HR Management, HR Policies & Procedures

Generational Differences and Workplace Relocation Programs: One Size Does Not Fit All

Just when the business world was starting to warm up to the nontraditional needs of the Millennial … INCOMING! That’s right – Generation Z is here and finally winding its way into today’s modern and diverse workforce. While it may be a tad too early to predict the entire thematic legacy of this demographic – set to become 40 percent of the population by 2020 – there are already signs to show that their desires and expectations at the workplace are moving away from those of their 80 million Millennial predecessors.elders

In order to attract the best possible team of engaged, digitally savvy employees, and keep them around, CEOs and owners will now need to learn how to play to a variety of generational nuances.

 Generational Characteristics

Knowledge about the similarities and differences between the various generations are imperative for companies to be able to harness talent and protect their interests.

Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964).  Not afraid to put in a day of hard work, Baby Boomers have a strong work ethic, are self-assured, competitive, team-oriented and disciplined. Because their parents lived through the Great Depression, Boomers know how to get by with what they have, and maybe this is why so many remain in the workforce.

Boomers know how to keep their minds focused and have longer attention spans. They have a strong sense of community and are most interested in collaborative activities.

Generation X (born between 1965-1976). Also known as the “Middle Child” generation, Gen Xers grew up in two income families with higher divorce rates. Many were “latch-key children,” who now exhibit independence and self-sufficiency. They were the first generation to grow up with computers, so technology is woven into their lives.

Gen Xers are less committed to a single employer compared to the Boomers, and adapt well to change. They work to live rather that live to work. “Work hard, play hard” is their motto.

Millennials (born between 1977-1995). This generation grew up with technology and relies on it to perform their jobs better. They are plugged in 24/7, and are willing to trade higher paid positions for fewer hours and better technology. For them, it’s not about work-life balance, it’s just about life.

Confident and ambitious, Millennials have high expectations of employers and are not afraid to question authority. They crave feedback and guidance and need frequent praise and reassurance. Millennials spend an average of 2 to 3 years at single company—they are always looking for something better. They benefit greatly from mentorship

Generation Z (born between 1996 and later). Seemingly jaded, this “Homeland Generation” was born into a world of war and economic unrest. They don’t want to be tracked, which is why apps like Snapchat and Whisper has seen explosive growth with them; in contrast to Facebook, which lost 25 percent of this demographic.

Generation Z knows life is hard and requires hard work. They are expected to take the term “multitasking” to the next level, preferring to work on five screens simultaneously instead of two. It’s said they even experience 4-D thinking and are hyper aware to things that surround them. Ultimately, they can’t fathom the thought of living without being connected all the time.

Policy Evolution

With knowledge of generational differences in hand, it’s important to create a domestic relocation program that is appealing to all of them—focusing on just one generation is a mistake.

Real estate support. Typical home sale benefits are becoming increasingly ideal. Studies have found that while all generations of buyers begin their home searches online, 90 percent still eventually consult real estate agents and brokers—they still feel the value of a real estate professional, and human support.

Lump sums. Similar to real estate support, lump sum programs need to balance DIYers, who want to find the best deals and stretch their lump sums, with human advocacy and duty of care factors.

Allowances. There has been an increased interest in calculated lump sums and allowances, particularly relocation allowances. For instance, some organizations are offering allowances to attract employees to live just outside the city center.

Domestic assignments. Companies must place more focus on domestic opportunities and building up our national talent pool. Since recent generations are less dedicated to companies, it’s important that we figure out new and innovative ways to grow.

Uber Mobility

With the onset and popularization of the Uber app, we’re finding that technology in its many forms is changing the landscape of U.S relocation. It’s important for companies to realize that when it comes to technology, one size doesn’t fit all. Technology, however, must be utilized to get information to people quickly and directly. People expect text messages, links and information at their fingertips.

Location, Location, Location!

Baby Boomers are downsizing and moving to less expensive locations, which is ideal for companies; while Generation X tends to settle in for the long run and is considered “Geographical foundational.”

Millennials love urban living and are drawn to cities like Boston, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Denver. While it was originally thought that this generation would not be homeowners and would never get married and have children, this has not turned out to be the case.

Recently they’ve represented the largest share of homeowners, and have been increasingly purchasing single-family homes in suburban locations. Two thirds (66 percent) are married, with only 13 percent unmarried. So they are buying, selling, tying the knot, creating families and moving into the suburbs.


Ultimately, it’s important to take the characteristics of each generation and bring them together to create a cohesive understanding of how they impact company relocation programs individually and as one. Recent generations have shown less of an attachment to companies and places, which makes them more willing and eager to move for new assignments and opportunities.

It is imperative that we create innovative ways to keep the attention of all generations to allow for greater retention in the workplace. We can do this by creating a culture of balance and by helping each other disentangle ourselves from hyper connectivity. We can’t be afraid to change the rules and break tradition to achieve great results.

Lisa Mendelsohn is the regional director for North America. She brings more than 15 years of mobility experience and an expertise. Lisa joined Crown in 2013 and since then has lead and developed the North America Account Management team to devise and successfully execute on key strategies to further strengthen our client relationships. The execution of these strategies lead to further client growth, retention and increased satisfaction.

Crown World Mobility ( is a division of the Crown Worldwide Group, established in 1965 and headquartered in Hong Kong. Crown World Mobility helps corporations manage global talent and talented individuals perform on the global stage. Crown’s approach is to work with all stakeholders to find the right solution, implementing a global mobility program that is successful for the whole organization. This often means finding a unique solution, which Crown has the experience and capability to deliver.