You’ve probably heard of how millennials are taking over the workforce, creating drastic changes in offices and the very nature of work itself. As a result of Generation Y entering careers and the workforce over the past decade or so, companies have to compete to lure up-and-coming talent, and employee benefits are one way to do that.
Since millennials have different priorities than previous generations (which has literally been true of every generation since the first generation of humanity), and they’re the largest bloc of employees in the United States right now, you’ll need to adapt your employee benefits packages to attract them, while delivering information and decision support in new ways.
It’s never easy to put an entire generation of people into one box labeled “millennials,” giving them all the same motivations in life and characteristics in the workplace, but in general, millennials are usually looking for certain things from their employers as they build their careers. Let’s look at a few employee benefits options that may entice a new, younger generation of talent.
Employee Benefits: Continuing Education and Career Development
This is certainly not a new employee benefits option. Generations before the current millennial wave have certainly desired career development before. But now more than ever, millennials are looking beyond their current situation and their current job to where we could be and where we want to be. We (I’m 29 as of this writing) want to know there are avenues to advancement. We’re not afraid to work for them, we just want the opportunity.
Of course there are plenty of ways to deliver employee benefits products that support career development, certification in certain disciplines, and continuing education. A nascent development in many human resources departments is the introduction of video training courses that employees can take on their own time. These training courses can add to the typical methods of career development such as live training sessions, seminars, and more.
Student Loan Assistance
This is a simple, almost existential benefit that will attract millennials. An astounding percentage of this generation is saddled with student loan debt. Especially for those fresh out of school, student loan assistance could be more important in a first job than comprehensive retirement plans, even.
Student loan assistance programs have to be easily accessible and easy to use for employees. Web portals where employees can manage their debts and benefits in one place becomes all the more important when introducing benefits like this.
Physical and Mental Well-Being and Support
Of course we want healthcare. Simply having a way to go to the hospital when we need to without being saddled with medical bills we’ll be paying off for the rest our lives is a huge stress reliever. But more and more we want to be supported in the workplace with mental health support as well. There is no one right way to implement a system of support and awareness in this area. Some offices only need an open-door policy and an understanding manager with the time and resources to help employees struggling with bouts of depression and/or anxiety, for example. Others need a more mandated approach, providing counseling services somehow or covering visits to therapists under health plans. Some offices simply need a few minutes every day of stretching and yoga.
As with almost anything these days, technology can help with this. From easy-to-use office surveys to determine what kind of mental health care everyone needs to easy online sign-ups for those who need counseling services, an integrated, web-based system can assist managers in knowing what their employees need and deliver.
Again, I’ll caution you to avoid making assumptions about your millennial employees before you get to know them. Everyone is different and has different priorities and motivations. These employee benefits typically appeal to millennials looking to break into a job and a career they can grow with.