The second post in our two-part series looking at how HR can help organizations tailor benefits to meet the newest generations’ unique needs.
In our first post we looked at the benefits HR can incorporate to appeal to Gen Z. In this second post we’re going to take a deep dive into the ideal benefits for Millennials.
You might think you already know the ins and outs of Millennials. But you’d be surprised. Born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials have often been referred to as the “Me Generation”.
Despite a reputation as narcissists with poor attitudes and little work ethic, Millennials are responsible for the development of a healthier work-life balance, and a stronger focus on corporate social responsibility.
Millennials thrive in creative outlets, and strive to do meaningful work with multiple organizations—forgoing life-long stints with one company, and instead building more dynamic and far less predictable career paths.
HR can help companies offer benefits for Millennials by understanding their lifestyles, needs and wants.
Help with Financial Planning: Part II
Just like their younger, Gen Z counterparts, Millennial's expect employers to provide benefits that focus on their financial needs and planning.
Many Millennials entered the workforce during the 2008 recession, which severely impacted their ability for gainful employment. With mounting student debt, rising costs of living and entry level pay stagnating, ten years after the recession, many Millennials continue to work towards financial independence.
As with Gen Z, HR should look to offer Millennial employees help with financial planning. Offering student loan repayment assistance is one way organizations can really set themselves apart from others. Currently, only around 4% of companies offer this kind of benefit for Millennials.
Other small perks employees can offer to help a generation struggling under a load of debt include:
- Subsidized monthly transit passes
- Remote work opportunities (to help cut down on travel costs)
- Free, healthy snacks in the workplace
- Livable wages
Income inequality is a major concern for 22% of Millennials and 26% admit to having no trust in business leaders. These kinds of stats should alarm employers. Knowing these dismal facts should encourage HR to lead organizations towards making the changes necessary to help Millennial employees attain benefits that assist them economically.
Training and Education
39% of Millennials have completed some form of higher education—that’s 10% more than Gen Xers and about 20% more than Baby Boomers.
Millennials value education. They also value organizations that support employees’ continued education, professional development and on-work training.
An ambitious group, Millennials look for job opportunities that focus on career development. They want employers to value their skills and abilities and work with them to grow within their fields.
HR can help facilitate this by organizing in-house training and developing a mentorship program that connects young, determined employees with successful mentors within their company.
Despite being labelled the “Me Me Me Generation” in 2013 by Time Magazine, Millennials are hard workers, who are never truly off the clock. Smart phones, laptops, chat apps and video conferencing have made working away from the office easy.
Millennials don’t want to work the traditional 9-5. HR knows this. Offering flexible work times helps employees balance their work-life schedules. It also relieves the pressure and stress that comes with travelling during rush hour. With the average commute time across Canada running around 60 minutes, flexible work schedules can also save employees time—that they can use to focus on work.
Speaking of flexible schedules—another employee benefit ideal for Millennials—Lifestyle Support.
What kind of benefit is lifestyle support?
The answer is simple—a benefit(s) that limits employee stress and works within the confines of their lifestyle. For Millennials this includes opportunities to work remotely, access to health and wellness supplements such as gym memberships and mental health care.
A major lifestyle support HR can help companies offer is better parental programs. As Millennials continue to start families later in life, access to benefits such as: fertility, infertility, pregnancy, maternity & paternity are highly coveted.
Some companies even offer “fur-ternity leave” (it’s a real thing) to employees bringing pets into their homes.
Understand What Sets Millennials Apart
To provide benefits for Millennials, HR (and the companies they work for) need to understand who Millennials are and what sets them apart from the older generations.
Recognizing changing ideals, needs and challenges Millennials face—soaring student debt, rising costs of living, saving for retirement—can help HR to identify the benefits that can best help younger employees succeed. Better, personalized benefits also encourage loyalty and help with employee retention.
Group benefits are important to the workplace, knowing how to tailor them to meet generational differences is what sets the best HR teams apart from the rest.