The Millennial generation of employees are said to be aspirational, more driven to affluence than generations of workers before them.
A paycheck and a matching 401k plan are not enough for them: they want rewards that have meaning and value to them today, not several decades down the track.
So what can businesses do to be attract and retain talented staff from this generation? Meet some employers that are offering more innovative benefits and perks.
Investing in your employees’ future
Boxed Wholesale recognised that some of its employees demanded the business take on a more paternal role in their lives. So the CEO of the shopping startup began investigating smart new ways the company could help its young employees.
CEO Chieh Huang recently announced that Boxed Wholesale would pay up to $20,000 for any full-time employee’s wedding expenses. He also pledged to donate $1 million in cash and shares personally to pay for the cost of tuition for his estimated 100 employees’ children.
Meanwhile, Practichem CEO Nick DeMarco has promised to lease a brand new car for all company employees as a way to attract and retain talent once Tesla releases its latest model. The lab equipment supplier currently employs 16 people and is planning to hire nine more workers.
But what if your business can’t justify expensive perk systems like sports cars? Consider instead that most employees prefer to feel connected to where they work, appreciated for what they contribute and gain regular feedback on how they can progress.
Benefits outside work
Some employees also expect to see benefits that combine work with social good.
In 2015 Barney & Barney started a volunteer challenge for its staff where team members can earn $15,500 in grants to award to a non-profit of their choice by logging their volunteer hours.
For fitness buffs, fitness trackers are popular in corporate wellness programs. By 2018 employers nationwide are expected to incorporate 13 million wearable fitness tracking devices into work-based wellness initiatives reports ABI Research. In turn the information recorded by these devices will be connected to financial incentives.
UnitedHealthcare employees can earn up to $1,095 per year by meeting certain goals for their number of daily steps monitored with wearable devices.
Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Fidelity recently announced student loan repayment benefit plans.
Some 89% of job seekers with debt believe companies should offer student loan repayment and 10% ranked student loan repayment higher than paid vacation as the most important benefit, according to a national survey by Beyond, a career resource.
As a result, companies offering innovative benefits such as student loan reimbursement may have a leg up on the competition:
“Student loan reimbursement could help retain millennials who have been famously less loyal and more likely to switch jobs than previous generations,” explained Joe Weinlick, senior vice president of marketing with Beyond.
Traditionally, companies offered cash-based reward systems but customizing incentives is allowing companies to scale cost and give employees what they want.
5 tips for launching perks that work
1. Remember that perks and benefits reflect the company culture.
New professionals want to align themselves with companies that
have a positive social impact. Some 45% of millennials prefer a job that is beneficial to society compared to 27% that want a job that simply pays well, according to McGraw-Hill Education’s The Grad Gap study.
2. Consider employee-controlled benefit systems.
Workers are eager to take control of their lives and find a balance between work and life. Two-thirds want to work from home, 36% would choose
telecommuting over a pay raise and 37% would take a pay cut of 10% if they could work from home, according to Global Work Place Analytics
3. Customize reward systems.
Customizing your reward systems can help your business scale cost and help your employees feel invested and appreciated. Non-cash perks can include kitchen appliances, merchandise, gym memberships, cruises, weekend travel, gift certificates and shopping sprees fuelled with gift cards.
4. Attach status to young workers’ roles.
Baby Boomers stay on a job an average of five years compared to seven years for Generation X and 18 months for Millennials, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employers most successful at retaining millennial talent are those that offer international assignments, highly visible projects, leadership development training and sponsorship.
5. Explore joint benefit programs.
Benefit programs that link retirement plan participation or insurance policies with rewards can deliver more of what employees want. For example, workers at participating corporations who add John Hancock’s Vitality benefit to their life insurance policy can receive savings off their grocery purchases up to $600 a year when they use their store loyalty card to make healthy food choices in participating stores, such as Wal-Mart.
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