Elizabeth Cushing

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Homer's The Odyssey: History's Greatest Relocation Epic

Posted by Elizabeth Cushing on Jul 18, 2013 2:04:00 PM

Everyone knows the story: a cunning warrior leaves home to fight in a lengthy war and then attempts to return to his family, only to be forced to wander around the Aegean for close to twenty years. Odysseus’s tale is one that has been carried through the ages...and in the backpack of every high school student. The Odyssey is much more than “that book you read freshman year,” however: it actually imparts several valuable lessons about relocation. For employers intent on successfully relocating their employees (preferably in a time period shorter than two decades), Homer’s epic demonstrates that providing the proper support, advice, and resources will allow your employees to reach their destinations quickly and easily, no odyssey required!19173097 s

First and foremost, employers should pay close attention to the kind of support Athena provides throughout the Odyssey. While the goddess helps Odysseus out of several tight spots, she also (and most importantly) convinces Odysseus’s son to make the necessary preparations within the palace and beyond for his father’s return to Ithaca. Upon his eventual arrival, those preliminary preparations are what make it possible for Odysseus to reclaim his rightful place as king. This is an important step that all employers should take during the relocation process. –Have you designated a place for new employees within your company to allow for the smoothest transition and experience? You’re going to provide the ship and crew to get your employees across the Aegean and through your office doors, but don’t forget to have a stable “home” waiting for them!

Athena also comes to Odysseus’s aid when he is forced to fight Polythemus, the people-devouring, monstrous cyclops. With the goddess’s support, Odysseus is able to blind Polythemus and thus escape with his life. For new employees, sometimes just thinking about all the effort and strategizing that will have to go into relocating, and everything that “still has to be done!”, can make for cyclops-sized bouts of anxiety and uncertainty. Furthermore, it’s likely that your new employees have heard some relocation horror stories (what are relatives for?), and might have constructed their own Polythemus of daunting moving misconceptions. Be certain your employees know that you, as their employer, are completely in their corner, ready and willing to field any questions they might have about a move. Be their Athena – help them blind the cyclops of fear and misconception, and let them know it’s possible to escape from the process victorious.

Besides Polythemus, Odysseus faces a number of other difficulties. At one point, he is caught in the goddess Circe’s grasp after she turns his men into pigs, and later must traverse Hades to consult the prophet Tiresias, who subsequently directs him into the jaws of yet another monster. On Circe’s island, our Greek hero is only spared from becoming a tasty side of bacon by the timely appearance of Hermes, who advises him to eat the plant Moly. Likewise, Odysseus loses only six men – as opposed to all of them – by following Tiresias’s advice to navigate Scylla’s, as opposed to another monster’s, foreboding waters, and is free to continue on his journey afterwards. The lesson here is very simple: give good, knowledgeable relocation advice, taking into account – and making your employee aware of – the benefits and drawbacks of every possible option. Hermes, knowing Odysseus was in danger of being turned into a pig, made himself available and helpful at the opportune moment; Tiresias, aware that any path Odysseus took would end in some sacrifice, advised our hero to take the way that would cost him the least. Stay on top of current deals and prices related to relocation, and consult with any moving services associated with your company to discuss possible discounts. Better yet, direct your new hire to the HR department or a mobility professional (such as UrbanBound) for further beneficial advice, and avoid those pesky monster-related disasters.

Don’t forget about managed lump sum packages! Like the sirens who sang to entice Odysseus and his men to wreck on the rocks, and the delicious allure of the god Helios’s cattle on the island of Thrinacia (the eating of which led to the death of every single one of Odysseus’s men), your employees are going to be bombarded with seemingly economical, tempting relocation deals from every side. If you just hand them a lump of cash and walk away, they will undoubtedly run their ship aground or eat that sacred cattle – instead, hand them the ability to successfully navigate treacherous waters by providing valuable direction and information about how to best spend their package. Employees should be provided with information about the best relocation prices and services, and resources that will help them plan out future expenditure. This way, your employees get the most out of their lump sum, and won’t be tempted to make unnecessary purchases (or eat those cattle!).

At one point in the Odyssey, Odysseus’s crew is gifted with a bag containing the “bad” winds that are preventing them from reaching Ithaca. The crew proceeds to open the bag, releasing the winds and causing the ship to be blown right back to their starting point. Don’t assume that new employees know not to open that bag of winds when relocating – without proper direction, naïve first-timers absolutely will! Employers who communicate with their employees throughout the moving process, offer good advice, and give guidance when dispensing lump sums end up with a happily relocated employee. Luckily, UrbanBound’s app allows you to stay connected with your relocating employees. After all, any employee can make it to Ithaca: they just need a little assistance from you!

relocating millennials

Topics: Lump Sum, Relocation

Mobility Monday: Popular Cities For Millennial Employees - Part 2

Posted by Elizabeth Cushing on Jul 15, 2013 1:54:00 PM

Last week we posted the first three entries on our list of the most popular cities for relocating Millennials. Millennials are inheriting the world's workforce, and while many of them are just beginning their careers, this generation is proving its value in a multitude of ways. Taking a look at the most popular cities for Millennials will help you learn how to recruit them more effectively. With that in mind, here is the conclusion to our list...12810059 s


Ithaca, located in the Finger Lakes region of New York, offers a huge assortment of outdoor activities and beautiful scenery. The biggest reason Ithaca keeps Millennials coming back for more, however, is its small size (population hitting just about 30,000 people) and consequent status as an up-and-coming metropolis. Ithaca is a perfect example of the kind of city that Millennials love: one that provides an entirely new, virtually unrestricted environment in which individuals are free to discover and mold their dream job, allowing enthusiastic, hopeful entrepreneurs the ability to establish themselves in an expanding city.

Ithaca offers a lesson in stagnation – or rather, the elimination of it. Lacking development of new company programs and strategies will definitely work against you in terms of attracting Millennials. Even if your current business method is tried and true, new hires want to see things happening – innovative plans being implemented, new directions being taken, and so on. Millennials, who are always on the lookout for opportunities to distinguish themselves as individuals with distinct personalities and abilities, are ultimately interested in observing your progress and expansion as a business so that they are able to align their own personal growth with that of the company.


Admittedly, the bustling metropolis that is Dallas has several attractive features, including an average monthly rent price that hovers around $1,314 and numerous sports teams. However, the most important Millennial draw of this Southern city is that it also functions as a cultural mecca. Home to more than 7,000 restaurants and a substantial art district, Dallas also hosts several universities that draw students from all over the world, and is ultimately defined by its distinct cultural identity.

Dallas has one lesson to teach, and it’s a big one: the importance of cultural identity. Millennials are statistically adventurous and ambitious – they want to be a part of something that makes them stand out, something that jives perfectly with their “cool and quirky” self-definition. Employers who lack a distinctive, palpable cultural identity don’t attract Millennials, period. Your objective should be to establish a solid, recognizable company identity. Of course, subtly drawing attention to the cultural diversity of your locale isn’t a bad idea either – anything that can be associated specifically with your company, be that the food truck out front that serves the best Belgian waffles around or the art district just down the street, will make you both memorable and attractive to Gen Y workers. Consider, for example, hosting a fun meet-and-greet event at a local cultural hotspot to introduce prospective employees to your company.

More importantly, you have to get online. Networking is huge – take advantage of the myriad of social media channels and establish a strong Internet presence. Tweet reasons why your employees love coming to work, blog about community and company events, or film a quick video for your official website that provides a brief insight into what being an employee of your company is all about. There’s no better way to reach Millennials and establish your identity as an employer than through the power of the Internet.


Now really, you didn’t think we’d let you skate by without at least mentioning our hometown, did you?

Chicago has the cultural appeal, effective public transportation system, and sustainability programs down to a science, but has most recently been credited as a Millennial destination because of its expanding base of new, tech-associated businesses, which create thousands of opportunities for potential employees. Establishing strong online identities and powered by their business-casual dress code, these companies are making innovative, creative contributions in a variety of fields. There has never been a better time for Millennials to take advantage of all the Windy City has to offer!  (If you want an example, just look at UrbanBound!)  

Generation Y is the workforce of the future, and all companies should take advantage of this highly-educated, creative group of individuals. The Millennials are coming – make sure they’re coming to you!


mistakes when relocating millennials

Topics: Millennials & Gen Z, Relocation, HR

The Most Popular Cities For Millennial Employees - Part 1 of 2

Posted by Elizabeth Cushing on Jul 12, 2013 12:47:00 PM

Tell Paul Revere he has another announcement to make: the Millennials are coming, and they’re coming fast! These young’uns are the future of the American labor force; in fact, they already make up nearly half of the employees in small businesses. Due to their willingness to relocate and their preference for stimulating, energetic environments, major city centers are rapidly expanding with Gen Y upstarts.

Examining the major cities that are currently attracting the most Millennials is a perfect way to understand the values and interests of this young generation – all employers can learn from the specific characteristics and subsequent appeal of these cities. Use the information to form your own strategy for taking advantage of the new, teeming workforce just outside your door! (We can’t guarantee they’ll be dressed in red, though.)12875980 s


Seattle is quickly emerging as a leading technological center, rife with job opportunities in engineering and biotechnology, and host to major companies such as Microsoft and Amazon. What really makes Seattle such a fantastic city for Millennials, however, is the large number of start-up companies that offer personalized, inventive positions. Millennials prefer objectives that are not time-sensitive and allow them to showcase their own creativity – essentially, they want to be able to put their own personal stamp on challenging, open-ended projects. Seattle’s enterprising tech-based companies provide Millennials with this coveted workplace flexibility, allowing employees to take on tasks they find engaging and produce something entirely unique.

Seattle’s lesson revolves around the kind of jobs Millennials want – specifically, those that lack tasks with concrete, non-negotiable stipulations. Gen Y workers want their job to be a medium through which they are able to creatively and fluently express themselves: in other words, they want to define their job, rather than having a job that defines them. Keep this in mind when hiring and allocating tasks to new employees: while some guidelines are necessary to structure any assignment, leave room for the objective to be taken in any creative direction. Not only will you end up with innovative, unique work, you’ll have a happy, motivated employee.

Washington, D.C.

Our nation’s capital boasts the highest workforce population of Gen Y workers – a solid 26% of employees. Washington, D.C. is so attractive to Millennials mainly because living there doesn’t necessitate having a personal vehicle. Residents living in the capital and surrounding districts, such as Arlington and Alexandria, are able to use public transport, walk, or bike to their destinations. Moreover, the areas that include affordable, practical housing are all within walking or biking distance of major restaurants and shopping quarters, and public transport stations are ubiquitous.

Washington, D.C. teaches an important lesson about the link between sustainability efforts and Millennials. Members of Gen Y are intensely focused on giving back to their community, especially through environmental conscientiousness Make sure you discuss public transportation options with your Millennial hires – not having to worry about a car appeals to the focus on a “greener” planet, and also makes paying off college debts easier. If your new employees are relocating, make sure they are briefed (either by you, your company’s HR department, or a mobility professional like UrbanBound) about affordable housing options located within walking or biking distance of businesses, attractions, and restaurants.


Athens, Georgia, is the perennial college town. The proud home of the University of Georgia, Athens boasts a young residential population, beautiful environs, a lively sports atmosphere, and plenty of nature parks, zoos, and arboretums. All this, in addition to fairly low rent prices (averaging around $798 a month), makes Athens a Millennial hotspot.

The lesson to take away from Athens is that Millennials, as a group acutely interested in reciprocal learning and teamwork, like to work among their “own kind” (which is what makes the young residential population of Athens so attractive). While they are very interested in learning from business veterans (and teaching those veterans a thing or two about their new smartphones!), Millennials also like favor collaboration with peers, and are energized when working alongside members of their own generation. Allowing your Millennial workers to learn from one another through teamwork provides them with the opportunity to grow as successful employees and ultimately produce successful results.

Check back next week for the conclusion to "The Most Popular Cities for Millennial Employees!

understanding Millennials

Topics: Millennials & Gen Z

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