This year, millennials surpassed baby boomers to officially become the country’s largest generation, and by 2025, 75 percent of the US workforce will be comprised of millennials. Millennials catch a lot of flack in the workplace for valuing different things than older generations, but the fact remains that very soon, they will be taking over. And while “lazy” is a term commonly used as a millennial descriptor, this savvy generation is actually earning and saving more than their less youthful counterparts.
Millennials are unlike any other generation that has entered the workplace, and their presence has already inspired companies to make major shifts in the way they conduct business. Needless to say, these changes also extend to benefits and perks. Traditional packages that appeal to baby boomers and Generation X are not as attractive to millennials, thus in order to stay competitive, organizations need to adapt.
So, what are millennials looking for from employers? Here’s the breakdown:
- Offering Flexible Schedules: in the past, when employees physically left the office for the day, work stopped. Nowadays, since everyone is always connected, the lines between work and life have become very blurry. Keeping this in mind, it’s easy to see why millennials value flexible schedules so much. In fact, 35% of millennials say they value schedule flexibility over pay. Millennials understand that work may sometimes bleed into personal time, and that’s okay, as long as personal time sometimes bleeds into work.
- Factoring in Fido: even though millennials are waiting longer than previous generations to have kids, that doesn’t mean that they’re going home to an empty house every day. It’s estimated that about 2/3 of millennial employees are pet owners, and to cater to their needs, employers are increasingly offering pet benefits. For example, many companies now allow employees to bring their dogs into the office with them. Employees don’t feel guilty for leaving pets at home, and hopefully pets enjoy spending time with their owners. Moreover, over 1/3 of Fortune 500 companies now offer employees pet insurance as part of their benefits package.
- Helping Pay Student Loans: with more than $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, which over 44 million college graduates are struggling to pay, it comes as no surprise that one of the trending employee perks of 2017 is student loan repayment. From corporate giants like Aetna to penguin publishing, companies are offering millennial employees assistance with paying back your loans.
- Unlimited Vacation: The premise here is that employees can take off as much time as they choose as long as they get the job done. This sort of perk strikes a chord with millennials, who are not saving for retirement in 40 years, but rather, thinking ahead for the next 10 years and saving up for travel and other meaningful life experiences. Millennials would rather work well into older age if it means living a more fulfilling life in the present. At SmartStudy, employees have taken vacations to faraway places from Preikestolen in Norway to Bohol Island in the Philippines.
Well the perks listed above are certainly different than what previous generations sought, more than anything else, a company’s ethos is what millennials truly value. Creating an inclusive, collaborative and understanding work environment is crucial for millennials.
While many companies do offer benefits like pet insurance and unlimited vacation, the only way those become meaningful is if an organization’s culture allows for employees to freely take advantage of them. When employers encourage employees to use the perks available, it not only creates the work/life balance that millennials crave, but by doing so, inherently also boosts morale and reinforces company loyalty.
Written by Bin Jeong, CEO of Pinkfong