Millennials, usually described as the emerging generation of the workforce including those born between 1980 and 1996, are quickly becoming a large percentage of the employed population. As with every new workforce generation, employers watch for different needs in order to remain current with recruiting and retention programs. Many Millennials came of age during an economic downturn and can have different orientations toward work and the compensation afforded by employment.
Generally, research indicates that the needs of millennials are not unlike other generations of younger people starting out in life. They want good jobs and to be engaged in their work.
With the rise in obesity and other lifestyle related health concern this millennial generation naturally has a larger focus on overall wellbeing in their lives, whether it be social, financial, physical, community or job essence.
They are also marrying later and do not tend to gravitate to larger traditional financial commitments as prior generations—like home or car purchase— leaving them free for mobility in employment.
Employers with an eye toward this generation will focus in three directions when considering changes in their programs.
Lifestyle support benefits such as paid maternity leave through the entire The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave period is increasingly becoming a trend with employers. Delaying marriage has led this generation to have children later in life, when they are more established in their careers. Companies are increasingly understanding that the cost of this extended leave is nominal when compared to the permanent loss of an experienced employees.
Secondly, benefits that have a combination of immediate and longer term benefits, such as health savings accounts, are a win for Millennials. Typically, younger workers spend less on healthcare but pay an average cost for payroll contributions. Allowing these younger workers to choose health savings programs, with lower premium costs, with funds that are accessible now and built for later retirement use appeals to this generation’s needs.
Finally, increasing the ways you communicate with employees increases the likelihood that the value of the benefits you are offering will be understood. Mobile-based communication with short burst of social media will capture the attention. Furthermore, this group does much of their commerce via mobile devices and will want to review benefits and enroll via their smartphone as well.
While this new millennial generation of workers has many of the same desires as any new workers, they are unique and are shaped by the economy that they emerged into, the lifestyle concerns that have emerged in the past 10 years and the advances in communications. Recognizing these differences will help you better reach this important group of employees.