Disclaimer: I am a Navy Brat…I have moved LOTS of times…so, I get a sick joy out of packing and unpacking my stuff every three years. Not everyone is like me.
For the rest of the world, a relocation is a big deal. Families have to take children into consideration, couples have to think about the other S.O., and some young people just don’t have the money.
So why do it? Not everyone can be adventurous and say, “I haven’t seen Houston yet, I’ll go there!” Often there needs to be a pretty compelling reason. But regardless of the reason, Gen-Yers are the perfect people for moving around…they just don’t know it.
See, Gen-Yers might be ready to pick up and ship off to some new destination if there were good reasons, but the ones that might keep them in one place are the same as why someone might choose to college close to home. In fact, one could say it is a continuation of that college choice that impacts whether someone relocates.
Young people in the workplace are barely having a chance to prove themselves in their current situations, so it is very scary to think of relocating, even for the same company. Fear of the unknown can keep people in a situation in which they do not fit.
Case Study: A young woman has spent a year becoming an expert at her job, but had a hard time of gaining any kind of influence in her office. There’s an internal job posting in another state that sounds attractive, but in a much bigger office. She’s also just started seeing a guy, her parents are within an hour of where she lives, and all her college roommates live within a 15 mile radius.
Even if she was the perfect fit for the new role, she’s probably not going to move. She may not even apply. She’s comfortable. Her time is being invested in her friends, family, and potential BF. Also, if she’s having a hard time being at the bottom of the food chain in her current office, what will it be like in a newer, larger one?
Case Study: A young man has rotated through a few roles in his field office and is ready for the big time. While corporate would love to take him on, they can’t offer a relocation package due to the current economic conditions. He could stay in the field and be remote…or…ask his parents to help with the re-lo to get better visibility at the corporate office.
This one is a trick question: It has nothing to do with the job, and everything to do with the parents. It’s a whole other element that requires consideration. Again, he could be perfect for the role, but money is a big concern for young people…mostly because they don’t have any. So if he needs to find it to move, he might be limited on options.
Above I said that young people are the perfect people for moving, yet it doesn’t seem like that is true at all. What is required is that the company comes up with a strategy for relocating young employees.
As in Rotational Assignments.
Gen-Yers are famous for multi-tasking and learning jobs quickly. While they may want to be close to family and friends, that need to succeed can be an even stronger motivator. Companies just need to tap into that. Also, it is a lot cheaper to move around and develop a single twenty-something, than a family of four. Especially if twenty-somethings are used to living in studio apartments vs. McMansions.
How can organizations start attracting young people willing to relocate?
Stop asking “Are you willing to relocate?” Often the answer is a “yes, but…” and there’s no line for the “but” part. These offers need to have some really attractive qualities, and they all don’t require money.
Some things to consider in attracting a mobile Gen-Yer:
-Offer a mentorship with a senior leader…a.k.a. grooming for future leadership
-Support higher education programs, either by tuition assistance or flexible time-off
-Add on some vacation days
-Draft a career path, instead of expecting Gen-Yers to figure out how to move about the company on their own
-Have a Gen-Y High Potential program, that includes networking opportunities
-Include responsibility in a special focus group as part of the new role, a Gen-Yer could change the face of your company with one idea
And if you start including these with your Gen-Yers, along will come employee engagement, willingness to take new initiatives, a deeper group for tapping future successors, and best of all: retention.