Millennials now comprise the largest portion of the workforce and are in high demand as companies seek younger, tech-savvy talent.
With record-low unemployment and a crowded recruiting field, how can your company stand out from the crowd and attract millennials?
Take it from a millennial—here are five employee benefits that will capture the attention of your millennial candidates.
1.) Health Care
Believe it or not—health care continues to top the list of the most coveted employee benefits, even among tech-savvy millennials. In fact, 85% of surveyed millennials rated health insurance as ‘absolutely essential’. Even more compelling, when presented with the option between a 10% raise or better health care coverage, a majority of respondents indicated that they’d prefer better health care.
This might seem surprising, but the data speaks for itself. Employee Benefits News found that 27% of millennials don’t go to the doctor because they don’t want to incur medical debt and 50% of millennials have received a health care bill that they had not budgeted for. And, as millennials move into their 30’s, many are getting married and starting families, which is all the more reason to seek a robust health care plan.
A slice of avocado toast a day won’t keep the doctor away, so keeping your health benefits front and center will catch the attention of this coveted demographic.
Just because a trendy brunch item won’t impact personal health doesn’t mean you can’t shape your health care programs to meet the demands of the millennial workforce. ‘There’s an app for that’ applies to health care too! Consider offering a telehealth program as an alternative option for seeking medical treatments. And, offering both high deductible and PPO options can better meet the health care needs of a diverse population.
2.) Remote/Flexible Work
Life happens, and it doesn’t always take a break between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is exactly why many companies are embracing the remote/flexible work movement.
A study by PriceWaterhouseCooper revealed that 64% of millennials would like the option to occasionally work from home, and 66% of millennials would like the option to shift their work hours.
Remote work options also offer several other surprising benefits: higher engagement, increased efficiency and productivity, decreased operating costs, larger hiring pool—the list goes on and on. And employers are clearly taking note; the remote work population has increased 140% since 2005, which is nearly 10 times faster than the rest of the workforce.
Of course, a shift in work hours or a change in physical workplace might not be an option for your individual workforce. If it’s not, consider other creative ways where you can allow for more flexibility with scheduling and work hours in the workplace.
3.) Student Loan Repayment Assistance
There’s no denying that stats around student loan debt are grim. As of 2019, 44.7 million Americans owe over $1.56 trillion in student loan debt (yes, trillion with a ‘t’). Yikes. And, more than 11% of student loans are more than 90 days delinquent. The average student loan payment sits at almost $400 per month, which can be a considerable chunk of change for employees in the beginning stages of their career.
Student loan repayment assistance has been a hot topic over the past several years, as more companies are beginning to adopt this innovative employee perks. However, there’s plenty of room to grow. Currently, only about 4% of organizations offer any type of loan repayment program, which means this benefit is still in its unicorn stage—highly coveted and rarely seen.
And, if you’re curious about the demand— it’s there. 56% of workers with loans indicate that they worry about repaying their loans either ‘often’ or ‘all the time’. And, from a retention perspective, the same study revealed that 86% of employees will commit five years to a company in exchange for student loan repayment help. How’s that for investing in retention?
4.) Generous Paid Time Off
Often known as the “experiential generation”, it’s no secret that millennials prefer to invest their money on experience versus physical possessions. The catch? Enjoying amazing life experience requires the time to do that, which means millennials are keeping a close eye on their paid time off allowance.
Most corporate companies offer a standard 10 paid holidays and 10 additional paid days off per year. Many companies require employees to work a certain amount of time before they are PTO-eligible while others only allow PTO to accrue from day one. And, many companies have a tiered structure where employees are eligible for more time based on tenure.
To capture the attention of millennials, you’re going to have to go against the status quo by offering a more robust and generous PTO policy. Here are a few ideas:
- Make employees PTO-eligible on day one (vs a waiting period)
- Front-load PTO on day one (vs accrual over time)
- Lump all PTO into one general category versus individual buckets (ex: vacation days, sick days, bereavement days, etc.)
- Offer unique PTO days, like a free day off for a birthday or dedicated time off for volunteer opportunities
- Offer more total PTO days than competitors
- Include part-time employees in your PTO plan
- PTO ‘donation’ program where employees can donate unused days into a general pool
If a complete revamp is on your radar, consider the pros and cons of unlimited PTO and whether this could be a good fit for your organization and resources.
5.) Retirement Savings and Financial Wellness
‘Kids these days… just starting their career and already planning for retirement. How millennial.’
After you’re done cursing the clouds, remember that Social Security benefits are slowly declining and many millennials want to have a solid base for retirement—even if they aren’t quite sure how to get there.
A Northwestern Mutual study revealed that, while millennials are excited about their retirement future, 82% feel that their financial planning needs improvement. And this problem isn’t exclusive to millennials—that same report revealed that 1 in 3 Americans has less than $5,000 tucked away for retirement.
Get your millennial recruits thinking about their future—preferably their future with you—by giving them confidence that you have their long-term financial success in mind.
Currently, about 40% of private sector millennials do not work for a company that offers a retirement plan. And even for employees that do have access to a plan, many aren’t participating because other expenses (see also: student loans) are a bigger priority.
Help your millennial workforce meet their long-term financial goals by investing in them—literally. Offering a retirement savings plan is a great step but providing an employer match is even better. 3% tends to be the standard match, so can your company do better? What about a 4%, 5%, or 6% match?
From there, focus on educating employees on the reality of retirement—how much they will need to retire comfortably, how much they should be contributing, etc.—and incentivizing and rewarding good behaviors. Decision support and other interactive tools can be invaluable in quickly and effectively educating employees and driving better contribution decisions.
How are you changing your benefits plans and programs to better attract and retain top millennial talent?
This guest blog was provided by Meisha Bochicchio with PlanSource. Based in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina, Meisha works as the Content Marketing Manager for PlanSource. With over 20 years of benefits experience, PlanSource provides innovative technology solutions for a better HR experience. You can connect with Meisha on Twitter at @MarketingMeisha.