Many companies are jumping through hoops to come up with quirky benefits to attract skilled millennials. Give it a rest. According to a study published by the Employee Benefits Research Institute, rather than trendy benefits, here is what millennials prefer:[i]
- Training and Development. Millennials prefer real learning opportunities related to their positions, and they want feedback from supervisors and mentors every week.
- Flexible work hours that support a positive work/life balance. Better than that, more than 75% of millennials say that flexible work hours make them more productive. 43% say they would switch jobs for more flexibility. This is a frequent finding of many studies and should not be ignored by talent minded CEOs and CHROs. As a matter of fact, flexible work hours are highly popular with any generation, for men as well as women. I have personally implemented a flexible workplace environment, which resulted in higher employee productivity and morale, as well as reduced company costs.
- Competitive Compensation. As with flexible work hours, competitive pay hits the mark across any generation. Pay-for-performance systems are also important, rather than pay systems based on employee longevity.
- Comprehensive Health Care. An eye-popping 96% of millennials say they would take a job based on the comprehensive health care package offered, all other factors being equal.
- Retirement Funding. Millennials have seen tough times during the Great Recession. They face repayment of their college student debt, and they strongly doubt that social security or traditional pension plans will be there for them during their retirement. More than half of millennials want to invest in retirement savings, and they seek a generous employer match.
- Socially Conscious Culture. 60% of millennials cite “a sense of purpose” as part of the reason they work for their current employer. Purpose, not happiness, is the best intrinsic motivator. A sense of purpose drives discretionary effort, greater productivity, and increased innovation, which add to the bottom line. Talent minded CEOs are well advised to align their company’s mission to a larger socially conscious purpose.
Research by Zane Benefits finds a similar top list for millennials: health care, retirement, paid-time off, workplace flexibility, wellness programs and tuition reimbursement[ii]. Quirky benefits, such as free breakfast bars, Friday afternoon volleyball, and driving the CEO’s BMW for a week, while fun, don’t make the list.
Are you reviewing your pay and benefits offerings to attract the most skilled millennials? Stand up and be counted! Join the conversation.
Victor Assad is the CEO of Victor Assad Strategic Human Resources Consulting and is a Managing Partner of InnovationOne. He consults on innovation, talent management, developing agile leaders and teams, and other strategic initiatives. Questions? Please e-mail Victor at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.victorhrconsultant.com. For innovation visit www.InnovationOne.io.
[i] Pat Didomenico, (March 14, 2016, 12:23 PM) “What do millennials want from a benefits package?” The H R Soapbox, Business Management Daily. Found at http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/45868/what-do-millennials-want-from-a-benefits-package; And The Employee Benefits Research Institute, found at https://www.ebri.org/.
[ii] Christina Merhar (Oct. 9, 2015, Noon), “What Are the Most Important Benefits to Employees?” Small Business Employee Benefits and HR Blog. Found at https://www.zanebenefits.com/blog/the-most-important-benefits-to-employees.