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.
Campus recruiting has many advantages for employers in today’s competitive hiring environment. It’s an opportunity to get the best and brightest right out of the gate. You can pay college students lower salaries for entry-level positions although many of them make excellent employees. Students are comfortable with technology, and you don’t have to deal with correcting any bad habits that candidates have learned in other jobs.
A Streamlined Assessment Process
Our assessment process could be compared to behaviorism – it gets results without complicated analyses. We interview your top performers for each position that you’re trying to fill and perform an assessment as if they were job candidates. That allows us to develop a “Success Profile” of what to look for in applicants. We can make highly accurate estimates of who will be a good fit or a bad fit based on real-world data that are specific to your company. Our turnover rates for recommended hires an average of 10 percent or less. Other assessment companies have turnover rates near 50 percent.
Building Campus-based Recruiting Partnerships
An article posted on Shrm.com reveals the benefits of building campus partnerships to recruit college talent more effectively. These partnerships might include alumni organizations, college placement programs, key professors, and student organizations. Job fairs, mobile marketing, and social media are also excellent resources for hiring college students.
It’s possible to hire several students from a single appearance at a job fair or college recruiting event, but these are one-time events. Building relationships with campus professors, departments, alumni, and job placement professionals can provide ongoing referrals for many years. You can update these resources about changes in your industry, and recruit your partners to promote special recruiting events or job openings.
Regular visits to college campuses allow your recruiters to stay in touch with student opinions and new recruiting methods. Your company’s physical presence helps to build your brand and enables you to respond quickly to evolving trends. College recruiting is really marketing, so you should involve your marketing department in planning and promoting campus events and maintaining content with your on-campus recruiting partners.
There are many on-campus options for recruiting – both college-sanctioned and extracurricular. Your company can attend job fairs, conduct on-site interviews, establish an internship program, or arrange phone or Skype interviews. Some colleges might allow college credit for internships. Establishing partnerships with on-campus resources can prove extremely valuable to your recruiting efforts.
How to Recruit College Candidates Successfully
Careerbuilder.com reports that about 74 percent of all employers plan to hire college students. However, just showing up at a stall for a campus career fair no longer works effectively for recruiting plugged-in students. Your website is at the core of your recruiting efforts, and 64 percent of people looking for employment check out business websites.  The best methods of recruiting successfully at colleges and universities include:
Make Your Website Hiring-Friendly
Write effective job descriptions that include information about the company’s culture, outside activities, community involvement, and opportunities for advancement. Provide links for candidates to get further information, which helps to build your hiring database.
Recruit Students at Off-campus Sites
Determining where young people with your targeted student profile hang out is valuable information. Recruiting off the campus works in both physical and virtual locations. You can recruit on social media, at the local McDonald’s, or during sports scrimmages. Local hangouts, eateries, off-campus organizations, and community fairs and festivals are just a few of the possibilities.
Develop a Candidate Pipeline
You can take a page from the coach-recruiting book for intercollegiate sports. Identify your dream candidates based on data and recruiting technology. Building a pipeline of ideal recruits allows you to target each candidate more effectively. You can recruit remotely using the communications method that each candidate prefers such as mobile phones, social media, chatbots, text messages, etc.
Use Technology to Narrow Your Choices
Technology can screen your choices effectively based on keywords, work experience, college majors, etc. Using technology for preliminary screening allows recruiters to focus more attention on establishing personal relationships with the best candidates. You can further streamline the process by conducting the initial interviews using remote videos or Skype.
Students and millennials are very comfortable using digital technologies. You need to think digitally to win the campus recruiting wars. You can attract students by posting general information on Facebook such as videos, behind-the-scenes views of the company, and recruiting updates. LinkedIn is your best site for searching resumes, networking, building your company’s brand, and generating leads. Twitter is very effective for posting new jobs, promoting your blog, and weighing-in on news stories that affect your industry.
Appear on Campus Frequently
You can’t make multiple trips to every college campus, but those schools that are effective sources of new hires are worth more than a single visit each year. Interacting with students regularly on campus can provide invaluable recruiting insights, build your brand, and impress job candidates with your commitment to campus visits.
Host Fun Events
Hosting engaging campus events – such as hackathons, contests, and meet-and-greets – can subtly inspire students to think more about career development.
Providing summer internships for students is an excellent way to recruit. Students gain professional work experience, and you get uninterrupted opportunities to promote your company.
Establish a Student Referral Program
Student referrals can provide a steady stream of word-of-mouth candidates. You can offer incentives for referrals that lead to a hiring decision such as tickets to campus athletic contests, etc. You can involve professors, job placement staff and friends and families of likely candidates.
Build Your Brand
Your company’s culture is more important than you might think when recruiting college students. A recent HR study found that students ranked a company’s branding and sourcing efforts as the most important factor when choosing an employer.
Strategies for branding your company effectively for student candidates include:
- Using your best communicators to engage students
- Taking recent new hires from the college to on-campus recruiting events
- Showcasing the work that alumni, interns, and new hires have done at the company
- Keeping your recruitment content updated on your website
- Interacting with candidates on social media
- Making the application process simple – at least for preliminary contact
- Focusing on real-world issues instead of providing free stuff
Recruit to Diversify Your Staff
Diverse workplaces are important to most students, and your efforts to recruit a diverse workforce can build your brand among student candidates.
Student Recruitment Is an Ongoing Process
Your student recruitment efforts can’t be an afterthought if you want to win at recruiting. Students are savvier than ever about investigating potential employers and researching a company’s work culture. The more genuine your recruiting efforts, the more effective your hiring process will be. It takes a combination of technology, digital connections, referrals, and personal visits to attract students.
By the same token, hiring inexperienced students is a gamble. Training and hiring expenses are high. You want to choose the best fit for each job, and third-party assessments can give you the tools to hire confidently.
Millennials recently etched their name in as the biggest generation in U.S. history and, in the process, overtook Baby Boomers, becoming the largest demographic in today’s workforce. Millennials are uniquely their own and hold their own ideas of what work and a workplace should be. Hiring millennials also takes a unique approach.
Below are statistics about millennials you need to familiarize yourself with before recruiting and hiring.
Important Statistics about Millennials
95% of millennials say work-life balance is important to them, while 70% say that it’s very important.
19% say that flexible working hours is the benefit they would most value from an employer, compared with 4% who said they preferred higher wages.
64% of millennials say they’d rather make 40k a year at a job they enjoy than 100k at one they don’t.
87% of millennials say professional development or career growth opportunities are very important to them in a job.
The opportunity for personal development was the factor that most influenced their decision to accept their current job, cited by 65% of millennials.
52% said career progression was the main thing that attracts to an employer, ahead of competitive salaries at 44%.
75% of millennials believe that their organizations could do more to develop future leaders.
59% said that an employer’s provision of state-of-the-art technology was important to them when considering a job.
36% said the reputation of the organization influenced their decision to accept their current job.
82% of millennials believe it’s easier than ever to start a new business.
Millennials are smart, technologically advanced, connected, and driven. They will liven up your workforce with fresh ideas but perform best with flexibility, fun, and a strong cultural fit!
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