You've heard about the modern workplace – the one where ping pong, massage and free meals are simply part of the culture. Even if your workplace isn’t that progressive, perks matter. They matter especially to the 53.5 million millennial workers out there today, whose concern for "work-life integration" has reshaped workplace culture and expectations in some pretty significant ways.
"Millennials are unlike any other generation that has entered the workplace, and their presence has already inspired corporations to make massive changes to the way they do business," said Laurence Marx at Benefits Pro.
Some companies offer a personal travel stipend. Some have broken down cubicle walls to encourage collaboration, Marx said. Some, hearing that workers would trade a bit of income for a healthier, more positive workplace, are exploring creative ways to beef up the benefits in other ways.
When done right, this approach can not only help the employer save money, but result in a happier team, too. It’s a win-win. But those words, "when done right," are important. When the survey software firm Qualtrics researched how younger workers think about benefits and compensation, they discovered that not all perks are created equal. "We asked millennials about free food and providing a phone – all those things – but when we asked them, 'What do they care most about in a culture,' they care about the big things," said Mike Maughan at Qualtrics.
So, what are the big things?
According to CNBC, "There are some job perks that will make millennials consider working for less, by as much as 12 percent." And we're not talking about a minority of workers: Glassdoor said that "nearly four in five (79%) of employees would prefer new or additional benefits to a pay increase." Here are the benefits they're looking for.
- Health coverage. "The importance of availability and cost reduction of health care to millennials comes on the heels of a stark increase in health insurance costs throughout America," said Kaytie Zimmerman at Forbes. Employer-sponsored group insurance plans have a track record of providing the best coverage at the lowest cost. For workers, that's a major selling point.
- Flexible schedules. Time is money, and some workers are willing to sacrifice some dollars to get more control over their time. According to Sarah Landrum at Forbes, 35 percent of millennials said they value flexibility over pay.
- Career trajectory. Twenty-eight year old Jon Salas took a $10,000 pay cut to go "where growth opportunities are available and attainable, and where the line of work fits into my overall long-term plans," CNBC said. When employers encourage the growth of their workers through mentoring opportunities, performance reviews and opportunities to advance, churn tends to drop, and as a result, the costs of recruiting, onboarding and training fall, too.
What other perks might make a difference?
Consider offering perks that align with and add value to your average employee's lifestyle, such as:
- Tuition reimbursement programs
- Pet insurance
- Childcare reimbursement or on-site daycare
- Access to mental health professionals/Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
- Financial education
- More paid (or unlimited unpaid) vacation
- Commuter assistance programs
- Wellness programs
The bottom line: Benefits are a major selling point whether you're seeking to attract new talent or retain the talent you have. And in many cases, they don't have to break the bank. There's a chance they could even help you save. Want to explore the possibilities? Contact Higginbotham insurance for employee benefits guidance.