Much has been written and assumed about the Millennial generation. Quite a bit of it is, unfortunately, rather negative. Regardless of what people think of them though, millennials are now the largest adult generation. This also means that Millennials are the largest generation of employees around the world.
No longer can employers expect an employee to work for 30 years and retire with a gold watch. Today’s young adults have values that differ from past generations, and understanding this fact is an important step to take toward retaining top talent.
The Importance of Pleasing Millennials
Not only are Millennials the largest adult generation in the United States, but they are also expected to make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025. This means that companies who adapt to the desires of millennials will be better able to attract and retain the talent they need.
Companies that do not will see solid, hardworking employees move toward other companies that are more attuned to their needs and values. This means that it’s incumbent on companies to learn about what millennials expect when it comes to work-life balance and employee benefits.
1. Work-Life Balance
Millennials, like most other employees, want to maintain a healthy work-life balance. With the advent of new technology, many employers have ceased respecting the personal time that employees have in the evenings and on the weekends.
Millennials want to unplug when they are at home, and they want to enjoy quality time with their families.
While technology makes it easy to contact employees outside of regular work hours, Millennials do not appreciate it. They are more likely to be happy with employers who respect their desire for a healthy work-life balance.
Corporate America has long insisted on having employees sit behind a desk for 40 hours each week. There was little interest in how this affected productivity or mental and physical health.
Many millennial employees who aren’t employed on an assembly line want flexibility when it comes to their scheduling. This might involve nontraditional hours or the opportunity to work from home a few days a week.
Employees with flexible schedules tend to be healthier and have greater trust in their employers. They feel that their employers value them, and this can lead to higher levels of employee engagement and productivity.
While most people like to collaborate, many millennials also want an office of their own. It may be worth offering a little bit of both, if and when possible. Studies show that flexible working conditions can benefit employers with lower absenteeism and higher productivity.
Another important consideration for millennial workers is the location of their workplace. Most millennials are quick to shun the Midwest, and they would rather live in the major urban areas of the country.
This means that employers who want to attract and retain millennial talent will want to have offices in these urban areas. Many young people want nightlife and an active social scene. These benefits are more common in urban centres than in rural areas.
Additionally, many employees want to cut down on their commuting time and cost. Therefore, an office building in a downtown area that’s close to apartments in a community that’s easy to walk from will be very attractive.
Prospective employees will, most of the time, be less excited about an office building in a suburban industrial park that’s 30 minutes or an hour from an urban area.
4. Proper Benefits
Millennials have different desires when it comes to employee benefits than some of their Baby Boomer forebears might have had. Many young employees are concerned with student loan debt, as the cost of post-secondary education has skyrocketed in recent years.
Therefore, an employer who has a debt payoff assistance program or an employee tuition benefit will likely attract quality employees who are looking to take care of their debt.
A healthy 401(k) matching program is also important because most millennial employees do not expect to have a traditional pension waiting for them.
Benefits like health insurance and paid time off will attract employees from just about any generation. Millennials will be no different, however, they do have more of a mind for environmental and social issues.
This makes it a good idea for employers to offer benefits like contributions to charities that employees choose and paid time off for approved volunteer endeavours.
Even an offering of one paid volunteer day each year can speak volumes to employees who care about social issues. This small but powerful allowance tells them you care about the issues too, as well as their desires and passions.
Millennials are big on loyalty. They want a steady job, and most would prefer not to piece together several freelance or part-time positions to make a living.
However, loyalty is a two-way street. Employers can only expect millennial employees to be as loyal as the employers are to them.
Setting up a program that shares profit or having a celebration to show employee appreciation can go a long way toward building loyalty and employee engagement.
6. Career Progression
Millennials are unlikely to want to spend 40 years answering phones or entering repetitive data. Most people want to move up in an organization, and Millennial employees are no different.
Employers will do well to learn where their employees see themselves in the future and help talented employees achieve their goals. This might involve helping an employee earn a new certification or set them up with mentors who can help them move up within the company.
Providing employees with work that they find meaningful will boost their engagement levels and have them wanting to stick around for a long time.
Millennials are frequently depicted in a negative light. However, companies that want to be successful in the long run will want to cater to talented millennials.
This will involve an increased focus on benefits that millennials want like contributions to popular charities and flexible working arrangements.
Locating in cities that are popular with younger workers and keeping them engaged in the workplace is key to attracting top talent and keeping it within an organization for the long haul.