How to Really Support Relocating Millennials

If you have been in the HR business for a while, you’ve probably noticed that relocations are no longer reserved for a company’s highest-earning executives and managers. Today, relocation opportunities are on the rise for even the youngest members of the workforce, and businesses can draw on a global talent pool to fill even entry-level positions.

Luckily, the youngest workers actually want to relocate. They are more likely than their Generation Y and Baby Baby Boomer counterparts to go for a move, and they even consider the opportunity international experience to be a selling point. Part of this has to do with changing gender norms: while men are still more likely to make take the relocation leap than women, more men then ever  (72 per cent, verses only 59 per cent of baby boomers) say they will relocate to support their wife’s  job!

This new demographic of transferees means new challenges for HR professionals, but those challenges may not be what you think they are. There are a lot of stereotypes and workplace assumptions about millennials. They are constantly labeled as independent, tech-savvy, self-sufficient – even self-absorbed. The truth is more complicated than that. When facilitating the relocations of millennials within your company, don’t make decisions based on assumptions. Here’s are a few ways you can really support relocating millennials.

Support and encourage a work-life balance.

A recent EY study shows that millennials are so focused on finding a work-life balance that they are willing to relocate if it’s for a job that truly affords this opportunity. EY found that while millennials value a work-life-balance, 44 per cent say increasing responsibilities at home, as well as having spouses or partners who also work full time (a reality that’s not as common for older generations) means it’s not easy to come by. When you support relocating millennials, you have a special opportunity to help them establish the work-life balance they crave. Try to familiarize yourself as best as possible with your transferees’  outside-the-office interests, as well as the social and recreation opportunities in their new city. Providing them with information about sports clubs, hobby groups, gyms, personal development courses, local bars and nightlife, and more kills two birds with one stone. First, it helps them find their place within their new surroundings faster. Second, it shows them that you care about their wellbeing, not just their work output.

Educate them about relocation policies.

Millennials are new to the workforce, and that means they are new to relocation too. They may have spent some temporary time abroad studying or traveling, but they’ve most likely never moved for a job before. Don’t be fooled if they seem to know it all. They may be masters of Googling information (maybe they have looked up the best neighborhoods to live in, where they can find the best public parks, or where the best shopping is), but they likely know nothing about corporate relocation, so it’s important that you fill them in. Meet with them to discuss how relocation works in your company, what corporate benefits, packages and support they can expect, and what they need to do on their own to successfully complete their move.

Clearly explain the entire relocation process. 

Aside from your companies relocation policies, millennials will need support understanding the step-by-step process of relocating. Explain moving in clear and understandable steps. Additionally, it’s important for millennials to understand precisely what their responsibilities are, versus what HR will do for them. Online relocation platforms can help you and your transferee stay informed, connected, organized and clear about the relocation process. Fostering regular communication will save everybody a lot of time and headache. This isn’t hand-holding or coddling – it’s ensuring that the best interests of  you, your company and your valued employees are protected!

Don’t assume that millennials are completely unattached and free – support their families and homeownership plans.

It’s true that millennials are young, so they are less likely to have certain responsibilities than your more seasoned workforce have. Many of them won’t need to sell their home before taking off to their new location. It’s more likely they won’t be thinking about buying as soon as they land. You’re probably right to think that not as many will have significant others (spouses or serious relationships) or children who will move too. But this isn’t always the case, and these circumstances may be more common than you think.

When you support relocating millennials, make sure you take the time to understand each transferees’ specific situation. If they need to sell a home, explain your home purchase process. Does your company guarantee they it will cover the loss on sale? Does it reimburse certain expenses involved in the sale of the old residence? Or does your company leave home sale and purchase solely up to the employee?

When it comes to spouses and significant others, understand that for millennials, more than any other generation, care and attention to the needs of a spouse can be a deal maker or breaker when it comes to relocation. For millennials, a “trailing spouse” is an outdated and irrelevant thing of the past. It’s almost certain that significant others will have careers, ambitions, and interest of their own, so it is crucial for companies to support them too.


Provide stress-free relocations to your transferees. Take advantage of Settle-in.com’s expert relocation specialists and innovative online platform!


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(Photos: Steve Wilson)

About Christopher

I am an Human Resources professional who specializes in helping transferees and their families successfully relocate to international countries. My years of experience have helped me gain an excellent understanding of the individual needs of each unique relocation. I'm here at Settle-in.com to share my knowledge with other HR professionals. // Je suis un expert des Ressources Humaines qui est spécialisé pour aider les relocalisés et leur famille à s’expatrier avec succès vers des pays étrangers. Mes années d’expérience m’ont aidées à acquérir une excellente compréhension des besoins individuels de chaque relocalisation. Je suis ici à Settle-in.com afin de partager mes connaissances avec d’autres professionnels des RH.