How global mobility can help recruit and retain your best talent

As younger staff preference work-life balance over pay companies that offer work travel and postings abroad can keep young workers motivated and loyal to a business and reduce staff turnover.

Young woman using laptop by the sea
Looking for ways to incentivise and retain your best people? Rather than a pay rise, many of them might jump at the opportunity to live and work abroad.

Opportunities to work abroad attract hard to recruit Millenials

By publicising opportunities to take an overseas assignment, your business will appeal to those hard-to-recruit Millennials. What’s more, encouraging employees to apply for postings outside their home country will build a more loyal and collaborative workforce, says Bill Docherty, managing director and general manager of Deloitte’s ConnectMe.“Global mobility shouldn’t just be driven by leadership development, as it has been at many companies in the past,” he says.“It shouldn’t be top-down and reserved for a select few. There are huge benefits for the company and its staff to make these opportunities available to everyone.”When an employee has been working away from home, they have been exposed to other cultures and have a greater sense of collaboration and empathy with their international colleagues, he says. This can benefit the business on an inclusive level, and the employee on a personal and career basis.“It’s one thing to meet and work in the virtual space, but it is another to live in that geographical area and work alongside people from other cultures. It enables employees for to form stronger bonds and develop their personal empathy,” he says. “It helps people be more productive and understanding.”As organisations begin to recognise that the new type of leadership is one of collaboration, empathy and vision, encouraging staff to make the most of overseas opportunities is a win-win for all.It’s particularly appealing for Millennials, who place work-life balance and inclusion far higher on their life priorities than a pay rise.Flexibility working hours, work-life balance and diversity are far more appealing to the younger generation, who value opportunities for personal and career growth higher than salary rises.Bill Docherty says some industries like manufacturing have found it harder than others to implement virtual working, but there are still opportunities to help employees grow and develop.“All the research that I have seen indicates that it is not a geographical phenomenon – it is age related and has distinct appeal for the younger age group in a workforce.“Millennials know that if they want to be a global digital citizen then they need to have the experience and exposure to other cultures that overseas assignments can provide,” he says. “They have already been exposed to opportunities to travel and experience other cultures in their personal life and education, and they continue to seek out those opportunities in their working life.”

How to have international appeal

On the simplest level, organisations often fail to let staff know what’s available, and the best people for the job may not even be aware of what’s coming up.“Companies can improve the awareness of international opportunities, as many employees are not even aware that the opportunities exist, or how to pursue them.“Historically it has been top-down, succession planning or by word of mouth. Now most forward-thinking companies realise that younger people appreciate the chance to go on an overseas assignment.”The 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey found that diversity, inclusion and flexibility were all key to loyalty and retention among this age group.“Opening up the chance to work overseas also helps to foster cultural diversity within an organisation, which has appeal to the younger members of the workforce,” he says.“They have already had exposure to other cultures through technology, travel opportunities during education and opportunities to study abroad when they were at college. They are digital natives, and the idea of leaving friends and family for a long time is no longer a worry because of the ability to stay in touch via technology.”In the past, an individual might not have wanted to go on relocation but had to because it was part of their career progression. Now it can be marketed as a real benefit.

How technology assists global mobility

It is important for organisations to make sure that people know those opportunities exist, but fewer than 25% of companies are good at making staff aware that they can apply.During the application process there are new ways for potential assignees to find out what their life would be like, and to make the whole relocation process more streamlined.For example, virtual reality can provide an immersive experience of a potential location. Social media channels, LinkedIn, Facebook Workplace and other sites can help people learn from the experiences of their colleagues and stay connected. While they are on location they can sort out housing, schools, and research the local area using smartphone apps.On assignment companies can personalise their employees’ experience via technology such as ConnectMe so that they can support them at each stage – the relocation, the assignment and preparation for coming home.

Recruitment and retention in the financial services sector

In the financial services sector, turnover rates continue to rise, with only 10% of millennials saying they plan to stay in their current role for the long term.Global mobility offerings can improve employee engagement and retention – with new digital platforms available, mobility programs are becoming more streamlined for both employees and employers.“Mobility can be the key to loyalty and increasing retention, particularly in an industry like financial services where there is a much larger global footprint than many other industries,” says Bill Docherty.“There is the perception that staff in this industry are driven primarily by compensation, but with competition for the best staff a company can differentiate itself by offering benefits like overseas assignment.“Millennials view benefits as key and look for ways to further personal and career growth and progress in an organisation.”

Women and minorities

Another way companies can increase their appeal to a younger workforce is to make sure that female staff and those from minorities are aware of the opportunities and encouraged to apply for them.“Historically, global mobility has been driven by leadership development,” he says. “The challenge for organisation is to give women and minorities opportunities. That in turn will drive diversity and inclusion.”Many organisations – including those in financial services – try to combat the talent shortage by increasing pay rather than adopting new benefits and opportunities for employees.Global mobility offerings are a great example of a benefit companies can offer to retain talent, and now digital tools are making the process behind mobility much more streamlined and accessible for all.
For related news and features, visit our Mobility Industry and Talent Management sections.  Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory 

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