As someone who is proud to be at the beginning of a generation of Millennials, I often get branded with specific phrases or thoughts, things that I like to call Millennial Myths. It’s not that these stereotypes aren’t around for a reason, they’re often rooted in real issues, but I find that they are generally misunderstood.  Understanding these myths can help you create better relocation programs that will help entice young talent or motivate a younger team.

Let’s break down a few.

All Millennials are Alike. This myth is akin to (and can be as offensive as) the same statement made about a certain race, religion or ethnicity. Each one of us is unique and many things contribute to who we are: our upbringing, our education, our likes and dislikes. Understand those generalities and then try to find the individualism in them. Try keeping an open mind about policy substitutions (but don’t go crazy). I might care less about temp living and more about making sure my dog is transported comfortably. We are a generation that thrives in crowd interaction, but finding our own individuality is incredibly important to understanding who we are. Unless we’re in a cult that only wears lululemon and drinks Starbucks passion tea with two pumps of mango every day at 4:35pm religiously, then go ahead and judge.

We Have Social Interaction Issues. Sure, plenty of us exhibit social anxiety, but so do plenty of Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers. The misunderstanding here is that what we actually relish is real interaction. What can we find in common with a stranger? How do we make a big room seem smaller? Whether prepping for a large regional relocation event or a one on one conversation, I love doing a little research ahead of time on LinkedIn or Facebook. Props to the local organizations that show the names of registrants ahead of time on their website. You can find out little things about a person to start a conversation with, their likes, their education, their last job. It makes interaction so much more meaningful. It’s totally okay to say, “I saw on LinkedIn that you went to X college…”, just don’t over-Google us and freak us out, okay?  We feel more comfortable when there’s at least one other person there we know. It takes the edge off. Do you have an internship program? Think about things like shared housing or social outings with a purpose (kickball games, laser tag, trivia night) where interns can create a bond.

We Have No Loyalty. This is my favorite one, because it usually couldn’t be farther from the truth. We pride ourselves on loyalty and friendship. We love getting an expert opinion on things (more about that in another myth) and to do that, we must have loyalty and trust. Where it gets confused is that many of us count our number one loyalty as the loyalty we have to ourselves. It’s commonly mistaken as selfishness (and I’m sure could be in many instances) but we were brought up knowing that the only person that can make you happy is you! We don’t look for supreme happiness anywhere else but inward. That strive can lead us to move from a job where we’re very grateful for all we’ve been taught, but ready for a new challenge. It can also mean taking big risks. Most of the great ideas of this generation have come after multiple failures. Thankfully, they were loyal to their own happiness and kept trying. Have you ever asked your global mobility staff how they’d feel about rotational responsibilities, or new projects twice a year? What is their passion and can you find a way to work that in to benefit your organization? (If you haven’t figured it out, I love to blog, so finding a company that would allow me to do so was incredibly important).

We Can’t Take Ownership. Our generation, and even more prevalent in the generation behind us (Generation Z) is all about a “shared economy”.  We do want to own things, but only where it makes sense. Why spend thousands of dollars on a purse you’re only going to use for a season, when you can rent one for a fraction of the cost? Why buy an expensive luxury car that you’re going to be too afraid to drive and have to sink your savings in to keep running, when you can rent it for an afternoon or a weekend? Why buy that waterfront villa on the Amalfi coast when you can Airbnb it and still have that comfortable, homey, feeling? We don’t mind buying things that we’re going to use daily (look how much we spend on a cell phone), but we don’t want to waste the money, the responsibility or the upkeep on something we’re only going to need once in a while. While there can be insurance risks in allowing your relocating employee to use these options, if you’ve got a lump sum program, let them use their lodging however they wish. In a controlled program, explore options with your temporary housing provider, you might be surprised at the choices they have with a similar, homey feel.

We Can’t Make Quick Decisions. Technology has given all of us the ability to research and comparison shop. It’s rare that I’ll purchase a big item without researching feedback from other consumers. I want to know if a hotel’s website claim of “easy access to the beach” means taking a bus five miles across the hood or walking five feet on a private path from my door. We’ve seen the RFP process evolve from one mobility head reaching out to four people they know, to procurement professionals doing their market research online and inviting ten (or more) companies to respond. As more Millennials take these procurement positions, that trend will continue to grow. We want choices, comparisons and real feedback from the user. Just because you state your technology is easy to use, what does that really mean in practicality? Take a look at your website with the eye of a fresh user. If you pride yourself on diversity, view your senior leadership page. If it’s all white males, how do we trust your claim?

So the next time you find yourself starting a sentence with “all Millennials” or “the thing about Millennials is”, remember to find the individuality in your statement. You can find real cost-savings, real connection opportunities and real loyalty when you find out what’s important to us. 

This article was posted on following categories: Relocation Tips