How Do You Keep Millennials Happy In The Workplace?

By Cindy Brinker

February 22, 2017

The millennial generation has already earned the reputation of liking well-stocked snack bars and being “job hoppers”, a costly trend for employers and a frustration shared by many of our clients. During last year millennials officially surpassed baby boomers as the nation’s largest living generation according to the Pew Research Center.  More recently, they reported that millennials are now the largest generational group employed in the workforce. 

How does an employer both attract and retain talent in this evolving labor market now dominated by millennials?  Fortunately, with every challenge there is an opportunity.  Employers who can clearly lay out the potential career paths within their company can elevate themselves relative to their competitors.  The millennial who knows their future career path and personal opportunity is less likely to job-hop to the unknown.  The other best thing you can do is to offer work benefits that are appealing to millennials.  A recent Forbes article noted the following four benefits that millennials value higher than a big, fat paycheck -- the same benefits my millennial nieces and nephew confirmed would make them happy!     

1. Healthcare

The most important employee benefit is healthcare, particularly in today’s political climate.  Millennials feel that human health should not be a partisan issue, and they want their employers to take their health seriously.  With the cost of health care on the rise, a lot of millennials are left feeling hopeless when it comes to finding a viable solution.  They want the option shop around for healthcare.  If you can offer attractive health insurance plans to your employees, you will quickly grab the attention of millennials. After you take this advice to heart, you may be great “again”!  

2. Flexible Schedules

Finding a balance between work and personal life is a battle that many people have fought over the years, and discovering the right combination is the key to happiness.  As far as millennials are concerned, having a flexible schedule and being in control of your daily life is more important than their paycheck.  In fact, they would be willing to take a pay cut for work flexibility

Take a look at your daily operations to determine whether you can do anything to grant even more flexibility to those who work for you.  Allowing young employees to work from home will take you far, but you can also consider staggering the work hours – arrival and departure times -- and making it easier for young employees to volunteer, make doctor’s appointments and vote on Election Day. With work flexibility they won’t hesitate to respond to an email or submit a report at 2 a.m. for a deadline the following morning.  

3. Help With Student Loans

In the past, students could find schools that offered cheap tuition, and one summer of working a part-time job was enough to pay for an entire year of school. But a lot has changed since then, and many students are struggling to climb out of debt and most likely to live with a parent.  If you want to captivate millennials, then help them pay back their student loans, and you will get more applications than you can handle. When loan payments make it difficult for graduates to cover the cost of living, any company that offers this perk will serve as a beacon of hope. You can offer different repayment benefits to your workers based on how long they work for you, their level of experience and how many hours they work each week.

4. Personal and Career Growth

Millennials want a career path where they can learn and grow.  Although millennials are tech-savvy, employers must stay ahead of the curve and challenge them with ongoing training and education to understand other facets of business and stay relevant in the modern world.

Your greatest asset may already be in your workforce – the wisdom of your seasoned employees. They not only provide stability, but can mentor and transfer decades of knowledge to the millennials.  With personalized training, they can help them build confidence and leadership abilities to make decisions and move up the corporate ladder.


Final Thoughts

Some business owners and managers simply throw their hands in the air when it comes to keeping millennials happy. But marginalizing an entire generation will do more harm than good.  Understanding what they want and expect from a career will allow you to take elevated steps to offer a career path and work benefits they cannot refuse.  When inspired millennials feel their work matters, they will stay longer. 

Need help with your millennial workforce?  Ask the professionals at Brinker+Co! 




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