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  • Dillon Knight Kalkhurst

What Employee Benefits Motivate Millennials

For the first time in our history, there are five generations active in the workforce. Smart and forward-thinking companies are benefiting from a new kind of diversity, Age Diversity. While Age Diversity can bring a lot of unique viewpoints and management styles to your organization, it can also present a host of challenges especially around management, motivation, and communications. I will talk about generational management and communications preferences in a future post. For this series, I want to focus on the types of benefits each generation seeks. It is important that you take these preferences into consideration when recruiting, managing and creating benefits packages to meet your “Age Diverse” team’s wants and needs.

We will leave the Silent Generation out and focus on the younger four generations as they occupy the majority of the workforce today. Earlier this week, we explored the Baby Boomers and Generation X. Today’s post will provide a little insight on the Millennials and how you can use the right benefits to keep your Gen Y employees loyal, passionate and engaged. We will focus on the Generation Z, our youngest generation tomorrow so today; it is all about those scary Millennials.

MILLENNIALS – The largest generation with 53.5 million in the workplace.

There has been no shortage of press and blogs about the Millennial generation in the workforce. Our company, D. Knight Marketing and Consulting receives the most interest from organizations wanting help engaging their Millennial employees and customers. This generation is unique and, thanks mainly to technology and they way they were raised, they possess a lot of differences from past generations.

Millennials won’t take any job for, the sake of having a “job,” they require passion to be an essential component. To be passionate, they need to feel like they are making a difference at work. They value companies that have created grassroots community outreach and well-defined CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programs that are woven into the company culture from the CEO down. Your CSR must also be home-grown and preferably created with feedback and input from the lowest levels of the organization and better include Millennials. In the early days of what was mainly referred to as “community affairs,” companies would simply write a big check to dot ORGs like Susan G. Komen and slap pink ribbons on their packages and allot a shiny page about it in their annual shareholders report. While these large foundations and nonprofits do amazing work, Millennials are more engaged with the “issues,” not the “charity.” Our company has had great success in helping organizations develop employee-led CSR Action Teams that meet regularly and decide what matters to them and the company backs them from the top down.

Yes, Millennials are different. They’ve been called lazy, narcissistic and even entitled. I have gone on record as saying this is a host of BS. I believe Millennials will go down as the most caring and giving generation ever. Like it or not, Millennials are going to represent over 50% of the workforce by 2020 and 30% of them will be managers and leaders in your organization. You can’t survive without them.

So how do you find them and keep them engaged and happy? In addition to having an impactful CSR program, you should focus on a benefits package with a good bit of paid time off. They want their employers to provide them the work-life balance they crave. Millennials also like organizations that offer flexible hours and the ability to work remotely.

Annual reviews will fail miserably with this generation. Millennials require regular, even daily feedback on how they are doing. These younger employees are continually learning. They are already coming to you as the most educated generation ever. They want opportunities to acquire new skills and grow in their careers. One great way to benefit from your new found Age Diversity is to start a robust mentoring program that pairs younger workers with more seasoned employees. Don’t overlook this benefit. 44% are considering leaving their current jobs right now. If you don’t give them professional development opportunities, they will find a company who is willing to invest in their future.

Millennials As Parents – More than a Million Millennials are becoming moms each year! A whopping 1.3 million Millennials became moms last year raising the total number of U.S. millennial women who have become mothers to more than 16 million. The majority of these moms have children in elementary schools.

I have

more than two decades working with schools and organizations that have parents and their children as customers and advocates. The next decade will be a make or break year for these organizations. Parenting styles and communications preferences have changed radically for this generation. Organizations that attempt to do things they way they always have will risk being disrupted into obscurity.

What’s different about these Millennial moms versus past generations of parents? The Pew Research Center recently released a survey of Millennial moms. Here is a snapshot of some of the most interesting findings.

  • Millennial women are waiting longer to become parents.

  • They are shifting away from marriage with more moms making decisions to raise their kids on their own.

  • They have an increasing level of educational attainment.

  • Many have moved into the labor force, and more are holding management and leadership positions.

  • Millennial moms rated “being a good parent” as a top priority with 52% Millennial moms saying it was the most important goal in their life above having a successful marriage (only 30%).

  • Millennial moms are especially confident in their parenting abilities with 57% saying they are doing a very good job.

With more and more educated Millennial moms in the workplace and holding key leadership positions, companies and organizations need to offer benefits that do not get in the way of them being the good parent that they crave and place above all else. Since Millennials are waiting longer to become parents, they will be further along in their careers and should have more expendable income. They will also be busier than ever.

Companies with parent targeted products and services will benefits from these trends if they meet Millennial parents where they are, which includes a strong mobile marketing strategy. Millennial moms will reward companies and new technologies that will save them time by spending more and sharing their positive opinions with their peers through social media.

As more members of Gen Z enter the workforce and more Millennials and Gen X’ers move into management roles, your business will need to recognize the complementary strengths of young and old generations. Bridging the generations at work and helping each learn from each other is a must if you expect to continue to attract and retain the best people.

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