the organization.

And a move within the same company allows Millennials to meet their need of continued upward growth progression. By relocating a top-notch employee where there's a familiarity of working style, there's a greater chance of success.

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