Who Knew?! Your Hires are Happier if You Keep Them Moving

Are we all creatures of comfort? Well, global mobility specialists are finding out that it’s ok for many of talents or hires to move around if they are already used to traveling and relocating. Rotational assignments are losing their former “bad rep” as it has become the new high-powered strategy for developing the skills of as well as preparing bigger responsibilities for your senior, middle-aged executives, not just millennials.

In the past, employees shied away from rotational assignments because they were seen as a way to maximize talents who had become redundant but could not be retrenched. Another perspective was that rotational assignments were similar to boot camp — hapless employees were assigned for a short, but trying time to “hardship” offices based in difficult economies and resource-challenged working environments.

Increased globalization has changed those viewpoints, as cultural immersions, fluency in foreign languages, and an understanding of international business became keys to professional advancement.

And as far as the proverbial boot camp is concerned, assignees who do manage to turn around a problematic office, or improve a tough working environment, can put those rare achievements in their portfolio or resume. Home-based employees working in comfort may tend the herd and bring home the bacon, but an assignee who accomplishes the near impossible in a rotational assignment is akin to the white knight slaying the dragon and winning back the kingdom.

Government institutions like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are offering these game-changing opportunities to its senior leaders, brushing aside the stereotypical thinking that global mobility assignments are best left to millennials. The Federal News Radio says that, far from being a mean punishment to these executives, a rotational assignment will give them the opportunity to shine. Taking them out of their comfort zone will also broaden their horizons and provide them avenues to acquire more relevant skills.

Promising assignees cut their teeth and sharpen their skills through rotational assignments in Bechtel, the engineering, construction,and project management company that has built the Hoover Dam and the Hong Kong International Airport.

The company boasts more than 50,000 employees spread across 140  global offices, including the home office in San Francisco. According to Mercer, Bechtel makes its “hardship assignments” more palatable by offering assignees two weeks of paid vacation time, which will be enjoyed in another, presumably more leisurely, destination than the current location. This interplay of a difficult challenge and needed time for rest, enhanced by the element of distance, is calculated not just to boost the assignee’s morale, but his productivity as well.

Rotational assignments are one option to open opportunities for deserving employees who may not be able to go through the more long-term expatriate kind of engagement. The staff who see this becomes more engaged in their work, and their chances of staying on within the company increase.

The organization also profits the other way by luring in assignees who may not be able to sign on for the standard two-year traditional expatriate contact. For example, the more adventurous, younger assignees from India, China, and the United Kingdom would accept a short-term project if it means working with the geniuses in Silicon Valley in Northern California. They would be open to receiving a reduced compensation package if it means flexibility in their rotational assignment accommodations. Chances are they would prefer to deal directly with us at California Corporate Housing as we offer a variety of furnished apartments in the region.

At the end of the day, rotational assignments are mainly about opening to deserving talents unprecedented global mobility opportunities that present themselves today, regardless of the convenience of their location or the briefness of their tenure. Expect these trends in rotational assignments to become more commonplace in the near future.