Employee Benefits That Millennials Gravitate Towards
We’re seeing a huge shift in how employers are valuating employees with a focus on benefits that Millennials find more appealing to help find the most qualified.
The workforce is amidst a big shift in terms of demographics. While the workforce used to be primarily dominated by boomers, millennials are now entering the workforce in large numbers. Pair that with unemployment rates being lower than they were a decade ago, and employers must now focus on providing benefits that cater towards millennials. We are seeing dramatic shifts in how companies deem the worth of a potential candidate. It used to be simply about consulting with those around you and many of them ultimately relying on their gut instinct. With the unemployment rate being lower than previous decades, it can be difficult to find the most qualified millennials. Even with the amazing strides AI has made in determining quantitative figures when looking at potential value, it still doesn’t address the benefits that entice millennials to stay with the company long-term.
According to Forbes, millennials account for over 33% of the current workforce. Knowing this, it’s important to remember that millennials place more value on benefits than small pay bumps, so employers need to adjust accordingly. In order to attract the best millennial workers, employers should aim to identify and implement the benefits that millennials value.
Training & Education
Employers have seen that millennials value structured training programs. There’s nothing worse than getting thrown into something with minimal knowledge and training, so employers need to start prioritizing developmental training programs. While initially it may require more time and halt an employee from starting company tasks right away, it will pay off tremendously in the long run. This provides workers with the tools they need to possess a higher proficiency in company processes and promotes a more efficient workflow.
Aside from the value of a structured training program, millennials are seeking additional ways to expand their knowledge, and some companies have found ways to educate their workers beyond training programs. Employers can allocate funds towards educating their employees, offering enrollment into relevant courses, which in turn will help attract top millennial talent.
For example, employers might provide their employees with an extensive course on Microsoft Excel. Since this a prominent tool used by companies, it will help in terms of workflow down the road.
The domino effect that this can have is quite extraordinary. Not only can this attract top talent, but it can also lead to a decrease in employee turnover rates. Turnover costs could end up costing employers in the long run, so using those funds to provide employees with educational opportunities provides value to both the employee and the company.
Millennials are dealing with financial issues that boomers didn’t have to deal with. Naturally, they place more value on programs that cover costs they ordinarily would not be able to afford. With the current student loan debt crisis that is plaguing millennials around the country, there is a smaller chance that they will take the initiative to pay for courses on their own, which can ultimately limit their potential as an employee. It is also important to note that while many millennials are educated, it doesn’t necessarily set them apart from their peers as a college degree used to. Millennials are the most educated of any generation, but it hasn’t influenced unemployment rates. As a result, millennials need additional training to set leverage themselves as more qualified than their peers.
Flexible Work Environment
Being able to implement a degree of flexibility into the workplace doesn’t have to mean that it lacks structure. When millennials say they value flexibility, it can mean something as simple as being given the option to work remotely. Allowing employees to work remotely helps maintain a positive work-life balance, while in turn decreasing your employee turnover rate. The benefits of this are not limited to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. The benefits of offices going virtual either permanently or occasionally should not be ignored, as they can free up costs that can be put towards the addition of benefits that appeal to the growing millennial workforce. If working remotely is not an option, you can still appeal to millennials by shifting the aesthetic of the workplace to something more modern. Aside from boosting productivity, it’s a great way to attract a higher tier of talent.
Another way employers can demonstrate flexibility is to establish a clear, direct line of communication between the employee and themselves. Don’t shy away from inquiring employees about what projects they are working on, have candid conversations with them during lunch. This demonstrates that you value what they are working on and who they are as a person outside of work. Employees crave that feeling of being valued by superiors.
Companies should be able to shape roles for their employees that will maximize their potential. You wouldn’t want your employee to feel pigeon-holed into a role that is clearly not the best fit for them. Not only does the employee lose motivation over time, but employers suffer as they are not maximizing the output for the employee.
By being flexible in every sense of the word as an employer, you are showing that you value both the quality of employee life both at work and outside of work. Being able to cater towards the idea that millennials place a lot of value on happiness is the key to retaining millennial employees that demonstrate valued qualities of a good employee.
The surest way an employer can drive up turnover rates is not properly valuing and compensating their employees. Living paycheck to paycheck is a harsh reality for many millennials, and it’s already an enormous struggle to pay for basic living expenses. The idea of building a savings or emergency fund is daunting for many when they are already struggling to get by.
As an employer, forcing millennials to settle for inadequate pay can lead to an increase in employee turnover. Most millennials aren’t demanding anything out of the ordinary. They simply want to be properly valued, and not have to worry about sacrificing normal living conditions. For companies to retain their employees long-term, they must offer competitive pay that properly reflects their skill set. Now, millennials can’t expect these things to be handed to them. They understand that they must follow through on whatever they claim to possess value in.
A company that demonstrates a strong willingness to get to know both the strengths and weaknesses of their employees will be valued more than any other company. You never know when an employee will be more valuable than you realize, it just comes down to learning how to utilize their maximum potential.
While healthcare has always been a benefit valued by all, there is no question that millennials have seen a new wave of concern around healthcare. If you have upper management that falls into an older demographic, it can tough for them to be as concerned about their healthcare situation as millennials, when they often times have conflicting views of how the system should work.
If that latter group is the one making decisions regarding healthcare, it will likely be tougher to retain millennial employees – as is the case with student loan debt. This will likely lead to millennials being drawn to companies that provide some sort of education stipend and to companies with top-tier healthcare plans. This is primarily out of fear of going into crippling medical debt which is an unfortunate reality for many. Over 25% of millennials skip out on going to the doctor because it’s too expensive, while over 50% have encountered a medical bill that they either could not afford or had not properly budgeted for.
We can discuss the long list of benefits that people value, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find anybody that values anything more than their health. Being able to give employees peace of mind in that regard by providing a respectable healthcare plan should not be downplayed. It directly ties in with attracting the best employees, as they typically understand the value of how to identify a good healthcare plan.
We’ve already crossed the line where millennials dominate the workforce, but this doesn’t translate to not taking benefits that other generations value into consideration. It’s important to note that certain companies are geared towards different demographics, so certain companies may have a higher percentage of boomers than the average company. While some may expect millennials to be less interested in retirement benefits, many are aware of the long-term gain in early retirement investing. The shifting demographic means that while boomers values should be taken into consideration, millennials values should be the priority as they continue representing a larger chunk of the workforce for years to come. Providing opportunities for education and training, a flexible work environment, competitive pay and reasonable healthcare options, is a company’s best bet in attracting and retaining this demographic.