To optimise the use of global mobility programmes, firms need to tailor them per the needs of the various generations at the workplace.
"If we don't go in-depth into each type of talent's personal situation, we may not be able to tailor a mobility solution for them," said Angelina Chua, HR and admin director, APAC, OshKosh Corporation, who sat on a panel at Human Resources' inaugural Workforce Mobility Interactive 2015.
"From my perspective, it's important to understand each expatriate's personal needs, address them and make sure they are comfortable going to the assignment in order to ensure a successful journey for them overseas," she said.
And these needs of expatriates differ vastly based on the generation the employee in question belongs to, the panelists observed.
"In Unilever, I have a lot of Millennials reporting to me, and to them, mobility is about building experience," Kenny Ong, country head of Malaysia and Singapore - Unilever Network, Unilever, said.
"If a company can give them a diversified experience, allow them to go overseas, then they love that company."
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He added Millennials are also competitive, and tend to compare their global experiences with those of the peers, including comparing how many countries they have travelled to, and for how long.
"Mobility for them is a lot of peer pressure, and a lot of Facebook photos. The more they travel, the more Twitter followers they have. They don't like staying in one place for a long time," Ong explained.
On the other hand, he added Gen X employees view mobility as a key step to prove their worth and take on more responsibilities.
"In Unilever, we have a lot of Gen X employees, and mostly are in senior managerial or C-level position. So mobility for them implies promotion," he observed.
"For instance, people of this generation actually want to go to Myanmar and Vietnam so they can take on a more senior role and run the entire show."
Michael Haberzettl, head of human resources ASEAN, at Siemens warned, however, that individual cases might be different even within the same generation.
"I expected to encounter that each generation type has a very clear preference for mobility, but I can't see that," he said.
"Rather. the opposite is the case. It is very individual."
He added Baby Boomers, for instance, are becoming more open to exploring new countries and adventurous now that they are discharging their personal obligations such as children or parents.
"On the other hand, we might think that Millennials are very adventurous and flexible to where they want to travel to for work. However, we find they are very much oriented towards their cozy comfort zones," he observed.
"I don't see a very clear pattern. And as a result, instead of defining very clear benefits and specific rewards for all, we go more for lump sum allowances that can be used for whatever each of the generations want."
Anna Tan, managing director, Wentworth People added that perhaps due to such trends, benefit packages are increasingly being viewed differently.
"I have observed that companies are cutting down on expats packages. A lot of people are, in fact, accepting local packages of the country they are in."