Benefits That Matter Most, Part One: The Millennial Mindset
This is the first of our new 3-part blog series, “Benefits That Matter Most.” This series will examine ways to tailor benefits packages to appeal to several diverse groups of employees. In Part One, we’ll explore how millennials are changing the way benefit packages are designed in the workplace. Part Two will discuss the unique challenges of crafting a benefits package to appeal to a multi-generational workforce, while Part Three will focus on benefits that appeal to a multi-cultural workforce.
The Millennial Challenge
There can be no doubt that the benefits landscape is changing with the wave of millennials now joining the workforce. Traditional benefits packages typically do not address all the points that millennials are looking for as they enter the job market. Attracting top talent from the millennial generation requires a more creative approach.
Several surveys of millennials reveal a basic theme. Millennials are most drawn to employers who offer flexibility. They are uninterested in static, fixed benefits and strongly prefer a pick-and-choose menu of options. Perhaps the generation most likely to jump from employer to employer, millennials are interested in perks that help them achieve their desired work/life balance. They are tech-savvy, socially conscious, and intent on pursuing personal goals. They value individuality and creativity, and are eager to learn and progress within their fields.
Dispelling Millennial Myths
Millennials are perhaps the most widely misunderstood segment of the workforce. For instance, many millennials still live with their parents. The perception might be that this implies millennials are not concerned about financial responsibilities. However, millennials are often contributing to the household expenses of their parents and share financial responsibility for their living arrangements. Additionally, millennials entering the workforce now are often saddled with massive student loan debt – $35,000 on average for the class of 2015. This makes millennials interested in achieving financial stability and ensuring their financial future quickly.
Another misconception regarding millennials is that they are all interested in starting their own businesses or working independently. The truth is that many millennials want the stability afforded by working with a well-established company. While they often do have an entrepreneurial spirit, they may be content to exercise that creativity within the confines of your organization.
Contrary to popular opinion, millennials are not averse to taking sage advice. In many surveys, they express an appreciation for mentoring programs and on-the-job educational opportunities.
So What DO Millennials Want?
According to a study by MetLife, 86 percent of millennials state they value having benefits personalized to meet their individual circumstances and age. So, what are the most popular employee benefits with millennials? Consistently, these are the top company benefits that millennials list as important:
1) Training and Development
- 58 percent expect employers to provide them with learning opportunities related to their positions.
- 50 percent expect company financial support in paying for further education.
- 33 percent expect their employer to help repay existing student loans.
- 42 percent want feedback from supervisors and mentors every week.
2) Flexible Hours That Support a Positive Work/Life Balance
- 81 percent would appreciate being able to make their own hours at work.
- 77 percent believe that flexible work hours would make them more productive at work overall.
- 43 percent would switch jobs if given greater flexibility in work hours elsewhere.
3) Competitive Compensation
- 41 percent say higher compensation would increase their company loyalty.
- 68 percent say compensation is the most important aspect of their workplace.
- A majority prefer performance-based compensation rather than a rigid salary structure based on employee longevity.
4) Comprehensive Healthcare
- 96 percent would choose to take a job based on the healthcare package offered, all other factors being equal.
- 92 percent want a solid dental and vision plan.
- 53 percent are interested in short-term and long-term disability benefits.
5) Retirement Funding
- Over half of millennials want to invest in saving for retirement with a generous matching system in place from their employer.
- 48 percent want the option to purchase life insurance in the next three years.
6) Socially Conscious Company Culture
- 84 percent say that helping to make a positive difference in the world is more important to them than professional recognition.
- 60 percent cite “a sense of purpose” as part of the reason they work for their current employer.
- 84 percent made a charitable donation last year.
Less Common Perks That Millennials Value
Beyond the six areas of employee benefits mentioned so far, there are several other things that millennials would like to see in the workplace. Some of the less common company perks that make millennials take notice are:
- Travel rewards
- More casual attire days
- In-office pet-sitting services
- PTO for days spent volunteering in community service projects
- On-site gym or membership to nearby gym
The more creative the benefit, the happier millennials seem to be. For instance, while they readily participate in company wellness programs, they may be more excited by the prospect of company-provided fitness wearables to help them keep track of their progress. While they may enjoy cash bonuses, they may be more inclined to prefer discount programs catered to their interests.
What Does It All Mean for Employers?
For employers actively recruiting millennials, there are a few things that stand out as priorities for millennial job applicants. Building your compensation plan around performance instead of longevity will appeal to the new generation of workers.
Make mentoring a priority. Consider offering compensation for any further education needed by the millennials on your staff. Pair millennials with seasoned employees to promote learning opportunities for both sets of workers.
Where possible, allowing for maximum flexibility regarding working hours is preferred. If your business does not lend itself to great flexibility in hours of operation, consider ways to make millennials feel more at home in the office environment by allowing more casual attire and a reasonable amount of freedom in decorating their workspaces, if possible.
Millennials are the future of the employment landscape. Working to offer them greater flexibility, providing more mentoring, creating a corporate culture of social consciousness that fosters a positive work/life balance, and a benefits package that can be highly personalized to their particular concerns are all ways to attract the best of the millennial generation to your company and keep them for years to come.
If you would like help crafting a benefits package to attract millennials, please contact us. As specialists in the field of benefits consulting, we will work with you to tailor your benefits package most closely to your employees both now and in the future.