Motivating your Young Assignees for Global Assignments

The Global Mobility Trends Survey 2016 says one out of 10 foreign assignees is a millennial. But these twentysomething to thirtysomething workforce talents see their global assignments through a different lens than their older bosses who took the trip (or several of them) decades ago. An expat tour of duty is not just one step up the promotion track, but it’s an adventure into a wonderful if different country where they can learn culture, language, and a more holistic perspective of businesses around the world.

That’s why pay and perks may not matter so much as just being given the opportunity to interact with the local culture and visit the destinations that the country has to offer.

This is also an opportunity for global mobility professionals like yourself to harness this enthusiasm while making it cost effective for your company. It can very well be a double victory: you pump and prime young talent who are more than willing to deliver peak performance, while reducing unnecessary expenses. (For example: the expat of a generation ago might demand a luxury car; your millennial assignee might be happy with a simple sedan, as long as he gets guided tours of the museums, malls, and the night markets.)

Here are some tips to make it a win-win scenario for you and your young assignee:

Have the employee contribute to the housing cost

It will increase his sense of ownership and encourage his desire to be part of  his new community. California Corporate Housing has programs that will allow him to personalize what would have been a simple, typical condo or apartment.

Encourage him to take language lessons even before he relocates

Do this even if his new place of work is based in the U.S. Find out the other ethnic communities near his neighborhood as well as the expatriate enclaves he would have to network with, and let him learn a third language. It wouldn’t hurt to put fluency skills in Spanish, Hindi, or Mandarin on his resume.

Make sure his contributions to the company will be acknowledged

Millennials want to be heard and they want to know that they are making a difference in their place of work. Don’t confuse your young assignee with the Gen-Xers who would bide their time and respect seniority before collecting their dues. Let him  know he is doing good, and watch his motivation soar. One more tip: because he knows that his actions affect the greater whole, he might be more open into having a smaller cost-of-living allowance if he is aware that the resultant savings would benefit the company and make it more financially robust.

Involve him in community activities

While the more mature expats just want to go home and chill after work, again your young assignee will want to do something meaningful after he has clocked his hours. Volunteering to teach English in a local school during the weekends, coming up with an environmental protection program for the neighborhood, creating a business plan for a non-profit organization, helping out in the nearest church’s feeding program – be sure to discreetly point out these things to him, and watch him get right into the action.